Christian world

Pope Francis to visit Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem

The Holy Father will meet twice the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, hold an ecumenical meeting in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, and sign a joint declaration. The pilgrimage will also mark the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras.

The pope will hold two meetings with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as an ecumenical meeting in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. He will also sign a joint declaration.

The Conference of the Orthodox Youth Leaders held in Tirana

On 14-16 March 2014 the Office of Orthodox Youth of the Archdiocese of Tirana, organized a three-day meeting of youth leaders of all the Orthodox Dioceses of our country. The theme of the conference was: “Zeal for the Lord,” and was held in “Resurrection of Christ” Theological Academy in St. Vlash, Durrës. The event was attended by 55 young people from the four dioceses of the country, and three young Americans who were sent by the Orthodox Mission Center (OCMC), to assist in this activity. It was based on the elaborated program of the young orthodox people of the church of St. Paul, in Irvine of California (USA).

Belgian doctors open discussion of involuntary euthanasia

Some doctors in Belgium have suggested discussion of legalizing euthanasia without requiring the consent of the patient.

Euthanasia is already legal in Belgium; last year 1,432 people were put to death by their doctors, at the patients’ request. In February the government extended legal euthanasia by allowing children to opt for mercy killing.

The current law, however, requires patients to make an informed choice to end their own lives. Doctors now suggest that they should be able to make that decision for patients who are unable to express themselves, whether or not they are suffering.

Ancient seal with image of the Theotokos discovered near Burgas in Bulgaria

An unique seal with image of the Mother of God has been discovered during archaeological excavations near Burgas in Bulgaria, reports Sedmitza.ru with the reference to the Standar Bulgarian newspaper.

The image of the Holy Theotokos with Infant Christ is engraved on the round tin seal, with Orthodox crosses on both sides.

Sixth International Conference on Orthodox Church Music Announced

The International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM) announced the theme for its 6th International Conference on Orthodox Church Music which will be held 7-13 June, 2015 on the campus of the University of Eastern Finland, in Joensuu, Finland.

The theme of the conference in 2015 will be Creating Liturgically: Hymnography and Music.” According to the Very Rev. Ivan Moody, chair of the ISOCM board, the conference is expected to be both jubilant and innovative. “2015 sees the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of ISOCM, and in celebration of this our Sixth Biennial International Conference, many exciting events are being discussed and planned, with an array of international speakers.”

Growing persecution of Christians by radical islamist in North Syria

Christians in the regions of north Syria, controlled by insurgents, are faced with growing persecution by radical islamists, reported Melkite (Greek Catholic) Archbishop Jean-Abdo Arbach of Homs.

"The Muslim rule must be applied, while all the Christian symbols displayed publicly must be destroyed," said the archbishop in his interview with the "Aid to Church in Need" aid organization, commenting on the islamists' agenda.