Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
15 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

A Ukrainian refugee gives water to her daughter in a hostel run by rebels in the center of Donetsk. (photo: Getty Images/AFP/Bulent Kilic)

UNICEF appeals for restoration of water facilities for 1.3 million Ukrainians (U.N. News Center) With only 60 percent of the pre-conflict water supply capacities still functioning in Ukraine, some 1.3 million people are struggling to cope with a “serious water crisis” because of damaged or destroyed water lines, forcing many families to travel with buckets to working wells in neighboring villages, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today…

How a Chechen from Georgia became a feared leader of ISIS (The Intercept) Temur Batirashvili, father of one of the most notorious leaders of the Islamic State, is a Christian, as were his ancestors. He has three sons, all of whom converted to Islam, against their father’s wishes. Temur blames himself; when the children grew up he was rarely at home, traveling for work all over Russia. He had to support his family…

Hungarians rally against fence to keep out migrants (Reuters) A thousand people demonstrated in downtown Budapest on Tuesday against a fence Hungary is building along its border with Serbia to keep out an accelerating flow of migrants entering from the south…

Anti-Arab racism up after Gaza war and election campaign, report says (Haaretz) The summer Gaza war and winter election campaign increased the incidence of racism in Israel, including anti-Arab acts, the group the Coalition Against Racism said Tuesday. The report was due to be presented at the Knesset at an event launching a parliamentary caucus against racism. Facebook and the Internet in general have been a locus for racism, but the report discusses both physical and verbal incidents, including racism in Knesset bills and comments by elected officials…

Tags: Ukraine Israel United Nations Georgia Hungary

14 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

Egyptian sisters pray in Immaculate Conception Church in Suez, torched by rioters in August 2013. To learn more about the effort to rebuild after the mass arson, read Out of the Ashes, from the Spring 2015 issue of ONE. (photo: David Degner)

Tags: Egypt Violence against Christians Sisters

14 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

The Cremisan Valley, situated between the West Bank and Jerusalem, is slated once more to be divided by Israel's controversial concrete barrier — separating more than 50 Palestinian families from their agricultural land. (photo: Getty Images/AFP/Musa Al Shaer)

‘Regret and concern’ over the Cremisan Valley wall (Fides) The E.U. Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah have released a statement of the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to allow the construction of a section of the separation barrier through the Cremisan Valley. The statement, which is dated 10 July, expressed “deep regret and concern” regarding the court’s decision…

Iraqi Christians form militia, battle ISIS (NBC News) Iraqi Christians driven from their homes by ISIS have formed their own militia and are fighting alongside their “Muslim brothers” to retake their homeland from the extremists. The 1,000-strong Babylonian Brigades is the only Christian militia under the Shiite-dominated umbrella group of volunteer fighters known as the Popular Mobilization Forces…

U.N. report: 15,000 civilians killed in Iraq (Al Jazeera) The conflict in Iraq has killed nearly 15,000 people and wounded 30,000 during a 16-month period ending on 30 April, according to a U.N. report released Monday. The U.N. mission in Iraq and the U.N. human rights office said in the report that violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses by ISIS group, which controls large swaths of Iraq’s north and west, may in some cases amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide…

The Chaldean Church of St. Joseph in Mosul transformed into a mosque (Fides) As with the church dedicated to St. Ephrem, the Chaldean church dedicated to St. Joseph in Mosul has been transformed into a mosque by ISIS. Some pictures of the place of worship show that the dome has been painted black, and the church has been stripped of all crosses and Christian symbols and images. The mosque seems to have been named after Abu Abdulrahman al Bilawi, an Iraqi commander of Daesh killed by Iraqi police…

