Islamists are continuing to attack Christian settlements in Syria. After seizure of Ma'loula the jihadist groups made an attempt to take control over Saidnaya, which is situated to the north of the Syrian capital as well.
The residents of this town are Christians. They speak Aramaic. Many Biblical events are connected with this place. According to a tradition, it was here that Cain killed his brother Abel. This place is called "the beating heart of the Syrian Christianity", Monasteries of various denominations are situated here: of the Mother of God, of Cherubim, Mar Thoma and others.
According to a report of Fides, during a conflict between unidentified armed groups trying to enter the settlement and local residents on September 27, a Greek Catholic was killed.
Authorities of the Portuguese city of Setubal have provided the Moscow Patriarchate with land to build the first Orthodox church in Portugal.
Setubal Mayor Maria das Dores Meira has given the documents for the land to the clergy, the office of the Russian Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) in Portugal said.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held its annual conference on the human dimension implementation from September 23 to October 4, 2013, in Warsaw. It was attended by representatives of the OSCE region including the EU, the Holy See, USA, Russia and the CIS countries.
Among the participants was Hierodeacon Roma (Kiselev), DECR secretariat for the far-abroad countries. On September 26, he addressed the sixth session of the forum on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs, speaking on the Russian Orthodox Church’s position on the situation in Syria, the persecution against Christians in the Middle East and Africa and Christianophobia.
On Wednesday the 12th/25th of September 2013, the Acting Military Commander of Israel’s Civil Administration, Mr Raed Mansour, accompanied by the former Military Commander of Bethlehem, Mr Iyad Sirhan and the Director of the Department of Christian Affairs of Israel’s Ministry of Religious Services, Mr Sesar Margie, visited His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem.
On September 24, 2013, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, during his working visit to London, met with Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster (Roman Catholic Church). They talked about Orthodox-Catholic relations, the state of religion in the modern society and prospects for students’ exchange between theological schools.