In the Syrian Old Homs, "Eleven Christian churches are either completely destroyed or heavily damaged," related a local priest named George Abu Zahem to the Lebanese The Daily Star newspaper.
He has described the situation in the al-Hamidiyah Christian quarter as disastrous. According to the priest, the churches were robbed and desecrated by militants.
"A true miracle happened at Holy Martyr Elian's Orthodox Church in Homs (6th century). The gunmen set it on fire. However, the fire did not touch the ancient icons on the walls—they just slightly darkened," the priest said.
The thick walls have saved the Cathedral of Holy Theotokos, the "calling card" of Old Homs, where is the city's main relic—a small portion of the Girdle of the Mother of God.
On May 7, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, left for the Vatican on a fraternal visit. On May 8, in the Apostolic Palace, His Holiness met with His Holiness Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome and Leader of the Catholic Church.
Present at the meeting were His Eminence Archbishop Gisak Muradyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Argentine; His Eminence Archbishop Khajak Barsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church o North America; His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manoukian, Director of the Inter- Church Relations Department of the Mother See and Primate of the Artik Diocese; Rev. Fr. Anania Tsaturyan, Staff-Bearer of His Holiness Karekin II; Rev. Fr. Tovma Khachatryan, Spiritual Pastor of the Armenian Diocese in Italy; Rev. Fr. Vahram Melikyan, Director of the Information Services Department of the Mother See; and Mr. Michael Minasyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Holy See.
On 8 May 2014, a historic conference will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, where seven senior religious and secular leaders from Syria’s largest Christian churches will speak in a unified voice on the situation in their homeland, which is the cradle of civilization and Christianity. In addition, significant meetings at the United Nations are scheduled for Friday.
Tomorrow’s conference, titled “Christians in Syria: The Challenge of Speaking with One Voice,” will start at 8 pm at the Espace Fusterie (18, Place de la Fusterie) in Geneva and is open to the public.
The current Turkish prime-minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is considering the possibility of Muslim prayer at Hagia Sophia Church in Istanbul (Constantinople), reports Romphea. Erdogan is planning to participate in a namaz at the historic Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople, reports the Radikal Turkish daily newspaper. The Muslim prayer will probably be performed during the annual celebrations of the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, just before the August elections, when Erdogan wants to retake his office of prime-minister.
Hundreds of thousands gather at Rome to witness canonisation of two great figures of 20th-century Roman Catholicism
Pope Francis has declared two of his predecessors, John Paul II and John XXIII, saints of the Roman Catholic church in an unprecedented double-canonisation mass in St Peter's Square.