The New Ottoman Empire


Lest we forget, this past Wednesday was the 560th anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople.

The U.S. Helps Reconstruct the Ottoman Empire

by Robert E. Kaplan

Since the mid-1990s the United States has intervened militarily in several internal armed conflicts in Europe and the Middle East: bombing Serbs and Serbia in support of Izetbegovic’s Moslem Regime in Bosnia in 1995, bombing Serbs and Serbia in support of KLA Moslems of Kosovo in 1999, bombing Libya’s Gaddafi regime in support of rebels in 2010. Each intervention was justified to Americans as motivated by humanitarian concerns: to protect Bosnian Moslems from genocidal Serbs, to protect Kosovo Moslems from genocidal Serbs, and to protect Libyans from their murderous dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Other reasons for these interventions were also offered: to gain for the United States a strategic foothold in the Balkans, to defeat communism in Yugoslavia, to demonstrate to the world’s Moslems that the United States is not anti-Moslem, to redefine the role of NATO in the post-Cold War era, among others.

Each of these United States military interventions occurred in an area that had been part of the Ottoman Empire. In each, a secular regime was ultimately replaced by an Islamist one favoring sharia law and the creation of a world-wide Caliphate. The countries that experienced the “Arab Spring” of the 2010s without the help of American military intervention, Tunisia and Egypt, had also been part of the Ottoman Empire, and also ended up with Islamist regimes.

The full text here.

HT:  Fr Milovan


Bible Archaeology

Top 10 Israeli Ancient Mosaic Discoveries

A fantastic ancient floor found in the Negev is just the latest in a series of discoveries throughout the country.


The spectacular mosaic floor found in the Negev near Kibbutz Beit Kama is just the latest magnificent tiling discovery of ancient times in Israel.

There are dozens of these marvelous, meticulous creations, some almost 16 centuries old. Most of the mosaics were installed in ancient churches and synagogues. They tell Bible stories, extolled donors, beautified the experience of faith and even educated people.

The mosaics brim with human and animal figures…

When the first synagogue mosaic in the country was discovered (now on display at Beit Alpha National Park) in the 1920s, scholars were amazed to discover that it was full of human and animal images – ostensibly prohibited by the Second Commandment. But scholars now tell us that Jewish thought of the day allowed such depictions – as long as they were not going to be worshipped. Also, these images are part of a tradition stretching across the region in the Byzantine period, which spanned the fourth–seventh centuries.

You can arrange an entire tour of Israel centered on nothing but the mosaics. Here to help you out are ten of the best ever discovered in Israel…

Check them out here. There are photos and this video too:



Church of the Dormition in Jerusalem Vandalised

Holy Virgin Mary site defaced with graffiti used by Jewish extremists:

Church Of The Dormition

Israel police say an investigation is underway to find vandals who defaced one of Jerusalem’s best known churches.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the vandalism was discovered on the Church of the Dormition in Jerusalem’s Old City early Friday.  The church is built on the site where many Christians believe the Virgin Mary died.

Rosenfeld said that along with anti-Christian slurs, the words “price tag” were found scrawled on the church’s exterior. He said police are searching for the perpetrators.

That phrase is usually used by a fringe minority of Jewish extremists to protest what they perceive as the Israeli government’s pro-Palestinian policies and retaliation for Palestinian attacks.

Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been vandalized with “price tag” damage in recent years.



The Vatican Will Not Be Publishing the Full Texts of Pope Francis’s Daily Homilies


The very great interest aroused by the Pope’s brief homilies in the course of the Masses celebrated every  morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta, poses and continues to pose  often the question  from different parts  on the possibility to access such celebrations or such homilies fully and not through the syntheses published every day by Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano.

The question is understandable and has been taken several times into consideration and made the object of profound reflection, and merits a clear answer. First of all, it is necessary to keep in mind the character that the Holy Father himself attributes to the morning celebration of the Mass at Saint Martha’s.

It is a Mass with the presence of not a small group of faithful (generally more than 50 people) but whose character of familiarity the Pope intends to preserve. Because of this, despite the requests received, he has asked explicitly that it not be transmitted live on video or audio.

As regards to the homilies, they are not given on the basis of a written text, but spontaneously, in Italian, a language the Pope knows very well, but it isn’t his mother tongue. Hence, an “integral” publication would necessarily entail a transcription and a rewriting of the text on several points, given that the written form is different from the oral, which in this case is the original form chosen intentionally by the Holy Father. In short, there would have to be a revision by the Holy Father himself, but the result would be clearly “something else,” which is not what the Holy Father intends to do every morning.

After careful reflection, therefore, it was decided that the best way to make the richness of the Pope’s homilies accessible to a wider public, without altering their nature, is to publish an ample synthesis, rich also in original quoted phrases that reflect the genuine flavor of the Pope’s expressions. It is what L’Osservatore Romano is committed to doing every day, whereas Vatican Radio, on the basis of its characteristic nature, offers a briefer synthesis, but accompanied also with some passages of the original recorded audio, as well as CTV which offers a  video-clip corresponding to one of the inserted audios published by Vatican Radio.

It is necessary to insist on the fact that, in the whole of the Pope’s activity, the difference is carefully preserved between the various situations and celebrations, as well as the different levels of commitment of his pronouncements. Thus, on the occasion of public celebrations or activities of the Pope, broadcast live on television or radio, the homilies or addresses are transcribed and published in full. On the occasion of more familiar and private celebrations, the specific character of the situation is respected, of the spontaneity and familiarity of the Holy Father’s expressions. Hence the chosen solution respects first of all the will of the Pope and the nature of the morning celebration and at the same time it enables a wide public to access the principal messages that the Holy Father offers the faithful also in this circumstance.

He is preaching extemporaneously.



Each Year the Church of England Sells Off Around 20 Churches

… to use the Church of England’s lingo, they are both “redundant.

The Huffington Post:

In nearly every case the reason for closure is the same: dwindling congregations that cannot afford to look after ancient buildings despite often valiant attempts. There is some help for repairs from local and national bodies, particularly the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Churches Trust and the Church of England itself. A lucky few are kept open by trusts or charities, including the exemplary Churches Conservation Trust.

This story is partly about the decline of religion but it is also about a waning appreciation for those parts of our history unconnected with the rich and famous. Churches are not only of interest to worshippers, just as Titian is not only of interest to lovers of Greek mythology. They are the physical expression, in stone and mortar, of Britain’s communal past, built not only by the wealthy but also by ordinary local people. In most cases, they are still used today roughly as they were centuries ago. This can be said of almost no other building. They are not ours to sell…

There is hope, however. Without increased public funding, any solution will have to find a way to appeal to tourists and locals with and without a faith. But why should a family looking for a day out not as easily choose an ancient church, or three, as an expensive trip to a country house?

The success of the National Trust should point the way forward, a way led by bodies like the Churches Tourism Association. This means keeping churches unlocked, well signed from major roads and searchable on Google Maps. It also means improving their web presence with easy to use websites illustrating their history and working with other churches to put together trails for walkers, cyclists or beer drinkers. Churches, like National Trust houses, need to explain their history and architecture with innovative and interesting church guides, on paper and online, intelligible to those with little or no experience.

Churches often claim that: “We are a not a museum”. But it is time to throw out the idea that churches must choose between celebrating their heritage and being a living community – they can do both.

What a sad state of affairs…