Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
28 July 2015
Greg Kandra

A Ukrainian serviceman cleans his machine gun on the frontline in the village of Maryinka in the Donetsk region on 21 July 2015. (photo: Anatolii Stepanov /AFP/Getty Images)

Rebels in eastern Ukraine block crucial aid (Vatican Radio) The biggest supplier of aid to rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine says its mission could end by Wednesday, if Russian-backed separatists continue to block its convoys, despite concerns over severe shortages for many destitute people, including many children...

Family of kidnapped priest consoled by Pope’s appeal (Vatican Radio) The family of the Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio, the Italian Jesuit priest kidnapped in Syria nearly two years ago, has thanked Pope Francis for offering them consolation in their moment of trial. At this past Sunday’s Angelus, Pope Francis appealed for the release of Fr. Dall’Oglio and of two Orthodox bishops of Aleppo who were also kidnapped during the raging confict in Syria in 2013...

Syrian refugees in Armenia “stumble from one crisis to another” (Al-Monitor) Armenia is currently mired in a grim economic situation of its own that has sent hundreds of thousands of its citizens abroad in pursuit of work — meaning some remaining locals haven’t always welcomed the increased competition for jobs. With unresolved disputes on its borders with neighboring Turkey, and Azerbaijan draining the budget and stymieing trade, the government has found itself ill-equipped to deal with the needs of its 3 million citizens, let alone a smattering of destitute refugees. Nowhere are these difficulties better illustrated than at Yerevan’s “Aleppo market,” where Syrian shopkeepers scrape to make a living in an unassuming pedestrian underpass with low foot traffic near the capital’s central Republic Square...

Photo essay: Gaza residents living without electricity up to 18 hours a day (International Business Times) The Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million people, has been experiencing up to 18 hours of power cuts a day. The coastal enclave’s only power plant halted production earlier in July in a dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) over fuel tax. Hamas has been paying the PA for imported fuel but was unable to afford the tax bill. Qatar had donated $10m (£6.42m), effectively exempting Hamas from paying the tax, but this has dried up...

27 July 2015
Greg Kandra

Bishop Gregory Petros XX Ghabroyan — in French, Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan — was elected the new patriarch for the Armenian Catholic Church on 25 July to succeed the deceased Patriarch Bedros Nerses XIX. Read more about his life here. And to learn more about the Armenian Catholic Church, read our profile. (photo: Vatican Radio)

27 July 2015
Greg Kandra

Turkish tanks patrol close to the village of Elbeyli, near the border with Syria in southeastern Turkey on 25 July 2015, as the Turkey raises its security measures along the borderline
with Syria. (photo: Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Turkey and U.S. plan Syria “safe zone” for refugees (The New York Times) Turkey and the United States have agreed in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say. The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a “safe zone” for displaced Syrians...

Pope congratulates new Armenian patriarch (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message of congratulations to the new Armenian Catholic Paticarch of Cilicia, his Beatiude Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan. In the message Pope Francis expresses his joy at the Patriarch’s election and the hope that his new ministry will bear many fruits. The Holy Father in the congratulatory note also grants his Beatiude Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan the “Ecclesiastical Communion” which the Patricarch requested in an earlier letter...

Officials refuse to let nun in Kerala take exam because of her veil (International Business Times) A Kerala nun was denied permission to appear for the retest of the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT) after she refused to remove her veil and cross on Saturday, 25 July in Thiruvananthapuram. The incident happened at Jawahar Central School in Kanjiramkulam, when Sister Seba arrived at the exam centre with Mother Superior of her convent on Saturday. The incident, in which the school authorities asked the nun to remove the veil, has sparked outrage in different parts of the state...

Aleppo archbishop aims to help Christians stay in Syria (CNA) With half of Syria’s population displaced due to its ongoing civil war, Church leaders in the country are seeking to send a message of hope and support for the persecuted Christian minority who have chosen to stay. “At the time of this writing, Aleppo is undergoing a massive assault by jihadists, and bombs have been falling for hours. It is as if everything is being done to scare people and push them to leave,” Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo wrote in a 17 July letter. “We want to convey a message of optimism, one that encourages perseverance,” he said...

How Gaza’s businesswomen are beating the blockade (The Week) Nine years under an Israeli economic blockade, which Egypt has intermittently enforced too, makes Gaza an unlikely place to find a thriving start-up sector. Parts of the coastal enclave remain devastated after last summer’s war, the worst in modern times, and the third in six years in this narrow strip on the Mediterranean Sea. Energy shortages mean there are only eight hours of electricity each day here and the lack of 3G service also hinders connectivity. Yet a couple of blocks up from the beachfront, a new generation of entrepreneurs is working to rival the regional start-up hubs of Amman, Cairo and Beirut. “We have some people in Gaza who are incredibly smart and are totally comparable to what you see elsewhere in the region,” says Iliana Montauk, director of the Gaza Sky Geeks start-up accelerator...

