Christmas Message 2013 from the World Council of Churches general secretary
In New Testament accounts of the Nativity, humble shepherds watch their flocks by night while wise scholars, travelling in the east, look up at the same night’s sky and discern something new amid the rotation of stars. They were all open for a move, to see something, someone that brings hope for the world.
The Pope (Patriarch) Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa has congratulated the Orthodox Missionary Brotherhood, which was founded in 1963, on its "golden" anniversary, thanking it for its self-sacrificing work that now embraces the whole continent.
Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy’s statement on the kidnapping of nuns from St Thecla’s Convent12. December 2013 - 17:46
In connection with the brutal attack carried out by extremists against Syrian Christians, the IAO expressed solidarity with the Christian population in Syria and the Middle East. The statement reads:
The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy with strong indignation and deep concern took the news about a new brutal attack carried out against Christians in Syria by extremist radical Muslim armed groups, in particular, the kidnapping of nuns from the Greek Orthodox Convent of St Thecla at the town of Maalula and their forced removal.
The Church complex of the Image of Christ the Savior "Made Without Hands" in Sochi is to be consecrated on January 3, reports Interfax-Religion.
According to the press service of the head of the Krasnodar territory, the first service in this Church will be celebrated on Christmas, reported its rector to the Krasnodar Territory governor Alexander Tkachev during the latter’s visit to the Church on Friday.
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 them to Yabrud, some 80 km north of the capital. Neither the nuncio nor the church Greek Orthodox Church know reason behind the kidnapping.