Browsing: Syria

Source: San Francisco Chronicle By ALBERT AJI, Associated Press DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up near the headquarters of Syria’s Greek Orthodox Church in Damascus’ Old City, killing at least four people Thursday, minutes after the patriarch had entered the cathedral, state-run TV and a church official said. The blast in the ancient quarter of narrow streets and historic buildings was the first reported suicide attack of the Syrian civil war inside the Old City, although other such bombs have struck the capital of Damascus during the conflict. The blast struck in the vicinity of the Virgin Mary Cathedral in the…

Source: Deseret News Compiled by Matthew Brown, Deseret News The uprising in Syria began as a peaceful protest for diversity and democracy during the Arab Spring of 2011. But it has turned into a holy war between Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam — with Christians and other minorities caught in the middle. The highest profile Christian victims of the civil war are two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in late April, and there is still no official word as to the whereabouts or fate of the two clerics, who were abducted as they returned from a humanitarian mission in Turkey. “We…

Source: The Daily Star – Lebanon ISTANBUL: Two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria last month are “in good health,” though there is no news on their whereabouts, an opposition official told reporters Saturday in Istanbul. “Two or three days ago, a doctor visited the two bishops. They are in good health,” said Abdul Ahad Steipho, member of the main opposition’s National Coalition and of its committee established to follow up on the kidnappings. Steipho added that his committee’s attempts to enter into direct telephone contact with the kidnappers or the bishops have so far failed. “We are receiving a lot…

And why supporting Syria’s rebels may extinguish Christianity in its oldest environs. By Andrew Doran The recent dedication of George W. Bush’s presidential library in Texas briefly rekindled debate about the defining event of his presidency, the Iraq War. The visceral hatred of many for the war and the man having substantially diminished, a more sober assessment of both seemed to prevail in the coverage. In the same news cycle there appeared a seemingly unrelated event, the abduction of two Orthodox bishops in Syria. In fact, the conflict in Syria and the American invasion of Iraq are linked by a…

Source: Order of St. Andrew the Apostle – Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate by Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou [Washington, D.C. – 5/5/2013] Today is Easter for the world’s 350 million Orthodox Christians, who just completed their Holy Week of prayer and fasting  which culminated in today’s message of transcendent hope.  But all last week and today, Orthodox Christians the world over have been reminded that politics trumps human rights.  There’s a cruel irony in the fact that Orthodox Christians—whose belief that all persons are created equally and distinctly in the image and likeness of God is a perfect expression of…

Source: National Public Radio Click here to Listen to the Story – All Things Considered (3 min 50 sec) TRANSCRIPT ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: As Orthodox Christians around the world celebrated Easter this week, the Orthodox communities in Syria and neighboring Lebanon postponed festivities. Instead, they gathered in churches to pray for the safe return of two bishops kidnapped outside the Syrian city of Aleppo last month. While the Syrian opposition and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad continue to trade blame for the abduction, the bishop’s whereabouts remains a mystery. NPR’s Susannah George has our story from Beirut. SUSANNAH GEORGE, BYLINE: On the…

Source: Congressman Frank Wolf WOLF ISSUES REPORT FOLLOWING VISIT TO MIDDLE EAST DURING TUMULTUOUS TIME OF CHANGE IN THE REGION Renews Call for Special Envoy to Advocate for Beleaguered Minority Faith Communities, Which are Increasingly Under Assault Washington, D.C. (March 7, 2013) – Rep. Frank Wolf today made a series of policy recommendations – including his continued push for the creation of a Special Envoy for Religious Minorities in the Middle East and South Central Asia – following a recent trip to Lebanon and Egypt, where he met with high-ranking government officials, religious leaders, humanitarian aid organizations and refugees who…

Source: Zenit News Two months ago, an appeal was made by three regional Bishops who “launched an SOS to avoid catastrophe.”  The Bishops stated that “nothing has been done: no one cares for the exhausted population of Hassake, who urgently need humanitarian aid.” Syrian Catholic Bishop Jacques Behnan Hindo and Syrian Orthodox Bishop Matta Roham are intensifying efforts to contact other Christian Syrian leaders and humanitarian organizations, but the response they have received so far has been minimal. “It is impossible to bring aid to Hassake because it is too dangerous and lacks minimal security conditions,” the Bishops stated. Islamist…

Source: News24 Reyhanli – Syria’s extraordinary archaeological heritage has fallen prey to the fighting ravaging the country for more than 18 months, with destruction, theft and systematic looting on the rise. In a country where corruption and trafficking of archaeological artefacts and treasures was already a chronic problem, widespread clashes and a power vacuum in some areas have led to an explosion of looting and illicit excavations. “It is obvious that in such situations there is always an increase in looting, illegal excavations and smuggling,” Veronique Dauge of the Unesco World Heritage Centre said by telephone. “Remember what happened in…

Source: RIA Novosti DAMASCUS, May 14 (RIA Novosti) Tags: Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Damascus Christians living in conflict-torn Syria are afraid that their community would fall victim of religious extremism if President Bashar al-Assad regime collapses and Islamists come to power. “I am afraid that we will suffer bad times,” a member of Damascus’s Christian community, who identified himself as Jorge, told RIA Novosti. A full-fledged civil war will break out in Syria if Assad’s enemies and their western supporters continue efforts to topple the president, he continued. “If the regime falls…, Islamists will come to power,” Jorge said, adding that…

Source: News24 Saidnaya – Divine intervention prevented a shell that pierced the walls of a Syrian convent from detonating, swears the mother superior of Our Lady of Saidnaya, a spiritual retreat near Damascus. “The Virgin Mary stopped the shell from exploding with her own hands,” said Mother Verone, who interpreted the close call as a divine message that “God is watching over sacred places” amid the unprecedented unrest rocking Syria. The sound of explosions and gunfire from nearby towns echoes around the normally tranquil convent. The nuns say the blasts come from the neighbouring towns of Rankus and Talfita, focal…

Source: Interfax Beirut, November 15, Interfax – Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Lebanese President Michel Suleyman discussed at a meeting in Beirut the current complicated situation in the Middle East and they agreed that peaceful changes must be carried out and new manifestations of Christianophobia prevented. “We are extremely concerned about the position of Christian communities in Egypt, Iraq and Libya. We have been witnessing radical growth in Christianophobia in other countries, as well,” the Patriarch said. The Russian Orthodox Church cannot remain indifferent to the fate of the Antiochian Church, whose jurisdiction extends to Syria and…

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