Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
28 February 2019
Greg Kandra

Syriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Moshe of Mosul, Iraq, elevates the Eucharist during a liturgy at St. Thomas Syriac Catholic Church in the old city of Mosul on 28 February 2019.
(photo: CNS /Khalid al-Mousily, Reuters)

Tags: Iraqi Christians

28 February 2019
Greg Kandra

'Long live tribal unity' reads a banner behind the podium of a 26 February meeting in Madhya Pradesh state, where tribal groups joined to oppose a Supreme Court order to evict forest-dwelling people without title rights. (photo: Saji Thomas/

Bishop expresses concerns over possible evictions of millions of Indian tribal people ( Millions of India’s indigenous people face eviction from their natural habitat following a court order that has alarmed Catholic Church leaders. The Supreme Court ordered governments of 21 states to evict people living on forest land whose claims to land title rights or user rights were rejected as proscribed in a 2006 law. ”We are worried. The fate of millions of indigenous people is threatened,” said Bishop Vincent Barwa, the head of the Indian bishops’ office for indigenous people…

Pakistan to release captured Indian pilot in ‘peace gesture’ (The Washington Post) Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told parliament Thursday that his country will shortly release an Indian pilot it captured the day before, calling it a “peace gesture” after Pakistan and India engaged in their first aerial combat in nearly 50 years. The pilot’s release will take place on 1 March, Khan said, and the move is likely to de-escalate the current hostilities between the two nuclear-armed neighbors…

Yazidi children in Syria await family reunions (Voice of America) U.S.-backed Syrian forces battling Islamic State militants in their last hideout in eastern Syria said they have rescued dozens of Yazidi children held by the militant group for years. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led alliance, said last week that they had successfully freed more than a dozen Yazidi children from ISIS as they evacuated civilians from the Syrian town of Baghuz…

Russian church fires back over performance controversy (Radio Free Europe) A choral reinterpretation of a Cold War ditty depicting a Russian nuclear attack on Washington has variously drawn wild cheers, contrition, and ridicule for its glib message amid mounting nuclear tensions between Russia and the West. The St. Petersburg eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church eventually expressed regret over the 23 February show.…

Tags: Syria India Russian Orthodox

27 February 2019
Greg Kandra

A parishioner raises a candlestick as a symbol of light during the Greek Catholic Divine Liturgy. Learn more about the rich traditions in one Slovak village, and how they are being carried on by Those Who Remain Behind in the January 2009 edition of ONE. (photo: Andrej Bán)

Tags: Greek Catholic Church

27 February 2019
Greg Kandra

The crisis between Pakistan and India escalated Wednesday morning, when Pakistan announced it had shot down two Indian fighter jets. A leading bishop in the Pakistan, meanwhile, is appealing for peace talks. (video: BBC/YouTube)

Pakistani bishop appeals for peace talks with India (Vatican News) With the risk of war escalating between India and Pakistan following an Indian airstrike inside Pakistan on Tuesday, a Pakistani bishop has appealed for peace talks. The Indian government claimed it carried out air raids against an Islamist militant training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed, killing “a very large number” of fighters, raising the risk of a war between the nuclear-armed neighbors. Pakistan denied there had been any casualties but condemned the Indian action and vowed it would respond…

Pakistan shoots down two Indian jets; crisis deepens (CNN) Pakistan says its air force shot down two Indian fighter jets over the disputed border region of Kashmir, in a significant escalation of the crisis between the two nuclear-armed powers. India confirmed the loss of one plane and said it shot down a Pakistani jet as it responded to the incident…

Russia and Syria urge U.S. to withdraw troops (Al Jazeera) Russia and Syria have called on the United States to leave Syria and to allow people inside a refugee camp in the southeast of the country to be evacuated by Russian and Syrian forces. A joint statement released on Wednesday by Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Russian and Syrian forces had prepared buses to relocate refugees at the camp in the Rukban area and would guarantee them safe passage so they could start new lives.

