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Source: Bangor Daily News By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff BANGOR, Maine — The Rev. Leo Schefe, the new pastor at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, has something in common with one-third of his congregation — he’s a convert to Orthodox Christianity. Schefe, a native of Chicago, was an evangelical Protestant working in the 1990s at a hospital in Portland, Oregon, in the Internet Technology department when he joined the Greek Orthodox Church. He quickly felt called to the priesthood and moved to Greece for five years to study and become familiar with the language. Since then, Schefe, 58, has served…

Source: Radio Canada International Mid-East persecution: Leader of Syriac Orthodox Church visits Canada By Marc Montgomery The 123rd successor of St Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch is set to visit Canada for his first visit starting this weekend. His Holiness, Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church will visit Toronto and then Montreal. Fate of Christians in middle east The theme of his visit however is of great seriousness.  He will be speaking about the deteriorating conditions for Christians in Syria, Iraq and other parts…

Source: Ukrainian Weekly UOC-U.S.A. reaches out to refugees from Donetsk and Luhansk KYIV – “I raise my eyes to heaven, praying for peace; I stretch my hands towards heaven, begging for stability and peace…” These were the words of a 13-year-old Mariana, a refugee child from Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, as she greeted Bishop Daniel, ruling hierarch of the Western Eparchy and president of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. (UOC-U.S.A) on May 7 at LOGOS Orthodox Christian Center outside of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. Bishop Daniel was joined by the Very Rev. Bazyl Zawierucha, pastor…

Source: Ahram Online Our beloved lady: Exploring Egypt’s fascination with the Virgin Mary Dina Ezzat The Virgin Mary continues to be a figure of faith and fascination for Egyptians of different religious traditions The festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which took place on Saturday 15 August, received unprecedented recognition in the public sphere in Egypt. The festival is celebrated by Coptic Orthodox Christians, Catholics, and many other denominations worldwide, who believe that Mary was bodily taken up into heaven at the end of her life. Throughout Thursday, Friday and Saturday, a number of presenters on Egyptian radio…

Source: The Catholic World Report The announced 2016 council of Eastern Orthodox Churches is historical, but expectations should be modest Fr. Cyril Hovorun An Assembly (Synaxis) of the Primates of the local Orthodox Churches, meeting March 6-9, 2014 in Istanbul, has agreed to convene a Pan-Orthodox council. A “Communiqué of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches” released on March 9th stated that “the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church … will be convened and presided by the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople in 2016.” This decision brings to the homestretch a long process of preparation that goes back as…

Source: Ekathimerini Greece condemns demolition of orthodox church in Albania Greece has condemned the demolition on Wednesday of an orthodox church in the village of Dhermi, on the southwest coast of Albania. “The destruction of holy sites and objects of worship took place, at least until recently, in the wider region of the Middle East and North Africa, at the hands of jihadists. Today we also saw such an act carried out in our neighboring country, Albania,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Constantinos Koutras told journalists in Athens Wednesday. “No one is more ungrateful than a beneficiary,” he said. Athens was expected…

Source: Interfax Russian Church likens attacks on Orthodox Ukrainians to Soviet-era persecutions Moscow, August 26, Interfax – The Moscow Patriarchate has expressed concern over the seizing of Orthodox churches in Ukraine and criticized its law enforcement authorities for inaction. “Over the past year since the civil standoff began in Ukraine, dozens of clergymen representing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been attacked, many dozens of churches have been seized or set ablaze. For some of the clerics, the violence shown towards them by their attackers proved fatal,” head of the Synodal Information Department Vladimir Legoyda was quoted by his spokesperson as…

WHAT ARE CHRISTIANS DOING TODAY IN THE HOLY LAND? Source: The Arab Daily News Annual Procession of Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land by Maria C. Khoury, ED. D. It is four in the morning and while everyone else is trying to get a good night sleep, Orthodox Christians from all corners of the Holy Land collected themselves to march in a beautiful  procession in honor of  the Virgin Mary.  Every year, based on the Old Julian Calendar, the faithful gather to walk the icon of the Theotokos, the Holy Mother of God,  from the monastery next to the Holy Sepulchre…

Source: Hurriyet Daily News Fener Greek Patriarch’s saplings in İzmir attract tourists İZMİR – Doğan News Agency The olive and myrtle tree saplings planted by Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew and İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu have become tourist attractions. Bartholomew and Kocaoğlu planted the trees at the garden of the Greek Orthodox Church of Agios Voukolos in İzmir on Feb. 6. Orthodox Christian historians claim Saint Voukolos was the first Christian bishop of Smyrna (present-day İzmir). It is believed his tomb is located in the church’s courtyard. While Bartholomew’s olive tree has grown enough to give its first yield, tourists and locals…

Source: United Press International Soviet art vandalized, Hermitage museum chief calls for more protection ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Mikhail Piotrovsky, the head of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum, denounced the destruction of a renowned Soviet artist’s sculptures by militant Orthodox activists. In an open letter published on the museum’s web site Monday, he called for legislation to protect cultural institutions from such attacks. Piotrovksy proposed that Russia’s museums must “immediately organize in-house training on protecting the state of their exhibitions,” as reported by The Art Newspaper. Piotrovksy underscored that the recent attack is “a new provocation against the…

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