It is with great emotion that the Maronites of Damascus welcomed Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi Sunday, who arrived today despite some obstacles at the request of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X Yazigi for the annual meeting of Eastern patriarchs.
The event has brought together all the patriarchs of Antioch: Greek Orthodox John X Yazigi, Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem Karim II, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Yonan and Maronite Card Bechara Boutros al-Rahi.
Coming to a country whose national anthem has no lyrics because its bickering ethnic groups cannot agree on them, Pope Francis on Saturday called for greater religious reconciliation and an end to the sectarian conflicts that still threaten Bosnia and proliferate around the world in “a kind of third world war being fought piecemeal.”
Some in Bosnia and around the world continue to foment “conflict between different cultures and societies” for their own political purposes, others to make profits on arms sales, he said. They ignore the human price paid in lives lost, refugees uprooted and property destroyed.
63 Christian churches have been destroyed during the years of war in Syria. The human rights organization, “Syrian Network for Human Rights” (SNHR), has published a report, entitled “Targeting Christian Places of Work in Syria”, reports Sedmitza.ru.
Authors of the report state that during the four years of war, churches were destroyed both by the opposition forces and the government army of President Bashar al-Assad. According to the 21-page report, directed against the legitimate regime, 14 churches were burned down by the opposition, 7 churches – by extremist groups (ISIS, Al-Nusra Front), while another 40 fell victims of the “ruthless” regime of B. al-Assad.
The Assyrian Network for Human Rights recently published the following photograph saying they are the demolished remains of the Church of Saint Mar Beesho‘a in Tel Shamiran, an Assyrian Christian village located in the countryside of the northern city of Hasakah—which was earlier occupied and ransacked by the Islamic State.
Armenians living in Turkey – descendants of the Christians who embraced Islam – are returning to the faith of their fathers in great numbers, reports the Linga news portal.
According to the famous Agos Armenian weekly newspaper published in Istanbul, the cases of conversion of Armenian Muslims to Christianity, which are becoming more frequent, indicate that they (Armenians) have preserved their ancestors’ faith deep in their memory.
Pakistani businessman Parvez Henry Gill says he was sleeping when God crashed into one of his dreams and gave him a job: find a way to protect Christians in Pakistan from violence and abuse. “I want you to do something different,” God told him.