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Source: Haaretz Nazareth is dreaming of a bright Christmas, with hotels and restaurants booked up ahead of the big day on December 25. Locals are thankful that most Israelis have short memories. By Judy Maltz NAZARETH – Behind the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, workers are putting the finishing touches on the man-made Christmas tree that will be lit up on Wednesday evening, at an official ceremony to mark the start of the holiday season. Standing 26-meters tall, this metal-based structure is so massive it will have to be dragged down to the main plaza below in three separate…

Source: Aid to the Church in Need Despite visit from the Pope: Christians in the Holy Land are not looking back on a good year By Oliver Maksan Musa is over seventy. Wistfully he looks out over the tranquil valley with its ancient olive trees. It is a place where fruit and a well-known wine are also grown. Over the course of his long life, the Orthodox Christian from Beit Jala near Bethlehem has seen much suffering in the Holy Land, wars, intifadas, flight and expulsion. However, nothing has touched him as deeply as the impending expropriation of his land.…

Source: Orthodox Christian Network By Fr. Ernesto Obregon in The Sounding Periodically, I am asked the question as to how I could be part of the Orthodox Church. After all, are not the Orthodox somewhat exclusive? You are not Russian; you are not Greek; you are not Middle Eastern; how could you ever be accepted by the Orthodox? I suppose that I cannot blame people for thinking that. Even for those of us who are converts, we have experienced some Orthodox parishioners who think the same thing. Why are you here? So, let me be honest, I have experienced some…

Source: ACNS News Service From the World Council Churches “Churches in Japan are true witnesses of Jesus Christ through their words and deeds. Their strength even in a minority situation is impressive. Their voices in critical times are significant for Japan, paving a way towards justice and peace,” said the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) during his visit to member churches of the WCC in Japan. Tveit went on to say that the WCC needs its member churches in Japan as a “voice of truth”. He said their engagement and contributions…

Source: Crossway This is an excerpt adapted from The Unfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-in-Progress by Rob Bentz (May 2014). A Troubling Narrative The “I love Jesus, but I hate the church” narrative has become commonplace within the Christian culture today. Library shelves of books and articles have been written about the issue. Facebook posts and tweets touting this antichurch brand of Christianity are rampant. And for the most part, it has become increasingly accepted as a viable option on the smorgasbord of living out your Christian faith. “As long as you love Jesus,” many in our culture say, “You’re good!”…

Source: MYSTAGOGY By John Sanidopoulos Five or six miles southwest of Jerusalem lay the tiny town of Bethlehem in the Judean hills. It was here that man’s eyes first saw God in the flesh. Why this place and not another of so many other possibilities? Bethlehem was the perfect place for Christ to have been born. Of course it was the home of Joseph and Mary’s ancestors – the city of David. But it was more. Bethlehem was “the house of bread”. This is what the word Bethlehem means. To have received such a name, Bethlehem must have produced some…

Source: MYSTAGOGY On Sunday, 7 December 2014, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine glorified Bartholomew Bondarenko, a Staretz and Fool-for-Christ’s Sake of the Cherkassy Eparchy of the UOC-MP. His was chosen to be numbered among the saints by the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on 16 September 2014, due to his popular veneration. Saint Bartholomew was born in 1870 near the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Chyhyryn. As a youth he spent his life in prayer and in the contemplation of God’s perfection and the imperfection of humanity. People were drawn to the…

Source: Serbian Orthodox Church On the desecration of Russian and Serbian graves at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney An unknown vandal or vandals during the night between Tuesday (09/12/2014) and Wednesday (10/12/2014) desecrated seventy six (76) graves in the Russian and Serbian Section No. 1 at Sydney’s Rookwood Cemetery. We are amazed and saddened by this act of vandalism witnessed in the desecration of graves. Graves and cemeteries have always been, in all cultures and cultured societies, considered sacred places and, as such, were respected and spared even from enemy armies during times of war. We believe that such vileness belongs…

Source: Alteteia “Now we see it is not in any way true” that the Pope wants to subjugate the Orthodox Churches. by JOHN BURGER A leading Orthodox theologian has said that Pope Francis’s words while visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Istanbul “represent a big step forward.” While speaking at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul’s Phanar district Nov. 30, Pope Francis said that in the context of the efforts being made to achieve full communion with the Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Church “does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith.” “Coming…

Source: Toronto Star A church spokesman told Moscow radio a project to place the Lord of the Rings’ flaming eye atop a skyscraper would symbolize the “triumph of evil … rising up over the city.” By: Dan Peleschuk Globalpost MOSCOW— Russian fans of the writer J. R. R. Tolkien were disappointed Wednesday after a local art group abandoned plans to install a flaming eye from his The Lord of the Rings series atop a Moscow skyscraper. The group, Svechenie, said it would not re-create the evil Eye of Sauron, after the Russian Orthodox Church complained the installation would invite mysterious…

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