CHINA SEE FIRST ORTHODOX PRIEST IN SIXTY YEARS

The China Post - May 2016 His red and gold vestments bathed in candlelight, the first mainland Chinese Orthodox priest ordained for six decades led an Easter service on Sunday — one of the most surprising fruits of warming ties between Moscow and Beijing. Alexander Yu Shi said prayers in the Church Slavonic language and in Mandarin beside ...

UN Envoy in Solidarity Visit to Syria’s Assyrians

United Nations (UN) special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura (R), stands next to priest Toma Asitivo Kaka during a visit to the Ibrahim-al Khalil Melkite Greek Catholic church to show solidarity with the Assyrian community in the Syrian capital Damascus on March 1, 2015 (AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA).

  2/3/15 DAMASCUS (AFP) -- U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura paid a surprise visit Sunday to a church near war-wracked Syria's capital in a show of solidarity with the country's Christian minority targeted by jihadis. An AFP photographer said de Mistura traveled in a two-car U.N. convoy to a Greek Catholic church in Jaramana, southeast of Damascus, and ...

Turkish Minority Stages Mass Rally in Istanbul

http://www.albawaba.com - 9/2/15 Thousands of members of a religious minority in Turkey gathered in the center of Istanbul Sunday, demanding human rights and the preservation of the country's secularism, AFP reported. The Alevis, which are a kind of Shia group, held signs in favor of Turkey's secular system. AFP reported the group thinks its rights in a Sunni-dominated ...

Turkey Permits First New Church in 90 Years

Prime Minister Davutolu hosts the religious leaders of the country (AA photo).

January 2015 (AFP) -- Turkey's Islamic-rooted government has authorized the building of the first church in the country since the end of the Ottoman empire in 1923, AFP has learned. The church is for the country's tiny Syriac [Assyrian] community and will be built in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy on the shores of the Sea of ...

Christians Hold Out in Syria’s Aleppo Despite Jihadist Threat

Syrian Christans look on during Divine Liturgy at the Greek Orthodox church in the Syrian government controlled area of Aleppo on November 16, 2014 (AFP).

By Sammy Ketz and Zein al-Rifai -3/12/14 (AFP) -- Tens of thousands of Christians have fled Syria's war-wracked second city Aleppo but many others are determined to hold out despite their dread of Islamic State jihadists. Christians of various denominations make up around 10 percent of Syria's population, and Aleppo alone was home to some 250,000 before ...

Christians Flee Iraq’s Mosul After Islamists Tell Them: Convert, Pay or Die

19/7/14 (AFP) -- Christians were fleeing Iraq's jihadist-held city of Mosul en masse on Friday after mosques relayed an ultimatum giving them a few hours to leave, the country's Chaldean patriarch and witnesses said. Iraq is home to one of the world's most ancient Christian communities, but their numbers have plummeted as attacks against them mounted after ...

Christians Face Disaster in Iraq: Patriarch Sako

Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako - Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and Primate of the Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church

27/4/14 Kirkuk (AFP) -- Iraq's dwindling Christian community faces "disaster," and if no action is taken they will number just a few thousand in a decade, the country's most senior church leader told AFP. Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako said the daily migration of Christians from Iraq was "terrifying" and blamed a range of factors, including generally poor ...

Syria Troops Retake Christian Town of Maalula

15/4/14 Beirut (AFP) -- Syrian regime troops retook the ancient Christian town of Maalula on Monday, a day after President Bashar al-Assad said the conflict was turning in his government's favour. "The army has taken full control of Maalula and restored security and stability. Terrorism has been defeated in Qalamun," a security official told AFP, referring to ...

Scores Killed and Scores Injured in Iraq Attacks

  18/3/14 Baghdad (AFP) -- Heavily-armed militants attacked the home of an anti-Qaeda militiaman north of Baghdad on Sunday, killing and decapitating his wife and two sons and killing another person in a brutal pre-dawn assault. The militia leader, Abu Salim, was not in the house at the time of the attack, which involved more than a dozen ...

