Restriction of religious teaching in public schools in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

An independent United Nations human rights expert expressed disbelief today at the backlash targeted against a recent court decision to restrict religious teaching in public schools in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Wrapping up a five-day visit to the country, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, issued a statement noting that the Constitution "provides that religious communities and groups are separate from the State and equal before the law.

Meeting of the Israel-Vatican Bilateral Commission held in Jerusalem

The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the State of Israel and the Holy See has held a Plenary meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel today, Thursday, 30 April 2009, for the purpose of advancing the negotiations pursuant to Article 10 §2 of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel (30 Dec.1993).

The Delegation of the State of Israel was led by Mr. Daniel Ayalon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was composed, in addition, of the following Members:

Russian bishop: Europe is exposed to threat of weak Christianity rather than strong Islam

Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk urges European countries to be more active in promoting Christian value system instead of talking about islamisation. "Today there's a lot of talking about islamisation of Europe, about demographic conquest of Europe. Big Muslim families shouldn't irritate us, it's natural to have a lot of children. We should better think why Christians prefer to have so few children?" the Bishop said at a Moscow meeting with Italian Ambassador in the Russian Federation Vittorio Claudio Surdo on Tuesday.

Russian parish in Venice fundraises for victims of Aquila earthquake

The Russian Orthodox parish of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women in Venice fundraises for victims of the recent earthquake in Aquila. "On the day of God's visitation, when Italians faced the trial, our Orthodox duty is respond to grief of people who lost their relatives, houses, are deprived of hot food and warm cloths," the address is quoted as saying by the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church relations press service on Tuesday.

Holy Fire to be delivered from Jerusalem to Moscow on Easter eve for the seventh time

The Holy Fire, which miraculously descents in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, will be delivered by a special flight at 10.30 p.m. to Vnukovo airport on April 18, Saturday. The shrine will be taken to Christ the Savior Cathedral and conveyed to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia for the Easter service, press service of St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation has told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.