Church

Putin: Defender of Christians Worldwide

Vladimir Putin has urged the world’s political leaders to stop the violent persecutions against Christians that have erupted in many Middle Eastern countries.

LifeSiteNews reports:

Speaking at a meeting with Orthodox Christian leaders in Moscow last week, the Russian President said he noted “with alarm” that “in many of the world’s regions, especially in the Middle East and in North Africa inter-confessional tensions are mounting, and the rights of religious minorities are infringed, including Christians and Orthodox Christians.”

“This pressing problem should be a subject of close attention for the entire international community,” Putin said. “It is especially important today to make efforts to prevent intercultural and interreligious conflicts, which are fraught with the most serious upheavals.”

Putin praised the growth of cooperation between the Orthodox Churches and the Russian state, saying, “We act as genuine partners and colleagues to solve the most pressing domestic and international tasks, to implement joint initiatives for the benefit of our country and people.”

The Russian Federation recently passed legislation making it illegal to promote homosexuality as normal, a move that, while condemned by many European leaders, was strongly supported by the Orthodox Church.

Putin added Thursday that the Church was giving Russians a moral compass when so many were looking for help. “Today when people are once again searching for moral support, millions of our compatriots see it in religion,” he said. “They trust the wise, pastoral word of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

He added that it was the Church that was ultimately responsible for the development and rise of “culture and education” in Russia over the last 1,000 years. “The adoption of Christianity became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland, made it an inseparable part of the Christian civilization and helped it turn into one of the largest world powers,” Putin said.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said at the same meeting that the attempts to push Christians out of Syria would lead to a “civilization catastrophe.” Kirill and other Orthodox leaders have been critical of the lack of response to the crisis facing Christians in the Middle East by US and other Western leaders…

Rest here.

An unlikely voice indeed…

 

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Church

Always Our Media

Rod Dreher on how Time covered the Pope’s remarks about homosexuality:

… If Bishop Robinson believes that truth and justice require liberal reform on homosexuality, then he must, in good conscience, say so. I don’t blame him. What I do blame is the editorial leadership at Time magazine, for seeking out the opinion of a leader in a failing church staggering toward demographic extinction, asking him to tell the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world how to do his job like a grown-up. Time is not helping its readers understand basic realities and trends in religious life, but rather misleading them with groundless ideological optimism…

The whole piece here.

 

Bible Archaeology

Ancient Jewish Village Found in the Galilee

By the Samford University team:

An archaeological expedition directed by Samford University religion professor James Riley Strange has uncovered the remains of a Jewish village in the Galilee sector of Israel.

Strange announced the discovery along with fellow directors Mordechai Aviam of the Institute for Galilean Archaeology at the Kinneret Academic College in Israel and David Fiensy of Kentucky Christian University.

The remains include an ancient synagogue, houses and massive evidence of pottery production in the ancient Jewish village of Shikhin, near the ancient Jewish city of Sepphoris (Zippori). The site is important because it teaches about Galilean Jewish village life and its economy at the birth of both Christianity and the Judaism of the Talmud, according to Dr. Strange. The sites are about five miles northwest of Nazareth.

“The site of the discovery has been abandoned, except for agriculture, ever since the mid-fourth century A.D.,” said Strange. “The buildings came down and people used its stones in other nearby buildings, then those buildings were destroyed and the stones were re-used again.”

He and his colleagues worked with a team of college students on the dig. Samford students Jonathan Sansom and Richard Shaw worked on the dig. Aaron Carr, a 2012 Samford graduate who has dug on teams led by Strange since 2009, is a staff member of the dig. Samford alumnus Kay Clements is a volunteer.

Strange has taught archaeology courses at Samford since 2007, and taken Samford students on archaeological expeditions to Galilee since 2009. He and the students have worked at the Shikhin site since 2011.

“We surveyed the site in 2011 and made the first excavation at the site in 2012,” he said.

The excavators noted that the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, mentions Shikhin as one of the earliest Jewish settlements in the Galilee at the time of the Hasmonaean dynasty, which ruled in about 140-63 B.C.. The Talmud mentions it as a village of potters near Sepphoris.

The team was surprised by the large number of molds for making oil lamps (seven) found at the site, proof that the village potters produced various types of oil lamps in addition to many common pottery forms. One small fragment of an oil lamp is decorated with a Menorah and Lulav (palm branch).

The Excavations at Shikhin are part of a cultural heritage project to preserve the site of Shikhin, located at the northern edge of Zippori National Park.

“The remarkable discovery at Shikhin by Dr. James Strange and his collaborators is the fruit of many months of skilled and patient effort,” said Samford provost and executive vice president J. Bradley Creed. “I am particularly grateful that under Dr. Strange’s tutelage, Samford students have been involved in the project which has been a once in a lifetime experience for them and an incredible learning opportunity. This international, cultural heritage project is a boon to the field of archaeology and historic preservation as well as a significant contribution to a richer understanding of human civilization and society.”

For more information on the Shikhin archaeological dig, go to www.samford.edu/shikhin.

HT