Russian Orthodox Patriarch Dies
A great loss to the whole church of Christ, Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, died on 5 December.
In a message sent to the synod of Russian bishops, Pope Benedict XVI credited Alexei “for the rebirth of the church after the severe ideological oppression that led to the martyrdom of so many witnesses to the Christian faith.”
Enthroned in June 1990, Alexei II led the Russian Orthodox Church through the difficult transition from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the rebirth of a resurgent nationalist Russia.
Under him, eparchies, parishes, monasteries and educational institutions grew without precedent.
May he rest in peace.
Help for Ethiopia’s Blind
The Addis Ababa chapter of the Lions Club, an international network known for assisting the visually impaired and preventing blindness, has pledged its support for one of CNEWAs partners, the Shashemene School for the Blind in the Ethiopian town of Shashemene.
After visiting the school in late November, members of the Lions Club determined that 13 children could benefit from eye surgery. As part of their ongoing mission, they covered the costs of the operations, which were completed by the end of the year.
CNEWA has provided support to the school, which is administered by the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of the Angels, since its foundation in 1981.
Building Interfaith Dialogue
On 23 October, Chorbishop John D. Faris attended the 75th meeting of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation in Montreal. Delegates discussed the issue of papal primacy.
From 16 to 23 November, Chorbishop Faris participated in the second plenary meeting of the Joint Working Group of the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches in Geneva.
The group focused on developing a mandate, which members agreed should include addressing the impact of migration on churches of all denominations around the world and involving youth in the ecumenical movement.
Chorbishop Faris is currently serving a six-year term as a member of the group, which strengthens ties between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches and advances Christian unity.
Consulta in Rome
From 1-5 December, Msgr. Robert L. Stern attended the Consulta of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in Rome. Convoked every five years by the grand master of the order, the meeting brings together members of the order’s Grand Magisterium and its lieutenants from around the world.
During the five-day event, members attended presentations and participated in discussions and working groups on a wide-range of issues concerning the order’s budget, administration and mandate.
On 3 December, Msgr. Stern addressed the group on the topic of Christian migration from the Middle East.
Hospital Transition Complete
In December, the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation replaced the last remaining Comboni Missionary Sisters at the Italian Hospital in Amman, Jordan.
For the past eight decades, the Comboni Sisters have directed the hospital, but declining numbers made difficult the hospital’s day-to-day management.
The move marks the final step in a nine- month gradual transfer of the hospital’s administration to the Dominican Sisters, who run St. Raphael’s Hospital in Baghdad.
Owned by the Italian Catholic missionary society, ANZMI, the 60-bed general hospital, with assistance from CNEWA, offers low-cost medical treatment to Amman’s neediest, including Iraqi refugees.
Financial Crisis and CNEWA
The current global financial crisis is taking a toll on CNEWA and the people we serve. With funding in short supply, we have to reduce or suspend many current commitments and postpone new projects.
The real victims, however, are the many individuals and families who depend on CNEWA and its network of generous donors.
CNEWA relies primarily on the generosity of individuals, rather than corporate sponsors or other funding agencies. Forever grateful to our donors, we encourage you to remember the vital work CNEWA undertakes, especially in these financially difficult times.