Ancient Assyrian church in Turkey could become a mosque (AINA) An ancient church in Turkey could be turned into a mosque, despite the pleas of local Syriac Christians who want to restore it to its former glory. The St. Joseph Church in Mardin, southeastern Turkey, is believed to date back to the fourth century. It is currently being used as a warehouse, but its current owner, Ibrahim Aycun, has put it on the market for $4.5 million dollars — far more than the local Christian community can pay. The Daily Sabah website reports that neighbours claim Aycun wants the building converted into a mosque, though he has refused to comment…

Construction begins on Hungary’s anti-migration fence (Vatican Radio) Hungary has begun building a controversial anti-migration fence on the country’s southern border with Serbia. The government says the project is aimed at halting the unprecedented flow of tens of thousands of migrants, but rights activists, the European Union and the United Nations refugees agency have expressed concerns…

ISIS gains ground against Syria army in Hassake (Daily Star Lebanon) ISIS has gained ground against the Syrian army in a major northeastern city, activists said, after three weeks of clashes that killed 170 people…

Tags: Iraq Palestine Iraqi Christians Turkey Hungary

13 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

Syrian refugee children take a reading class in Dbayeh, Lebanon. To learn more about how this new population has impacted life in Lebanon, read Lebanon on the Brink, from the
Spring 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

Tags: Lebanon Refugees Poor/Poverty Economic hardships

13 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

The wall of the 13th-century Citadel of Aleppo, pictured on 12 July, was destroyed the night before by an explosion in a nearby tunnel. (photo: Zein Al Rifai)

Syria civil war: Bomb damages Aleppo’s ancient citadel (BBC) A bomb explosion has caused part of the walls of Aleppo’s ancient citadel to collapse. Built in the 13th Century, it overlooks Aleppo’s Old City and is part of a U.N.-listed World Heritage site…

UNICEF: Syria’s children at risk from water scarcity (U.N. News Center) Syrian children are becoming increasingly vulnerable to waterborne illnesses amid peaking summer temperatures and dwindling supplies of safe water, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today…

Iraq begins offensive to retake Anbar province (Christian Science Monitor) The Iraqi government began on Monday a long-awaited large-scale military operation to dislodge ISIS militants from Iraq’s western Anbar province, a military spokesman announced…

Video appears to contradict Israeli officer who killed Palestinian (The Guardian) Video footage has emerged that appears to show the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of a teenage stone thrower by a senior Israeli army officer, seemingly contradicting the soldier’s account of the killing…

Pope Francis condemns bomb attack against Italian Consulate (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his strong condemnation of the car bomb attack against the Italian Consulate in Cairo on Friday which killed one person. His condemnation came in a telegram sent on his behalf by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to the Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh al Sisi…

Militia gunmen take boy hostage in western Ukraine (Washington Post) Two gunmen from Ukraine’s nationalist Right Sector militia on Monday briefly took a 6-year-old boy hostage in western Ukraine as a standoff between the gunmen and police entered its third day…

Tags: Syria Iraq Egypt Ukraine Palestine

10 July 2015
Greg Kandra

The Rev. Dhiya Azziz, abducted on 4 July, has been freed.
(file photo: The Custody of the Holy Land)

You may recall the news that broke last weekend, about the abduction of the Rev. Dhiya Azziz, a Franciscan priest serving in Syria. Today, the Custody of the Holy Land published a statement on its website with this good news:

The Custody of the Holy Land announced that the Father Dhiya Azziz has been liberated.

The Custody had had no news of the Father Dhiya since Saturday, 4 July, in the late afternoon.

Conflicting news had nevertheless led people to believe that he had been taken by jihadists affiliated to Al-Nusra Jabhat, which administers the emirate in the sector.

This group has denied any involvement in his kidnapping and allegedly led the police investigation in neighboring villages which led to his liberation.

Father Dhiya was allegedly abducted by another group jihadists eager to profit on his release. In the region, there are a plethora of groups that operate with varied interests.

He was allegedly treated well during his kidnapping.

The Custody of the Holy Land thanks those around the world who prayed for a successful outcome to this trial that Father Dhiya endured, as well as the faithful of Yacoubieh, of which he is the pastor, his religious family and his family in Iraq.

