ISIS Release 15 Assyrians Captured in Qaryatain – Syria

ISIS has released 15 Assyrians who were captured in the town of Qaryatain, Syria after they paid the jizya (poll tax). The 15 were among the 250 Assyrians captured when Qaryatain fell to ISIS on August 6. After capturing Qaryatain, ISIS issued an ultimatum to the Christian population: pay the jizya, convert to Islam or leave.

Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II holds discussion the situation of Christians in the Middle East with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met with Canadian Prime Minister Mr. Stephen Harper. His Holiness discussed with PM Harper the current situation of Christians in the Middle East.

His Holiness was accompanied by a delegation including their Eminences Mor Athanasius Elia Bahi, Patriarchal Vicar in Canada, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Secretary.

Archbishop Abune Phillip of Ethiopia Enters Eternal Rest

Addis Ababa: His Grace Abune Phillip – Archbishop of Ilbabur and Gambela diocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church passed away on 31 August 2015. Th funeral was later held at the Hily Trinity Cathedral in the Capital City of Addis Ababa.

Memory Eternal

Consultation opens in Helsinki

On the first day of the Orthodox ecclesiastical year, 63 Orthodox and Evangelical leaders are gathered at Sofia Cultural Centre just outside Helsinki, Finland, to consider “The Gospel as Good News”. Gathered from around the world the participants were welcomed by His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrosius on behalf of the local Orthodox Community.  Bishop Tapio Luoma, of the Diocese of Espoo (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland) then gave a warm welcome on behalf of the majority Lutheran community in Finland, whilst Rev. Timo Keskitalo brought greetings from the Evangelical Alliance of Finland and the local Lausanne movement.

On this first evening participants were challenged in their understandings of the Gospel and its centrality in mission and the whole life of discipleship by Fr. Michael Oleksa (centre of picture above) from Alaska.  He ended his presentation by saying, “If there has been conflict, even hostility between “missions” anywhere, this situation undermines the success of any of them. Sin is division, a rupture of communion, a break in loving relationships. Salvation then is unity, a restoration of communion, a return to loving relationships.”

The consultation continues until Friday.

Source: Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative

Christian-Muslim Conference on human rights in Athens

Religious leaders from Christian and Muslim communities in the Middle East will gather in Athens in September to discuss plans to better support the citizenship rights of Christian, other religious and ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria.

At the invitation of the Secretary General of the Intergovernmental organization of Republic of Austria, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kingdom of Spain, the Dialogue Center KAICIID  based in Vienna and headed by Mr. Faisal Bin Abdulrahman Bin Muaammar, His Grace Bishop Jovan of Slavonia and Mr. Aleksandar Prascevic, officer of the Holy Synod of Bishops in the Department for interreligious affairs, will represent the Serbian Orthodox Church in the work of the interreligious forum which, in cooperation with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Greece, is held from 2 - 3 September 2015 in Athens on the theme: Supporting civil rights and peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims in the Middle East – challenges, practice and open issues.