Ethiopian bishops speaks out on protection of minors (Vatican News) Bishop Gebremedhin said that Ethiopia as a nation is committed to protecting children and has signed the United Nations Convention on the Protection of Minors. However, the cultural priorities with regard to protecting children in his country are several, such as sexual abuse, child trafficking, early marriage and others…

European Russians break ties with Constantinople (AsiaNews) Since 23 February, the Russian Orthodox exarchate, linked to the patriarchate of Constantinople, has decided to break ties with Bartholomew, following his choice to approve the autocephalous Church in Ukraine…

Tags: India Ethiopia Ukraine Russian Orthodox

26 February 2019
Greg Kandra

A boy receives Communion at an Ethiopian Orthodox church in Temple Hills, Maryland. Read more about America’s Horn of Africa in the March 2009 edition of ONE.(photo: Erin Edwards)

Tags: Ethiopia Ethiopian Orthodox Church

26 February 2019
Greg Kandra

India confirms it struck targets in Pakistan early Tuesday, escalating the tensions between the two countries. (video: BBC/YouTube)

Indian fighter jets attack Pakistan (NPR) India says its fighter jets crossed a disputed border before dawn Tuesday into neighboring Pakistan, conducting airstrikes on a militant training camp and killing “a very large number of terrorists.” Pakistan confirmed by tweet that Indian planes entered its airspace. But the spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed forces said they were forced to drop their payload in an open field, after Pakistan scrambled its own jets, and that there were no casualties or damage…

Iran to build 200,000 housing units in Syria (Middle East Monitor) Iran has agreed to build 200,000 housing units in the Syrian capital Damascus, the Tasnim News Agency reported on Sunday. Tehran province Vice Chairman of Mass-Housing Constructors Association Iraj Rahbar revealed the plan, noting that it was one of a number of agreements on civil construction, tourism and the agriculture industry, the news agency reported…

Copts concerned about death sentence for monks convicted in murder of bishop (AsiaNews) A court sentenced two monks to death over the murder of the abbot of the monastery of St Macarius in Wadi El Natrun. For Egyptian Christians and the leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church, this is a sad day and represents a catastrophe that will be appealed as soon as possible. The details of the case are still murky. Many of the pieces of the puzzle are missing, nor is it clear why the death penalty was imposed. Sources that spoke to AsiaNews, said that they will wait for further developments before commenting on the matter…

Opioid crisis hits Gaza (Times of Israel) An opioid crisis has quietly spread in the Gaza Strip, trapping thousands in the hell of addiction and adding another layer of misery to the blockaded and impoverished Hamas-controlled coastal territory. The scourge can be traced to the mass import of cheap opioid-based Tramadol pain pills through smuggling tunnels under Gaza’s border more than a decade ago. A more addictive black-market form of the drug called Tramal has since taken hold…

Death toll in Ukraine conflict now up to 13,000 (Radio Free Europe) Some 13,000 people have been killed, a quarter of them civilians, and as many as 30,000 wounded in the war in eastern Ukraine since it broke out in April 2014, the United Nations says…

Tags: Syria India Ukraine Iran

25 February 2019
Greg Kandra

The Rev. Boulos Nassif strives to serve marginalized communities in Egypt. Learn how he is among the many Signs of Hope in that country in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Roger Anis)

Tags: Egypt Priests

25 February 2019
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis receives the Apostoliki Diaconia of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens.
(photo: Vatican Media)

Pope to Greek Orthodox: ‘We have more in common than what keeps us apart’ (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Monday reflected on the fruitfulness and importance of Catholic Orthodox dialogue on the journey to full communion. He was speaking to the Apostolikí Diaconía and the Centre for the Family of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens whom he received in the Vatican…

Ukraine’s crisis of faith (Politico) For years, Father Vasily spent his Sundays behind the altar at St. Nicholas, a church in the small town of Vorsivka, in north-central Ukraine. That all changed in early January, not long after the Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially split from the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church in one of the biggest schisms in Christian history…

‘Kerala will become an aged society soon’ (The Times of India) Kerala would become a fast-aging society in the near future, said Geojit Financial Services managing director C. J. George…

Bootleg liquor kills dozens in India ( The church is assisting those affected by a mass toxic alcohol poisoning that has killed more than 140 tea-estate workers in India’s northeast. Some 350 people continue to fight for lives in hospitals in Assam state after they consumed bootleg alcohol on 21 February. A similar tragedy occurred earlier this month with bootleg liquor killing more than 100 people in northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand…

