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Source: Global Research News Damascus (AsiaNews) – Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Thecla (Mar Taqla) in Maaloula (north of Damascus). Mgr Mario Zenari, the Vatican nuncio in Damascus, confirmed the information after speaking with the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate. Through the Vatican diplomat, the latter “calls on all Catholics to pray for the women religious.” “Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious,” Mgr Zenari said, citing a statement from Patriarchate. The group of Islamist rebels has apparently taken…

Source: Journey to Orthodoxy “I wanted to show that the Church always lived with its people and was present at all events: from public events to sports. That’s why I took part in this marathon. I could see that the people liked it: whenever I was running, I was applauded more energetically than other participants. Some people asked for prayers. And I was praying while running!” Father Athanasios, 43, was probably the most unique runner and very different from other participants of the Athens classic marathon, reports Romphea. Although he did not break any records, he managed to make a tremendous…

Source: Vatican Insider The Ecumenical Patriarch has high expectations of Francis’ visit to the Holy Land and is relying on the Pope to contribute to the start of a “decisive” new season for ecumenism GIANNI VALENTE ROME Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I’s messages to Rome on the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, were clear: the 264th successor of the 1st Apostle, expressed the hope that Pope Francis’ pontificate would bring “renewed inspiration” to the common journey of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches toward full communion. The meeting between the two religious leaders in Jerusalem expected to take place next spring will be…

Source: Asia News by Nina Achmatova The idea is to amend the Charter to enter Christianity as “the foundation of national identity and cultural heritage of Russia.” The Patriarchate supports the initiative , but calls will be addressed in a public debate . Defending human rights warns it is likely to raise a “civil war” in the minds of people. Moscow (AsiaNews) – The proposal of some lawmakers to amend the Constitution to insert, in its preamble, the exclusive role of the Orthodox Church in Russia has generated heated debate in a multi-religious country where issues related to the coexistence…

Source: BBC [See video at the end of the story on the BBC website] Hundreds have attended the funeral of composer Sir John Tavener, which has taken place at Winchester Cathedral. His wife and three children led mourners at the Greek Orthodox service, while a representative of the Prince of Wales was among the congregation. Several of Sir John’s spiritual works were played at the service, with accompaniment of the cathedral’s choir. The 69-year-old, whose music has topped the classical charts, died earlier this month after long-term health problems. In 1997, Sir John’s piece Song for Athene was performed at…

Source: The Wall Street Journal By Elliot Jager Americans should give thanks for a political culture that cherishes liberty and to their forebears, who came to these shores in search of religious freedom, writes Myron Magnet in The Wall Street Journal. Magnet, who has authored books on history and social policy and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President George W. Bush, recalled that since 1621, when the Puritans came to the New World in search of religious freedom, waves of pilgrims in quest of liberty have followed them to these shores. It once was illegal under British law for…

“In Everything, Give Thanks”             1 Thesssalonians 5:16-18   A Thanksgiving Prayer  Let us thank God: For the OPPOSITIONS we have had to meet, the RESISTANCE that has caused us to manifest our faith in practical ways; For the DISPUTES which have compelled us to reexamine our thoughts and eliminate the flaws; For the STUGGLES which have caused us to spiritually mature, together with the DEFEATS which have kept us humble; For the RISKS we have taken which have revealed our inner strengths; For some of the ENEMIES we have made, for to have no enemies…

Source: Orthodox Christian Mission Center Help care for the physical and spiritual needs of people in Tanzania in Kenya by serving on an OCMC Medical Mission Team in 2014. Doctors and Medical Personnel Needed for OCMC Health Care Missions in 2014 by Andrew Lekos (11/22/2013)The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) will be offering numerous Health Care Mission Team opportunities in 2014 to East Africa. OCMC is seeking doctors and medical personnel to participate on these teams and minister to the physical and spiritual needs of people in East Africa. While health care has improved over the last two decades, many…

Source: Huffington Post By Naomi O’Leary (Reuters) – Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny”, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff. The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March. In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry…

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