Christians in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley have begun arming themselves in preparation for an Isis (now known as the Islamic State) offensive as it seeks to expand its territorial control outside of Syria.
Up to 3,000 militants from the Islamic State and other jihadists occupy the mountain range between Lebanon and Syria near the Sunni town of Arsal.
The second Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative (LOI) Consultation was held at the serene St Vlash monastery in the Albanian capital of Tirana from September 15 to 19, 2014.
According to Revd Canon Mark Oxbrow, Facilitator, Lausanne Facilitator for Orthodox-Evangelical Relations, the final commnique issued states “that relationships between Evangelicals and Orthodox engaged in mission have not always been positive. But with the efforts from LOI which is working towards increased mutual understanding and healing of wounds, in order to collaborate more effectively in God’s mission.”
Assyrians are preparing for the 2015 centennial commemoration of the genocide committed against them in World War One by Ottoman Turkey. A film team spent recently three weeks in southeast Turkey shooting for a documentary film which will premiere next year. The Turkish genocide targeted Assyrians, Armenians and Pontic Greeks between 1915 and 1918. 750,000 Assyrians (75%) were killed, 1.5 million Armenians and 500,000 Pontic Greeks.
The Hammurabi Human Rights Organization* has issued its latest report, dated September 6, 2014, on the situation in North Iraq.
- In Mosul there has been a sharp increase in the number of persons detained at the Badush prison in the last ten days, resulting from increased arrests of people resisting ISIS. Arrests are made by ISIS mostly in night raids.
On 3 September, following the initiative of His Grace Bishop Angaelos, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury invited leaders and representatives of the Middle East Churches in the UK to gather “in Solidarity with Christians in the Middle East: Rejoicing in their Faith and Sharing in their Collective Pain”at Lambeth Palace on 3 September.
Just as Father Samir Hajjar concluded his Sunday sermon at the Syriac Orthodox Church in Tripoli, he received a call asking him to step outside. Huddled around the outer wall of the parish, members of the Lebanese security forces drew Hajjar’s attention to freshly scrawled graffiti. “The Islamic State [of Iraq and Greater Syria] is Coming,” he read.
“I was very surprised when I saw it,” Hajjar told The Daily Star.