Turkey permits first new church in 90 years

Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government has authorized the building of the first church in the country since the end of the Ottoman empire in 1923, AFP has learned.

The church is for the country’s tiny Syriac [Assyrian] community and will be built in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, which already has Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic churches.

Sisi makes surprise Coptic Christmas visit

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited the main Coptic Christian church on Tuesday night to attend the Christmas service, in a move dubbed by local media as a first in Egypt’s history.

In footage broadcast by Egyptian television, Sisi made a surprise visit to Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, wearing a red tie and dark suit and surrounded by security guards. He saluted Pope Tawadros II and stood next to him to make a brief speech in front of  a  jubilant crowd.

Pronouncing of the word “Christmas” is punishable by death on the territories occupied by ISIS

The outrages of radical Islamists on Iraqi and Syrian territory have not only deprived Christians who live under the yoke of the takfirists of the joy of Christmas, but also alarmed neighboring regions that for the moment are free of the terrorists, reports Linga with reference to news agencies.

According to the eyewitnesses’ evidence, on the territories occupied by “the Islamic State” the very utterance of the word “Christmas” is equated with the public preaching of Christianity and is punishable by death.

Department of Islamic Studies to be established at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki—Holy Kinot of Mt. Athos opposed

The Holy Kinot of Mt. Athos has sent an open letter to the dean of the School of Theology of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.

AgionOros.ru has published extracts from this message.

In connection with the opening of the Department of Islamic Studies at the School of Theology the Athonite Monks are expressing their “dismay and distress”. They are “raising alarm in the spirit of love, responsibility before history and posterity.”
In the Holy Kinot’s view, the initiative of studying Islam within the scope of the School of Theology, formerly oriented exclusively towards the Orthodox tradition, “is a serious mistake and clearly contradicts the teaching of the Holy Fathers… This step is directed against theology and against the Orthodox Church Itself.”

Unconditional Commitment to Service is the Vocation of the Catholicosate of Cilicia – Stated Aram I

 21 December 2014. On Sunday, the Armenian Chatholicosate of Cilicia celebrated the feast of the Deacon and Protomartyr St. Stephen. Archbishop Norayr Ashekian celebrated the Holy Liturgy at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias.