On the first day of the Orthodox ecclesiastical year, 63 Orthodox and Evangelical leaders are gathered at Sofia Cultural Centre just outside Helsinki, Finland, to consider “The Gospel as Good News”. Gathered from around the world the participants were welcomed by His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrosius on behalf of the local Orthodox Community. Bishop Tapio Luoma, of the Diocese of Espoo (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland) then gave a warm welcome on behalf of the majority Lutheran community in Finland, whilst Rev. Timo Keskitalo brought greetings from the Evangelical Alliance of Finland and the local Lausanne movement.
On this first evening participants were challenged in their understandings of the Gospel and its centrality in mission and the whole life of discipleship by Fr. Michael Oleksa (centre of picture above) from Alaska. He ended his presentation by saying, “If there has been conflict, even hostility between “missions” anywhere, this situation undermines the success of any of them. Sin is division, a rupture of communion, a break in loving relationships. Salvation then is unity, a restoration of communion, a return to loving relationships.”
The consultation continues until Friday.
Source: Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative
Religious leaders from Christian and Muslim communities in the Middle East will gather in Athens in September to discuss plans to better support the citizenship rights of Christian, other religious and ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria.
At the invitation of the Secretary General of the Intergovernmental organization of Republic of Austria, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kingdom of Spain, the Dialogue Center KAICIID based in Vienna and headed by Mr. Faisal Bin Abdulrahman Bin Muaammar, His Grace Bishop Jovan of Slavonia and Mr. Aleksandar Prascevic, officer of the Holy Synod of Bishops in the Department for interreligious affairs, will represent the Serbian Orthodox Church in the work of the interreligious forum which, in cooperation with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Greece, is held from 2 - 3 September 2015 in Athens on the theme: Supporting civil rights and peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims in the Middle East – challenges, practice and open issues.
President of the Coalition of Refugee Associations Miodrag Linta fiercely condemned on Thursday the desecration of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas in Karlovac, Croatia, which was targeted by a break-in by an unidentified individual, and he also noted that this is a clear message that Orthodox Bishop Gerasim of Gornji Karlovac and the remaining Serbs do not belong in Karlovac.
Linta said that this is the fourth break-in into the facility owned by the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The new Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, will display a collection of biblical artifacts discovered in Israel after reaching an agreement with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
The artifacts—stone and alabaster vessels, figurines, glassware, jewelry, and more—come from different eras, including from the First and Second Temple periods as well as the Canaanite period, according to Micky Saban, head of the IAA’s National Treasures Department.
Photos posted on ISIS social media sites show the destruction of Mar Elian monastery in Qaryatain, Syria, which is near Homs. Qaryatain fell to ISIS on August 6. An estimated 1,400 Syriac Orthodox and 400 Syriac Catholic Assyrians lived in Qaryatain before it fell to ISIS.