Snow and frigid cold blanket Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where nearly 400,000 Syrian refugees living in vinyl tents with packed dirt floors struggle to clear snow and stay warm. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that more than 100 tents have caved under the weight of heavy snow, and many others face the threat of their only shelter collapsing.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is helping those in greatest need cope this winter with the distribution of heating stoves and fuel vouchers to 550 refugee families and vulnerable Lebanese families. Since 2012, IOCC has provided humanitarian relief to more than 2.4 million Syrian people living as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Armenia, and to Syrians displaced in their own country by the prolonged civil conflict.
Pope Francis said Sunday he will make a one-day trip in June to Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, his latest visit to a country where Islam is the dominant religion amid growing persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
Francis told pilgrims after the weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square that he would visit Sarajevo June 6 to pray for peace and inter-religious dialogue in the Muslim-majority city that became a bloody symbol of the Balkans wars of the 1990s.
His trip will be the first papal trip to Sarajevo in 18 years. Francis called on the faithful to pray that his visit would be a boost for the Catholic population, and "give rise to the development of good and contribute to the consolidation of brotherhood and peace."
Two pickups carrying twenty armed members of ISIS entered the Assyrian town of Tel Hormizd in Hassaka, Syria yesterday and forced the residents to remove the cross from the church tower. The town is located on the Khabur river, in the Assyrian section of Hassaka which contains thirty five Assyrian villages.
17 members of the US Senate Foreign Minister, John Kerry called to support the Iraqi government’s efforts to establish a province in Nineveh Plain that includes Assyrians and other Christian minorities inhabiting the area.
The senator’s call came in a letter sent to Kerry and included signatures of highest-level Democrat in the Intelligence Committee, Dane Feinstein, a member of the Armed Services Committee, Ted Cruz, the official for voting of Democrats , Senate Richard Durbin, tthe member of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Council, Jane Shaheen, and the member of the financial allocations Commission ,Mark Kirk.
On Wednesday, 21st January, the first liturgy of the British Orthodox Community of St Martin in Swindon was celebrated in the Church of St Mary, Commonweal Road, Swindon. The Church had been made available thanks to the kind hospitality of the Dean of Swindon, the Revd. Simon Stevenette, who has been entirely and generously supportive of our British Orthodox missionary activity in the town.
The small, 1960s building is just the right size for our Community and has an attached hall and kitchen, providing all the necessary facilities for worship, fellowship and teaching.
The new British Orthodox community in Bristol, under the patronage of Saint Cyril the Great, was launched with a celebration of the Divine Liturgy led by Father Simon Smyth on Sunday 4 January. The Bristol Fellowship meets for worship in the Church of Saint Peter (Church of England), Church Road, Filton, Bristol, BS34 7BL. The beautiful Lady Chapel in which the Divine Liturgy was celebrated had a strong sense of prayer.