Press briefing announces initiatives for protection of minors (Vatican News) There have been four Press Conferences, coinciding with the four days of the Meeting. Each one has provided a synthesis of the day’s discussions and reflections, and allowed journalists an opportunity to engage with participants and speakers in what was often a lively Q&A session. One implicit (and explicit) question underscored the concluding press briefing on Sunday: “What now”? Expectations were high, especially given Pope Francis’ mandate to participants, at the start of the Meeting, to come up with “concrete” initiatives to help the Church in protecting minors…

Tags: India Ukraine Russian Orthodox Orthodox Greece

22 February 2019
Michel Constantin

Families line up to receive medical care and food at the dispensary. (photo: CNEWA)

Lebanon is now witnessing a new phenomenon, according to our local church partner, the Socio-Medical Intercommunity Dispensary: Families and the elderly are approaching the dispensary for bread.

A member of the CNEWA Lebanon field staff writes:

I just came back from the field from Socio-Medical Intercommunity Dispensary in Nabaa where I had a meeting with the staff to follow-up on the health project CNEWA has been supporting. I was shocked at the sight of elderly women and men as well as families approaching the center asking for bread. A staff member told me that they are witnessing a new phenomenon, one they have not seen before, even during the war. Many well-known workshops in the area of Nabaa-Bourj-Hammoud are closing down and laying off workers. It is forcing families—who were barely able to cover their living expenses—to seek bread.

Through its local church partner, the Socio-Medical Intercommunity Dispensary, CNEWA for two years has supported the poor population of the area with food portions and medical aid; in 2018, 309 extremely poor families were provided with nourishment for five months.

The Socio-Medical Intercommunity Dispensary (also known as “Dispensaire Intercommunautaire”) is run by the Assembly of Female Religious Congregations. It was originally founded in 1968 by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary to serve those in need in a variety of ways — socially, medically and culturally. The Assembly took charge of the dispensary in 1973 and has been running it since. The dispensary is located in Nabaa-Bourj Hammoud, known to be poor districts of East Beirut with mixed communities. The residents are predominantly Christians displaced from Mount Lebanon and other parts of the country during the civil war. There are also a large number of foreign workers (Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Sri-Lankan, Filipino, etc.) seeking shelter in cheap, small apartments. These areas are densely populated, characterized by rates of high illiteracy, delinquency, unemployment, drugs and prostitution.

Hanna Issa's wife receives bread at the dispensary. (photo: CNEWA)

One of the beneficiaries of CNEWA’s program has been Hanna Issa. He and his family have been supported with food and medical aid which helped them to overcome their dire economic condition. Hanna, 55, is married and has a 13-year-old daughter. He used to work in a shoe workshop in the area of Bourj Hammoud. Due to the difficult economic situation, the workshop went into bankruptcy and had to close down, laying off dozens of workers. Hanna tried hard, but in vain, to find a job to provide for his family. But through CNEWA, Hanna and others in similar circumstances were kept afloat and did not drown in despair.

Others have not been so fortunate. Deteriorating economic and social conditions in Lebanon have led to a shocking increase in the number of acts of self-immolation—most offered in protest against the crushing economic conditions.

It is a reminder to us of how circumstances have changed so suddenly for so many. Tragically, a growing number of Lebanese hunger for more than bread; they crave human dignity and hope. CNEWA is privileged to help in any way we can, thanks to the support and generosity of our donors.

Tags: Lebanon

22 February 2019
Catholic News Service

Abbot Nicholas Zachariadis, founding abbot of Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin, holds a pair scissors to the head of Deacon Paiisi during a tonsure ceremony at St. Gregory Church in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin. (photo: CNS/Sam Lucero, The Compass)

A Divine Liturgy brought together four jurisdictions of Eastern-rite Catholic communities, as well as the local Latin-rite Catholic community, at St. Gregory Catholic Church in St. Nazianz.

The 16 February liturgy celebrated the life tonsure of Father Paiisi into the monastic brotherhood of Holy Resurrection Monastery.

Catholics worldwide number around 1 billion, with the vast majority belonging to the Latin-rite Catholic Church. About 20 million belong to 22 Eastern-rite Catholic churches, which trace their roots to five ritual families. The largest of these are churches of the Byzantine tradition, to which the monks at Holy Resurrection belong.

