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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 education to be controlled by the state. Since then, classrooms with desks dating back to the 19th century are ready…

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 church must now pay for their own physical protection, reported Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. Under the dhimma, wealthy Christians must pay…

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 Ukraine have catalyzed a major crisis.  The United States, the European Union and NATO are involved in reactions to the events in Crimea. …

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 supported by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). These humanitarian organizations respond to disasters and all manner of human distress, large and small, working along with other aid partners.  In the US…

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 present in Qatar. After which, His Royal Highness took part in a discussion with Christian community leaders,…

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 alleged meeting of its representatives with delegates of the US corporation Chevron in order to discuss a presumptive financial help for the Church in return for support…

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 Diocese.  Reverend archpastors and pastors, dear brothers and sisters – children of the Church! It is with dismay, pain, and alarm that I have followed…

Source: BosNewsLife Listen to this BosNewsLife News report via Vatican Radio: http://www.bosnewslife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/warnow.mp3 By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife KYIV, UKRAINE (BosNewsLife)– The influential Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) says it has removed prayers for the government from its liturgy, after as many as 100 people died when a truce broke down between security forces and anti-government protesters.Thursday’s clashes came while European Union ministers attempted to talk with the embattled president Viktor Yanukovich. Central Kyiv turned into a war zone. Demonstrators were running for cover as snipers and other security forces attacked them. Protesters, some of them wearing helmets, rushed…

Source: Orthodox Church in America YONKERS, NY [SVOTS/Deborah (Malacky) Belonick] – In a recent presentation delivered at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary here, Archimandrite Zacharias, a monk of the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights by Maldon, Essex, England, inspired an audience of more than 100 people with what he termed “domestic theology”—that is, “simple things” in Church life that bear profound consequences. A podcast of his presentation is now available on Ancient Faith Radio. Father Zacharias, a disciple of Father Sophrony (of blessed memory], who was a disciple of Saint Silouan of Mount Athos, emphasized the importance of each Christian becoming…

Source: World Magazine by Raymond Ibrahim In a new video of the 12 Christian nuns kidnapped by rebels in Syria (see below), the nuns sit in a room while being questioned by an unseen man, presumably one of the captors. He asks them how they are, if they’ve been mistreated, etc. They respond that they are being treated fine, that they very much look forward to returning to their convent, that they heartily thank the world for its concern, and that they continually pray that God grant peace to all nations. Their words say one thing, their expressions and demeanor another. Put…

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