World churches head joyous at freeing of Syrian nuns, prays for release of other clerics

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Source: Ecumenical News World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit says the fervent prayers of Christians throughout the world were answered with the release of Greek Orthodox nuns kidnapped by rebels in the Syrian Christian town of Maaloula. News agencies reported that a group of nuns from the Convent of St Thecla, abducted in December 2013, had been freed as part of a prisoner exchange. In a letter sent to John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill calls to speed up preparations for All-Orthodox Council

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Source: Interfax Moscow, March 11, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has called to speed up the preparations for the All-Orthodox Council. "If really want to convene the All-Orthodox Council, we should learn to work in this regime," the patriarch said while meeting with the heads and representatives of local Orthodox Churches in the residence of the patriarch of Constantinople in Istanbul. Patriarch Kirill said a lot of work remains to be done on the issues addressed … [Read more...]

What It Means to Be Catholic [Orthodox?] Now

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Source: The New York Times By PETER MANSEAU ANNAPOLIS, Md. — ONE year into his astonishingly popular papacy, Pope Francis has become the perfect divining rod for uncovering assumptions about the future of the Catholic Church. After an interview last week, during which he responded to a question about civil unions with a discussion of how “secular states” used them “to regulate different situations of cohabitation,” some mainstream media outlets reported that he had signaled a new … [Read more...]

Shut down Orthodox seminary in Turkey kept in pristine condition in the hope of a reopening

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Source: The Gazette (Montreal) ISTANBUL March 5, 2014 (AP) By AYSE WIETING Associated Press ISTANBUL - Although shut down for more than four decades, one of the Orthodox Church's most pre-eminent seminaries is kept in pristine condition in the hope that it may reopen one day to educate future patriarchs and clergy. The Theological School of Halki, perched atop a hill on Heybeli Island off Istanbul's coast, closed its doors in 1971 under a Turkish law that required private higher … [Read more...]

Islamists Force Syria Christians to Pay ‘Tribute Tax’ for Their Protection

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Source: The Christian Post BY MORGAN LEE , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER Out of fear of losing their lives or religion, a tiny group of Christians who still remain in the northern Syrian city of Rakka have agreed to pay off Islamists with a "Tribute Tax" so they won't be killed. Earlier this year, Rakka's Christian leaders and representatives from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), an Islamist branch of Al-Qaeda, signed a dhimma or protection agreement, under which members of the … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Tikhon calls for ongoing prayers

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Source: Orthodox Church in America SYOSSET, NY [OCA] - His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, has asked that prayers for peace and justice in Ukraine continue. Parishes, monasteries, and seminaries are requested to include the following petition in the Litany of Fervent Supplication:  “Again we pray that the people of Ukraine and Russia be granted the wisdom, mutual respect and love which will protect them from violence and preserve them in peace.” By way of background, recent events in … [Read more...]

Parish-wide Lenten humanitarian ministries offer hope to others

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Source: Orthodox Church in America SYOSSET, NY [CSHA] - During our common journey through the Lenten season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, many parishes undertake charitable ministries and projects in Christ-like outreach to others. The Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Christian Service and Humanitarian Aid suggests two well-established programs for parish consideration. The first is the Gift of the Heart Kit program initiated by Church World Service (CWS) and strongly … [Read more...]

The Prince of Wales in Qatar, UAE and Bahrain: Day Five [Visits Greek Orthodox Church]

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Source: Prince of Wales On the fifth day of The Prince of Wales's tour of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, His Royal Highness visited the Doha Religious Complex. The Prince paid visits to the St Isaac and St George Greek Orthodox Church, which has a vibrant congregation from orthodox communities from across the Arab world; the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, which holds masses in twelve different languages, and the Anglican Church of the Epiphany, catering to the many Protestant communities … [Read more...]

Romanian Orthodox Church denies financial deal with Chevron

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Source: Independent Balkan News Agency By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest The Romanian Patriarchy has strongly denied taking part in any meeting with the representatives of the US corporation Chevron amid protests in the country against shale gas extraction, after a monk accused the Romanian Patriarch of accepting money from the American company in order to forbid priests to join and encourage such public demonstrations. “The Romanian Patriarchy strongly rejects any insinuation about an … [Read more...]

Epistle of His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill, to the Entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church in Connection with Events in Ukraine

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Source: Eastern American Diocese (ROCOR) His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, released an epistle to the entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church in connection with recent events in Ukraine. With the blessing of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, the attached special petitions and prayerare to be read at all divine services for Meatfare Soul Saturday and Sunday in the parishes and monasteries of the Eastern American … [Read more...]