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Source: The Times of Israel Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher to stay open during renovation, set to begin next month and run through 2017 BY SUE SURKES Jordan’s King Abdullah is to contribute an unspecified amount towards the upcoming renovation of Jesus’s Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Jordan Times reported. The work is expected to begin in May and to be completed in early 2017. The site will remain open to visitors during the refurbishment. The king’s decision to donate “at His Majesty’s personal expense” was conveyed in a letter from the Royal Hashemite Court…

Source: NJ.com By Adam Clark TRENTON — The state Board of Education this week approved a list of religous  holidays in the upcoming school year on which schools must allow excused absences. The list, updated annually, includes more than 100 holidays for the 2016-17. Students celebrating those holidays must present a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian. Schools are required to provide students the opportunity to make up any tests or other assessments that they missed. Here is the list of religious holidays for 2016-17: July 2016 July 2 Laylat as-Qadr (Islam) July 7-9 Eid al Fitr (Islam) July…

Source: Newsweek BY CONOR GAFFEY The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) killed scores of Christians when they captured a Syrian town recently liberated by the government, a Syrian Christian leader has said. ISIS swept into the town of Al-Qaryatain in August 2015, kidnapping at least 230 civilians including dozens of Christians in the central Syrian town, which lies 104 kilometers (65 miles) southwest of Palmyra. The town had a population of some 2,000 Syriac Catholics and Orthodox Christians prior to the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, but this had dropped to just 300 before ISIS took control.…

Source: Pravoslavie.ru The Muslim community in a Bulgarian village have raised funds and contributed their labour to restore a century-old Orthodox Christian church. For the first time in decades, the bell of the small church in the village of Kozlets, in the southern Bulgarian province of Haskovo which borders Greece and Turkey, will peal again. The restoration of the bell tower cost 2000 leva (about 1000 euro). “It was possible that it would fall and bring down the roof with it. This very much worried the Christians in the village. So we decided to raise money,” village mayor Kadir Beynur…

Source: Christian Today Mark Woods  | CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Anglicans seeking a faculty from their diocese to replace the pews or move the font sometimes groan at the levels of bureaucracy they have to battle through to get anything done. Multiply this a thousand-fold to get some idea of how Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre functions and what an extraordinary agreement has just been reached. Work is to start on repairing the shrine at the heart of the complex, called the Aedicule, in which is supposedly located the tomb of Jesus. The renovation will cost $3.4 million and will see the…

Source: Greek Quest Services by Christie Nicolles I would posit, those who dive in intensive study of this Master, Saint Paisios of Mount Athos awakens to a phantasmagorical fact: this saint has rocked their world! Meeting this legend, via his dozen books, has been endearing and amusing – his humorous antics made for endless laughs. Pilgrims from the ends of the earth came to see this poor hermit and he’d often say, “People come looking to find refreshment in a big watermelon, but instead find a big gourd.” But his ascetic crucifixion of self-made for deep reflection and an inner shame…

Source: The Press Project Pope Francis will visit Lesvos, the Greek island which has been in the spotlight because of the refugee crisis on April 15. The Church of Greece on Tuesday confirmed that it had accepted the Pontiff΄s proposal to visit and had also extended an invitation to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church, to also pay a visit to the island at the same time. The point of the meeting at Lesvos is to draw international attention on the plight of refugees. In recent weeks, the Pope has repeatedly tried to raise awareness regarding…

Source: The Wall Street Journal By JAMES MARTIN When was the last time you felt stressed out by Easter? So much Easter shopping to do, so many Easter cards to write, so many Easter gatherings to attend. Not to mention the endless stream of Easter commercials on television and online, the nearly unavoidable Easter-themed movies and all those tacky Easter sweaters that you’re forced to wear every spring. And don’t forget the travails of setting up the annual Easter tree and stringing Easter lights on your house. Every year you lament how overly commercialized Easter has become. Can the holiday get…

Source: Amen.gr (Vatican Radio)  The Orthodox Metropolitan of Belgium, Athenagoras (Ecumenical Patriarchate) has called for all religious leaders of Belgium to unite their voices and forces against terrorism. Commenting on the attacks of Tuesday morning in Brussels, Athenagoras, President of the Orthodox Episcopal Assembly of Belgium, appealed to every person of good will around the world, Christians and non, to become a shield against terrorism as well as messengers of peace. “Terrorists today have not struck Brussels. Terrorists today struck throughout Europe. Terrorists today struck once again the whole world” he underlined in his comment. “We call upon the whole…

Source: Journey to Orthodoxy Originally posted on May 26, 2010 I would like to share with you a brief letter that was published some time ago in an Italian Orthodox parish newsletter. Its author, Archpriest Gregorio Cognetti, is the Dean of the Italian parishes under the Moscow Patriarchate. This letter was generally liked by the Italian Orthodox converts, and also received a high degree of appreciation among some cradle-born Orthodox (it was, for instance, translated into Romanian); I hope it may be prove an interesting reading and a source of inspiration for all of you. Chapel Hill (U.S.), March 1982…

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