With the grace of God, the prayer and blessing of His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Saturday 10 January 2015, saw the laying of the foundation stone By His Eminence Narkissos Metropolitan of Nubia, of the first Missionary Centre in South Sudan, the most newly established state of the world, a highly suffering country which has been plagued by civil war for more than 30 years, with very few periods of ceasefire.
Greek Orthodox Christians are building a church in Mussaffah to accommodate the hundreds of worshippers living in the capital.
In addition to the 700 Abu Dhabi families registered with the church, Father Stephanos Neaimeh believed there were 300 to 400 more unregistered families in the emirate.
“The Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church isn’t very big,” said the Lebanon native. “It fits about 300 worshippers, sitting and standing. Sunday and Friday masses are usually full and we have 700 families, so we don’t have much space. We sometimes use the salon upstairs with a screen and we place chairs outside too. During Easter and Christmas we never have space.”
Pope Francis called on Sri Lanka to uncover the truth of what happened during its bloody civil war as part of a healing process between religious communities, as he arrived in Colombo a few days after the island's wartime leaders were voted out.
Less than a week after its longtime president was surprisingly voted out of office, Sri Lanka welcomes Pope Francis on Tuesday, with the island nation's Catholic minority hoping he can help heal the lingering wounds of the country's 25-year civil war.
The war between minority Tamil rebels, who are mostly Hindu, and the central government, dominated by the overwhelmingly Buddhist ethnic Sinhala majority, ended in 2009. Catholics make up less than 7 percent of Sri Lanka's population, but they come from both the Tamil and the Sinhala communities, making them a potential bridge between the two sides.
Yet another young Coptic Christian girl, Sabrine Mushir (right), has been kidnapped in Egypt, from the village of Dalga.
Coptic activists are complaining that not a single person from among the authorities and security apparatus has done a single thing to try to find the hapless girl, adding “If this was the daughter of one of the local authorities, she would have been retrieved in seconds.”
Dalga, where the young Christian girl was kidnapped is the same Upper Egyptian village where, in September 2013, Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers had forced the Christian inhabitants to pay Islamic jizya—the money, or tribute, that conquered non-Muslims historically had to pay to their Islamic overlords “with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued,” in the words of Koran 9:29. In some cases, those not able to pay were attacked, their wives and children beaten and/or kidnapped.
Christian worshipers were planning on praying in the church’s courtyard — since the church building had been left unfinished for 23 years due to reasons of security — and had furnished the courtyard with chairs and tents. They “were surprised” to find “flames” engulf much of the courtyard.