Church

The Surprising Rise of Christianity in Russia

Mystic Post with an interesting read for a Sunday afternoon:

With America clearly in mind, Vladimir Putin recently declared: “In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered. They’re now requiring not only the proper acknowledgment of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgment of the equality of good and evil.” Putin believes in sin and that morality is not a relative moving target that is determined by the dominate culture of the time. In Putin’s world – his Christian world – there are consequences to moral behavior – there is a right and a wrong.

Putin’s words on faith have surprised the world…

Read on here.

 

Church

Crematorium Cross Removed to Avoid Offending Non-religious Visitors

Critics have described the decision to remove the cross from view at the crematorium in Lancashire as ‘political correctness gone mad’…

Political correctness gone mad indeed:

The replacement cross at Accrington Crematorium

A parish is in uproar after a crematorium’s cross was taken down and stuffed in a cupboard to avoid offending non-religious visitors.

Around 40 per cent of funeral services held the crematorium are non-Christian so it was decided that the cross should be kept in a storage cupboard rather than behind the alter.

It will be brought out of the cupboard and put up on the wall for services at Accrington Crematorium in Burnley, Lancashire, only when requested…

Read on here.

Truly:

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

– 1 Cor. 1:18 (NLT)

Church

Will Russia’s ‘holy war’ save Syria’s Christians?

In the Catholic Herald:

Vladimir Putin has outfoxed the West in the Middle East
(AP)

The war in Syria has taken a significant turn these past few months, with the migrant crisis and the intervention of Russia. Even a few months ago one might have expected Bashar al-Assad’s downfall, and two years ago one would have bet the house on it.

Now, with the refugee crisis seriously threatening Europe’s governments and the almost comic ineffectiveness of American-trained Syrian rebels, Western leaders seem resigned to accepting Russian’s involvement and some sort of truce that allows Assad to stay.

Whatever one thinks of Vladimir Putin, he has certainly outplayed Barack Obama in Syria…

Read on here.

Church

Middle East Patriarchs Meet Diplomats : Call for Wiping Out Terrorists

Via OCP News:

BEIRUT (CNS) — Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of the Middle East denounced attacks on Christians and called upon the international community to work toward eradicating terrorist groups.
The patriarchs met Aug. 27 at the Maronite Catholic patriarchate at Bkerke, north of Beirut, for a special summit to address the crisis in the region. They were later joined by the United Nations’ special coordinator in Lebanon and the ambassadors of the five permanent member-countries of the U.N. Security Council.
“The very existence of Christians is at stake in several Arab countries — notably in Iraq, Syria and Egypt — where they have been exposed to heinous crimes, forcing them to flee,” the patriarchs said in a statement after the summit and meeting with diplomats.
They lamented the indifference of both Islamic authorities and the international community over attacks against Christians, who have been in the region for 2,000 years.
“What is painful is the absence of a stance by Islamic authorities, and the international community has not adopted a strict stance either,” the patriarchs said.
“We call for issuing a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) that forbids attacks against others,” they said.
“The international community cannot keep silent about the existence of the so-called ISIS,” the patriarchs said, referring to the Islamic State. “They should put an end to all extremist terrorist groups and criminalize aggression against Christians and their properties.”
The prelates’ meeting was a follow-up to their first summit Aug. 7. It also follows a trip by several of them to Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region, to give moral and spiritual support to the flood of Iraqi minorities driven from the Ninevah Plain by the Islamic State militants.
The prelates stressed the need for cutting off the sources of terrorism and called on the world’s major powers to deprive extremist groups of resources by compelling countries financing them to stop their support.
Solutions to the Islamic State crisis must involve “dealing with the reasons that produced the miseries in the Middle East,” and harmony must be restored between the components of these countries, they said.
“The international community must act and eradicate” the Islamic State, the patriarchs said. “This is required from the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council.”
“We must stop using extremists, terrorists and mercenaries and (stop) supporting, financing and arming them,” they said.
They also stressed “the necessity of working to liberate the towns of Ninevah and facilitate the return of the displaced to their homes, in addition to ensuring the security of these towns with local and international guarantees to prevent displacement.”
The patriarchs denounced the “bleeding” that continues in Syria and said the conflict there must be solved by “dialogue and through a political solution.” They criticized the international community for not resolving the April 2013 kidnapping of two Orthodox bishops in Syria.
The prelates applauded the region’s Christians, who “are committed to the values of the Gospel and the teachings of Christ” exemplified in their relationships with others, “including their Muslim brothers, who live with them in the same nations.”

Read on here.

 

Church

California Persecuting Christians

(One News Now) – Romanian Christians are familiar with persecution in their home country but they didn’t expect to encounter it in America.

The Holy Resurrection Romanian Orthodox Church struggled to find a place to worship in California. After finding a place in the Rio Linda area of Sacramento, church members discovered their biggest stumbling block is city government.

Brad Dacus, founder of Pacific Justice Institute, says one reason Sacramento gave for refusing permission was the location was near a bar, so the location might not be compatible with the neighborhood.

“Another reason given was that they said there were too many churches already,” says Dacus, whose law firm is representing the church. “You know, it’s not the business of government to dictate how many churches we need.”

Church members were shocked at the city’s attitude and observed that it reminded them of the hostilities they experienced in Romania, which had been ruled under Communism for almost 30 years during the Cold War.

The country’s most infamous leader was Nicolae Ceausescu, whose reign of terror included spying on and imprisoning churchgoers.

Dacus explains: “They recognized clear similarities of the hostility that they had experienced in Romania, being persecuted as Christians, and they were having some of the same kind of resistance to be able to have a place to worship here in the United States.”

The law firm reported in a press release that PJI attorney Kevin Snider spoke on the church’s behalf at a planning commission meeting, where a 5-0 vote approved the church’s plans

Source.

Religion

Hamas Has Chosen Death: Israel Is Trying To Choose Life

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis in the Telegraph.

I welcome the much needed ceasefire in Gaza and pray that it will lead to a lasting, long-term resolution of a bitter and tragic conflict.

However, the prospect of a lasting cessation of hostilities between a Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel will only be achieved if root causes of the conflict are fully addressed.

What we have witnessed in Gaza is not a conflict between Israel and the Palestinians but a war between Israel and Hamas – a ruthless terrorist organisation.

Within the last month alone, Hamas has fired over 3,000 missiles at population centres in Israel. In its deep-rooted desire to murder and cause maximum damage, Hamas does not distinguish between Jew, Muslim and Christian, so hell-bent is it on killing Israelis…

Rest here.