In late February, “unknown persons” invaded Mar Elias, an ancient Maronite church in Bekaa, Lebanon. Along with damaging one of the church’s windows, they destroyed a portion of the flooring, as they dug a large hole near the altar (see pictures below).
According to Maronite Bishop Joseph Mouwad, much of the church’s sacred items were left intact and not stolen. Instead, “they broke the tiles and dug the ground, apparently looking for something, though we do not know what.”
Fingerprints and cigarette butts were found.
The European Parliament has passed a non-binding resolution calling for the establishment of an Assyrian safe haven in north Iraq. Citing the attacks by ISIS on Assyrians in Iraq and Syria, including the abduction of nearly 300 Assyrians, the killing of dozens of Assyrians in the attacks on their villages in Syria, the destruction of Assyrian cultural heritage such as the city of Nimrud, the resolution “is shocked and saddened at the brutal actions by ISIS/Da’esh extremists against the Assyrians in Syria…” and “Strongly condemns ISIS/Da’esh and its egregious human rights abuses that amount to crimes against humanity…”
Islamic State (ISIS) has burned 1,500 historical manuscripts in Iraq and sold Assyrian sculptures on the black market, the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities revealed yesterday.
The Undersecretary of the Minister of Tourism Qais Hussein Rashid said that the province of Nineveh in northern Iraq, which is under ISIS control, is at the forefront of Iraqi provinces that contain the largest number of archaeological sites.
Despite the alarming situation developing around the Christians living in North African countries, archpastors of the dioceses of Tunisia and Libya are continuing their ministry and refusing to abandon their flock, reports the MCN portal with the reference to theVatican Radio.
Ilario Antoniazzi, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tunis (capital of Tunisia), has described the present situation in his archdiocese in his interview with the journalists. According to the hierarch, the recent execution of 21 Copts in Libya was only one of the numerous examples of daily terror by islamists against Christians of this country where he has been serving since 2013.
Recently, OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi was invited by His Eminence Amphilochios, Metropolitan of New Zealand, to visit the newly-consecrated Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Fiji. The opening of this church in early February was a major milestone in the mission work that has been undertaken by His Eminence in Fiji. Through this missionary outreach, the Church in Fiji has grown significantly since 2006 and is now home to four churches, a monastery, an orphanage, four Fijian Orthodox clergy, and 3 nuns (one Australian and two Fijian). Soon there will also be a shelter for women.
The first female bishop in the Church of England has been installed at Chester Cathedral.
The Rt Rev Libby Lane, 48, preached her first sermon in a service attended by hundreds of people.She was consecrated as the eighth Bishop of Stockport at York Minster in January.