Armenian monastery finds unlikely saviour in Arab sheikh

Sheikh Sultan III bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi

Agence France-Presse - 25/11/13 Standing next to a newly refurbished bell tower, priest Aristakes Aivazyan says it needed divine intervention to save Armenia's medieval Haghartsin monastery. But it also took a lot of money from a very unlikely benefactor -- the Muslim ruler of the resource-rich Arab emirate of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi. "I cannot recall ...

Pope Leads Prayers for Syrian Peace

VOA News - 8/9/13 Pope Francis has led a prayer vigil for peace in Syria, a country ravaged by civil war and facing possible U.S. military action in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Addressing tens of thousands of people at the Vatican Saturday, the Roman ...

Details Emerge On Kidnapped Syrian Bishops

  Mohammad Ballout Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) 21/8/13 Are the two bishops missing or martyred? What is Jesuit priest Paolo Dall’Oglio‘s relation to the matter? What about his mission to mediate with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to reveal the bishops’ fate? What about his disappearance and possible death? There are multiple angles as ...

Egyptian military chief vows to rebuild Coptic Churches

17/8/13 The Egyptian defense minister has ordered the repair and reconstruction of  all churches that suffered damage in the country’s violent demonstrations since  the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from power last month. Defense minister Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi intends to fix the damage to  Coptic churches at Rabaa Adaweya and Nahda squares, according to ...

‘Peaceful’ Brotherhood Protesters Torching Coptic Christian Churches

 Andrew C. McCarthy - 15/8/13 In the familiar pattern, the Western media are focused on the military raids against Islamic supremacists in Egypt but ignoring the latter’s use of violence and of women and children as human shields. After all, the “protesters” say they are “peaceful.” When not similarly ignored, Islamic supremacist aggression against Egypt’s Christians — which ...

Putin urges Ukraine to join forces with Russia

28/9/13 KIEV (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin on Saturday urged Ukraine to join forces with former fellow Soviet state Russia, saying Russians and Ukrainians were "one people." The Russian president's remarks, made as he visited Kiev, highlight an ongoing tug-of-war Moscow has with Brussels over Ukraine's moves to seek closer ties with the EU. In Ukraine to celebrate ...

The last of the Armenians

22/6/13 Once a flourishing community in Bengal, Armenians have dwindled in number to such an extent that only one man now represents the entire community in Dhaka. He is known by his Anglicised name of Michael Joseph Martin. When Martin, now in his late seventies, dies, it will throw into doubt the future of the Armenian Apostolic ...

Cleric fights to save rural Romania from fracking

Vasile Laiu, the Christian Orthodox archpriest of Barlad, takes part in a protest against shale gas exploition next to a pancarte reading in Romanian

8/6/13 Barlad, Romania - As Orthodox priest Vasile Laiu gazes over the picturesque hills of eastern Romania, he prays they will be spared the shale gas wells and drilling rigs dotting some US landscapes. For months the 50-year-old cleric has been one of the most outspoken opponents to plans by US energy giant Chevron to drill for shale ...

Kidnap of Syrian bishops sparks global concern

23/4/13 DAMASCUS — The kidnapping of two Syrian bishops, reportedly by Chechen fighters, sparked international concern on Tuesday, as rebels battled regime and Hezbollah forces in Homs province, a watchdog said. In Israel, meanwhile, a senior military intelligence official said President Bashar Al-Assad's regime has used chemical weapons, including sarin, against rebels on several occasions in recent months. Washington ...

Syrian bishops in hands of ‘Chechens’: church sources

Agence France-Presse - 23/4/13 The kidnappers of two Orthodox bishops seized in northern Syria are Chechen fighters, sources in the Syriac and Greek Orthodox dioceses in Aleppo said on Tuesday. "The news which we have received is that an armed group... (of) Chechens stopped the car and kidnapped the two bishops while the driver was killed," an ...

Serbia buries 13 victims of shooting spree

FOCUS News Agency - 13/4/13 Velika Ivanca. Church bells rang out in the tiny Serbian village of Velika Ivanca on Friday, as hundreds of tearful mourners buried 13 people gunned down in Serbia's worst massacre in two decades, AFP reported. Mourners carrying flowers and candles and mostly dressed in black queued to pay their respects to the six men, six ...