Church

Russia Fights for Christianity in Syria, the US Fights Against It

So says the American Orthodox Institute:

Russian President Vladmir Putin and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kyrill

The everyday signs in America show a growing contempt for Christianity. The exact opposite trend is happening for Russia and its leaders—a return to Christian roots.

Read on here.

 

Advertisements
Culture

Confused About Syria? Who’s Fighting and Why

Tens of thousands are still fleeing this ancient part of the world.

Aleteia:

Syria is a country of mountains, deserts and fertile plains, bordering Lebanon, the Mediterranean Sea, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. The country is largely populated by Sunni Muslims, but is also home to many other ethnic and religious groups: Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, and Circassians, Christians, Shiites, Alawites, Druze, Mandeans, Salafis, and Yazidis.

The war in Syria has killed over 250,000 people and displaced over 12 million. Just today, tens of thousands are reported to be fleeing Aleppo with just the clothes on their backs, due to a  government offensive on rebel-held areas south of the city.

Although it began as a civil war, it has become much more and divided much of the Middle East, drawing in the United States and Russia. To better understand how Syria arrived to where it is today, Vox put together this simple video.


 

Church

Episcopalians Continue Bleeding…

… Attendance at alarming rate:

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is leaving office this month after a tumultuous nine years in office that saw significant conflict and numerical decline in the oldline church.

Statistics released this week by the denomination’s Office of Diocesan and Congregational Ministries indicate that Jefferts Schori is leaving her successor, Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry, with decline that is steepening rather than tapering off.

The church’s domestic U.S. membership dropped 2.7 percent from a reported 1,866,758 members in 2013 to 1,817,004 in 2014, a loss of 49,794 persons. Attendance took an even steeper hit, with the average number of Sunday worshipers dropping from 623,691 in 2013 to 600,411 in 2014, a decline of 23,280 persons in the pews, down 3.7 percent.

Virtue Online has more here.

Church

Pope Francis Addressed the U.S. Congress Today

And you can read or listen to his full address here.

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face…

Pope Francis addressing the U.S. Congress - AP

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.