An important meeting between Pope Franics and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled for this weekend. But the historic encounter presents unique challenges to the Pontiff.
On November 14, Pope Francis will meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Vatican. It will be the first time a pope has met with a head of the Islamic Republic since Pope St. John Paul II received President Mohamed Khatami at the Vatican on March 11, 1999.
His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited St. Mary Assyrian Church in Moscow. The Primate and the accompanying delegation were welcomed by the parish priest and the Administrative Board. His Holiness blessed the parishioners and spoke about the purpose of his visit to Russia. He also explained the difficulties and persecutions that Christians are undergoing in Iraq and Syria.
On Sunday November 28th, the Armenian Apostolic Church will celebrate the Feast of the Apostles St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew. At 10:30a.m., a Divine Liturgy will be held in the Mother Cathedral on the Feast of the first Illuminators of the Armenian Church.
On this occasion the Holy Lance (Geghard) will be taken to the Mother Cathedral, and during the celebration of Divine Liturgy, the faithful will have the opportunity to kiss it and receive blessings from the miraculous Holy Lance. The Holy Lance will remain on display in the Cathedral until the evening.
During the Divine Liturgy, to fulfill the wish of pious Armenian and foreign pilgrims, the Feast Day of the Founders of the Armenian Church, St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew, will be declared as a pilgrimage day of the Holy Lance; by Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
According to the TASS News Agency, His Holiness Igantius Aphrem II- Patriarch of Antioch and All East – Primate of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church (Oriental Orthodox Communion) has called USA and other Western powers to stop financing terrorist and militant groups in Syria.
“We ask the United States and other nations to stop financing terrorist and extremist groups. Consolidated effort is needed to bring the situation back to normal. We urge all parties to make efforts for a peaceful resolution of the crisis,” the patriarch told the news conference in Moscow. He also said that “big role of external forces that foment the crisis, so we ask to stop financing those who direct their weapons against the Syrian people.”
The seeds of Orthodoxy are flowering all over the world, even in Mexico where, under Archbishop Alejo of the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of Mexico, communities of Aztec people have embraced the Faith. For the past couple of years, OCMC, in partnership with the Orthodox Church in America’s (OCA) Department of Evangelization, has been sending short-term mission teams to minister to these Orthodox Christians who call the rural villages of San Esteban and Pisaflores home.