A radical Jabhat al-Nusra "opposition" group, which occupied the small Christian town of Ma'loula in Syria in the last months of 2013, desecrated absolutely all shrines of the town, reports al Hadas portal with the reference to materials of the al Akhbar Lebanese newspaper.
According to evidence of eyewitnesses who fled from Ma'loula during the latest warfare in the region, members of al Nusra tried to change the religious and architectural-historical look of the ancient Christian town entirely: completely destroying some churches, the militants brought down all bells from other ones. The fate of two other world-famous monuments of Ma'loula was no less tragic: extremists blew up the statue of Christ the Savior, which had stood at the entrance of St. Thecla Convent, as well as the statue of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, which had stood close to the Safir hotel, the latter of which served as the main shelter for Takfirists for many months.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will travel to Istanbul on Monday 13 January 2014 to visit Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
As Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, the Ecumenical Patriarch is primus inter pares (first among equals) in the Eastern Orthodox communion.
Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour on Sunday visited Cairo’s main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral to greet church leaders on Christmas, the first such visit to the church by an Egyptian leader.
A Presidential statement said that Mansour stressed during his visit the need for harmony between Muslims and coptics for the welfare of the homeland.
“This is the first time an Egyptian president visits the Papal Seat to congratulate the Christians on the occasion of Christmas,” the church said in a statement.
On January 6, on the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother Cathedral by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Under canopy, a Pontifical Procession led the Catholicos of All Armenians, and Mr. Serzh Sargsian, President of the Republic of Armenia, to the Mother Cathedral. The Canopy bearers were; Mr. Hrach Martikyan, Armenian Sudanese benefactor; Mr. Armen Elbakyan, art patron in the Republic of Armenia; Mr. Hravard Hakobyan, art critic; and Mr. Tigran Nersisyan, celebrated actor in the Republic of Armenia. His Grace Bishop Hovnan Hakobian, Grant Sacristan of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin; and His Grace Bishop Mushegh Babayan, Operations Director of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; assisted His Holiness during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
Epiphany, in Greek “Theophania” or “Fota,” is one of the most important days for the Orthodox world and it is celebrated in January 6.
According to the Orthodox tradition, this day indicates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Traditionally, a priest throws a cross in the water and the men of the area jump in to catch it. The first man who catches the holy cross will gain good luck and the blessing of the priest.