Tags: Syria Gaza Strip/West Bank Kerala Armenia Turkey

24 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

An Iraqi refugee receives a dental checkup at the Martha Schmouny Clinic in Erbil. Under the guidance of Sister Diana Momeka, the Martha Schmouny Clinic has grown from an overwhelmed, improvised infirmary to a complex of facilities resembling a basic hospital. To learn more about this institution, and other ways sisters are working to help Erbil’s displaced Christians, read Grace — the cover story of our brand-new Summer 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Don Duncan)

Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians Sisters Health Care Iraqi Refugees

24 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

Erbil’s Ain Kawa is a temporary home for many Christian refugees displaced by ISIS. (video: Rudaw)

Christian refugees languish in camps, looking for hope (Rudaw) Marolin Sabri is angry. The 28-year-old mother of three says she is sick and tired of local officials who have made promises to her community of Assyrian Christian refugees that nestles together in a former church in Kirkuk. “I have to laugh. So many people have come from the government saying they will help us, but we are only surviving on the help from NGOs and the church,” she said. Sabri is one of thousands of Christian refugees who were brutally driven from their homes by the Islamic State, or ISIS, and sought safety in cities and towns across the Kurdistan region. Sabri’s home town of Bartella is still held by ISIS, and she wonders if she’ll ever return…

Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East will train young Christians (World Council of Churches) A new initiative called the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East is “promising and inspiring” in its attempt to train young Christians in ecumenical thought and history, according to the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (W.C.C.). The W.C.C. general secretary met with organizers, students and faculty of the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East on 20 July during a visit to Beirut, Lebanon…

Turkey bombs ISIS targets in Syria (BBC) Turkish planes have for the first time carried out air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. In the early hours of Friday, police launched raids against ISIS and Kurdish militants across the country, arresting 297 people. The arrests come after the Kurdistan Worker’s Party’s military wing said it killed two Turkish police officers on Wednesday. The group claims the men collaborated with ISIS in the bombing of a Kurdish activists’ group on Monday that killed 32 people…

West Bank village anxiously awaits demolition (Al Jazeera) As Palestinians in the West Bank celebrated the Eid ul Fitr holiday, the end of Ramadan was marred for residents of Khirbet Susiya by fears that demolition orders would be carried out on their homes. In May, Israel’s High Court of Justice lifted a freeze on demolition orders issued against homes in the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susiya, located in the south Hebron Hills. Rights group B’Tselem warned that, due to settler pressure, Israeli authorities had decided to undertake the demolition of these homes even before the court hears a petition by residents scheduled for 3 August…

Tags: Syria Iraq Middle East Christians Turkey West Bank

23 July 2015
Michael J.L. La Civita

Now available online is the summer edition of CNEWA’s award-winning magazine, ONE.

This edition takes you to the plains of northern Iraq, where one year ago ISIS stormed ancient villages, wiping out 2,000 years of a Christian presence in Mesopotamia. You will meet the heroic women who, a year after their exodus, have cast aside their own needs and fears to care for those men, women and children in need of the graces of hope and healing.

You will hear from a young priest from Lebanon who works in a factory in Chicago to support his parish, his wife and his children. And you will meet his wife, who reveals the origins of her own vocation.

Armenia is rich in culture, long in history, and fueled by faith. Read the story of one woman caring for the country’s new orphans, the elderly.

There is much more — including stories only available online, and features focusing on the activities of religious sisters, women working in harm’s way in India and the Middle East. And walk through the pages of our “virtual print edition,” an interactive feature that looks like our print edition, but includes links to videos and much more.

We are very proud of ONE, which year after year receives acclaim from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada for its first rate reporting, writing and moving photographs.

23 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

Syro-Malabar Catholic Sisters speak with neighborhood women outside their convent in east Delhi’s Mandawali area in India. To learn more about the work of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in this and the surrounding areas, read Caste Aside, from the Summer 2014 edition of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)

Tags: India Sisters Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Women

23 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

Major Archbishop George Alencherry, who leads the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, offers the Rev. Joseph Kodakallil a sign of his office as bishop of the Eparchy of Satna. (photo: M.L. Thomas, CNEWA)

New bishop for Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Satna (Vatican Radio) The pope has named the Rev. Joseph Kodakallil as bishop of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Satna in Madhya Pradesh, India. The announcement was made on 22 July 2015 simultaneously by Pope Francis at the Vatican and Major Archbishop George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, at the Indian church’s headquarters at Kakkanad…