The Custody concluded its statement by noting it “does not forget that other religious are still missing in Syria and it invites everyone to continue praying for peace in this country.”

10 July 2015
Greg Kandra

In Tbilisi, Georgia, parishioners sing Armenian hymns during the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, which they share with the local Roman Catholic community. To learn more about Armenian Catholics in Georgia, read “A Firm Faith” in the Spring 2014 edition of ONE.
(photo: Molly Corso)

10 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

A picture taken by Turkish villagers shows migrants trying to voyage to Greece over Aegean Sea on 8 July. (photo: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency)

U.N. urges Europe to act on migrant crisis in Greece (New York Times) The United Nations warned on Friday that Greece and its Balkan neighbors were being overwhelmed by the flood of migrants arriving from Syria and other areas of conflict, and it urged European countries to step forward with aid to avert a looming humanitarian crisis…

Pope Francis demands end to ‘genocide’ of Middle East Christians (Jerusalem Post) Pope Francis decried what he called a genocide against Christians in the Middle East while speaking in Bolivia on Thursday. “Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus,” he said. “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end…”

Armenian Christians still suffer consequences of genocide (Aid to the Church in Need) Archbishop Raphael Fran?ois Minassian, the ordinary of Eastern Europe for Armenian Catholics, belongs to the first Armenian generation that was born after the genocide; he said, however, that even those Armenians who did not directly witness the horrors of 1915 nevertheless still suffer the consequences. “Some psychological attitudes, such as the instinctive fear at the sight of an armed guard, have been passed down even to the second and third generations,” he said…

In Baghdad, Christians kidnapped and killed despite ransom payment (Fides) In two weeks, four Iraqi Christians have been kidnapped in Baghdad, and two of them unfortunately were killed; after the payment of the ransom, they were found dead by the police…

Tags: Middle East Christians Iraqi Christians Migrants Greece

9 July 2015
Greg Kandra

Youth relax outside at the San Joe Puram Children’s Village in India. San Joe Puram enables children with special needs to learn and grow together with other children. To find out more, read “A Place of Promise — and Providence” in the Winter 2014 edition of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)

9 July 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

A Syrian refugee child is seen at a refugee camp in Adana, Turkey, on 6 July. (photo: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency)

Syrian refugee count over four million (U.N. News Center) The exodus spawned by the four-year long Syrian conflict has now become the United Nations refugee agency’s largest crisis in almost a quarter of a century and risks deteriorating even further as fighting in the country shows no sign of abating. In a news release issued earlier today, UNHCR confirmed the latest figures received from the field indicating that more than four million Syrian refugees have fled the Middle Eastern nation since hostilities began there in March 2011. “This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “It is a population that deserves the support of the world but is instead living in dire conditions and sinking deeper into abject poverty…”

Over 200 Christians in Syria rescued by Belgium in secret operation (Christian Post) Nearly 240 people, mostly Christians but also Yazidis, have been taken out of the Syrian city of Aleppo and transported to Belgium, where they are expected to be granted asylum, a report has said. The BBC reported that a Brussels government spokesman, who wasn’t named, revealed that the operation took place over two months amid great secrecy…

Syria army battles ISIS outside Palmyra (Daily Star Lebanon) Syrian army troops backed by war planes advanced to within several miles of Palmyra Thursday, battling ISIS fighters outside the famed ancient city, activists said…

ISIS loses last headquarters in Iraq’s Diyala (FARS News) The Iraqi security forces captured the main ISIS base in the eastern Diyala province and purged the terrorists from the region…

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem schools earn high marks (Fides) In the eight schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem scattered in the Palestinian territories, the final exams this year showed outstanding results, which confirm the excellence of the work carried out by teachers and students, in a difficult and uncertain period...

Tags: Syria Iraq Refugees Holy Land United Nations

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