Father Paiisi, whose birth name is Patrick Firman, is a member of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. In honor of his faith background, Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk, of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in Chicago, joined Abbot Nicholas Zachariadis, leader of the Holy Resurrection monastic community, for the tonsure ceremony, which is equivalent to a solemn profession in the Latin-rite Catholic Church.

“Holy Resurrection Monastery belongs canonically to the Romanian Greek-Catholic jurisdiction and is now the largest of these Greek-Catholic monasteries,” Abbot Zachariadis said. “It has always seen its mission as extending to all jurisdictions.”

The tonsure ceremony was a prime example of this collaboration.

The abbot explained that in the Byzantine Catholic Church, there are “basically two vocations or charisms of the Christian life: marriage and monastic life. Even priests and deacons are either married or monks.” Eastern Catholic priests are not allowed to marry after ordination.

In general, in Eastern-rite Catholic churches in their homelands, married men may become priests; they cannot marry after ordination. Under a Vatican rule in the early 20th-century, married priests could not serve the Eastern-rite churches in the United States, Canada and Australia.

But by the early 2000s, the Vatican had stopped suspending married men ordained to the priesthood for service in the Eastern Catholic churches of North America and Australia. In 2014, the Vatican lifted its ban on the ordination of married men to the priesthood in Eastern Catholic churches outside their traditional territories, including in the United States, Canada and Australia

With married Eastern-rite clergy becoming much more common, even in the United States, the witness of monastic life will be even more important than ever to emphasize the two charisms in the church,” Abbot Zachariadis said. “This tonsure celebrates the witness of monastic life in the Greek-Catholic churches in the USA and the co-operation between all the Greek-Catholic churches in order to make this happen.”

The tonsure -- from the Latin word “tondeo,” meaning to shear or shave -- is rich with historical symbolism. It consists of cutting the hair of the candidate, a gesture that is found in Scripture.

For example, Chapter 18, Verse 18, of the Acts of the Apostles, describes Paul being “at Cenchreae, where he had his hair cut because he had taken a vow.”

Before the tonsure rite, Abbot Zachariadis addressed the assembly that numbered over 100 people.

“We hope that this will be the beginning of many more associations with the Ukrainian community of Chicago,” he said, in his welcome to Bishop Aleksiychuk, who brought with him from Chicago a choir that led the congregation in song.

The abbot said the gathering of so many communities bodes well for their future. “This shows a very, very important direction of our monastery and, hopefully, of our Greek-Catholic churches in the USA,” he said.

He also acknowledged the presence of six nuns from the Byzantine Catholic Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in Burton, Ohio, in the Eparchy of Parma.

In its 25-year history, the monastery in St. Nazianz has been unique, Abbot Zachariadis said.

“We were traditional, we were in America and we were a monastery especially for all Greek Catholics,” he said. “Not just for Romanians, not just for Ruthenians, not just for Ukrainians, not just for Melkites, but for all Greek Catholics. ... I appeal to all the Greek-Catholic jurisdictions in the U.S. to be inspired by this vision, to promote monastic life.”

He said that, unlike the Latin-rite Catholic churches, the Eastern-rite Catholic churches are small and need each other to succeed. “Each of our jurisdictions is too small, too lacking in resources, too uninformed about the richness of monastic life for each jurisdiction to recreate the wheel of monastic life,” he said.

Father Paiisi’s tonsure is a positive sign for the future, added the abbot, showing that Eastern- and Latin-rite Catholics “are in this together.”

“I’m very proud this morning to be kind of cementing this reality,” he said, by receiving Father Paiisi, a deacon of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, into the monastery. He hoped it would be the beginning of many such “monastic vocations to our monastery.”

“May Father Paiisi, as I will be tonsuring him for life, be a witness, and an important witness, to that reality,” Abbot Zachariadis added.

With the tonsure of Father Paiisi, he said, the monastery now has 10 members. Two novice monks are scheduled for life tonsure this year.

“We are growing, but the size of a monastic community is not as important as the quality,” he said. “I am very impressed by the quality of our monastic candidates.”

Tags: Priests Ukrainian Catholic Church

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