Water cuts in Aleppo threaten children amid intense heat wave (UNICEF) The restoration of water supplies to the city of Aleppo has come as a relief to residents whose taps have run dry in recent weeks due to the fighting and frequent power cuts. The disruption to piped water supplies —in some cases deliberately implemented by parties to the conflict — increased the risk of water-borne disease especially among children. “These water cuts came at the worst possible time, while Syrians are suffering in an intense summer heat wave,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Syria. “Some neighborhoods have been without running water for nearly three weeks, leaving hundreds of thousands of children thirsty, dehydrated and vulnerable to disease…”

What will happen to the children of Syria? (Middle East Eye) Eid ul Fitr, a religious holiday directly after Ramadan, is supposed to be a joyous occasion — especially for children, who could always expect new clothes, toys, fun games and extra pocket money. Not so for the children of Aleppo, many of whom have already lived through four wartime Eids, and spent this one hauling plastic containers of water from nearby wells to their homes. The water and power supply had been cut to the city for three weeks, and the only way to get water was to queue up outside communal wells in the sweltering summer heat, a job mostly left to minors as the adults were too exhausted by their ritual fast…

Patriarch calls lives of Middle East Christians ‘bad’ and ‘less bad’ (National Catholic Reporter) Christians in the Middle East are facing difficulties ranging from “bad” to “less bad,” said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem. While describing the condition of the Palestinians in the West Bank as “bad,” he said their situation is better than the challenges faced by Christians in Syria and Iraq, especially those who have been forced to flee homes. The patriarch pushed again for an end to hostilities throughout the Holy Land and the Middle East. “We condemn those who sell [military] arms to help [maintain the war] in Syria,” he told Catholic News Service in July. “It is a pity. We have never reached this level of violence. We preach, we hope, we weep. In all of the Middle East it is not a normal life…”

Group: Israel advances Jewish settlement plans in West Bank (Daily Star Lebanon) An Israeli settlement watchdog group says Israel has advanced plans to build or retroactively approve 1,065 housing units in West Bank Jewish settlements. Peace Now said on Thursday that an Israeli military committee retroactively approved 24 housing units in the Beit El settlement, though Israel’s Supreme Court ordered them demolished by the end of July because they were built on private Palestinian lands…

Tags: Syria India Children United Nations Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

22 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

Residents of the St. Ann Nursing Home in northeastern Hungary, which opened its doors in 1997, go for a walk together. To learn more about how Hungarian Greek Catholic sisters have affected the lives of the local elderly, read A Sister’s Act, from the July 2007 edition of ONE. (photo: Tivadar Domaniczky)

Tags: Sisters Eastern Europe Caring for the Elderly Hungary Hungarian Greek Catholic

22 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

A Christian couple sits inside a tent erected on the grounds of St. Elijah Church in Erbil, in December 2014. (photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East? (New York Times) The future of Christianity in the region of its birth is now uncertain. “How much longer can we flee before we and other minorities become a story in a history book?” says Nuri Kino, a journalist and founder of the advocacy group Demand for Action. According to a Pew study, more Christians are now faced with religious persecution than at any time since their early history. “[ISIS] has put a spotlight on the issue,” says Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, whose parents are from the region and who advocates on behalf of Eastern Christians. “Christianity is under an existential threat…”

Law requested against conversion of Christian minors without parental consent (Fides) Mikel Munir — a Copt, and the founder and leader of the liberal political party Al Haya — addressed a public appeal to Egyptian authorities to ensure the personal status law under review should include a clause that prevents the change of religion for Christians minors without the consent of their parents…

Iraqi government orders Nineveh Plain forces to Baghdad (Fides) The Iraqi central government has ordered to transfer to Baghdad 4,000 soldiers and police who previously worked in the north provinces of Iraq — including the province of Nineveh — and this has provoked strong reactions on behalf of organizations and Christian politicians…

Syrian refugees in Lebanon face mental health crisis (Al Monitor) Hunger, thirst, lack of hygiene and lack of medical care are not the only problems for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They also suffer from depression, anxiety and stress, due not only to their displacement, but also to their precarious existence…

Nationalists rally against Ukraine’s government (Vatican Radio) Thousands of supporters of a right-wing, nationalist paramilitary group in Ukraine have protested against government policies amid a deadly standoff between the nationalists and Ukrainian security forces in the country’s western region, near the border with Hungary…

Pope to stress interfaith ties during NYC visit, Cardinal Dolan says (AM New York) Pope Francis will seek to emphasize the importance of interreligious relations during his September visit to New York City and will hold up the city as a prime example of harmony among faiths, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Sunday…

Tags: Syria Iraq Egypt Refugees Middle East Christians

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