Pic of the Day: Brave Priest

An Orthodox Priest tries to stop the violence as protests in Kiev, Ukraine, turn deadly.

This is the stuff Priests are made of! Definitely my pic of the day!

NY Daily News:

The priests braved bullets and walked into no-man’s land between pro-European Union integration protesters and President Viktor Yanukovych’s riot police. ‘I’m here to placate the violence,’ an Orthodox priest said.

More photos there.

‘Blessed are the peacemakers…’ (Matt 5:9).



Muslims in Zanzibar Throw Acid in the Face of a Priest

The BBC:

A Roman Catholic priest in Zanzibar has received treatment in hospital after attackers threw acid at him on a street in the island’s capital, police say.

Elderly priest Joseph Anselmo Mwagambwa was attacked as he was leaving an internet cafe in the island’s old town.

It follows a similar attack on two young British women there last month.

Tensions between the majority Muslim population and Christians have been on the increase in recent years, as well as on mainland Tanzania.

“He sustained burns in his face and shoulders. The acid burnt through his shirt,” Zanzibar police spokesman Mohamed Mhina told Reuters.

Tanzanian police say they are searching for witnesses to the attack which occurred in the old part of Zanzibar City, Stone Town, on Friday afternoon.

Tourism is a key source of revenue, with some 200,000 visitors to Zanzibar last year

It is the latest in a series of assaults on religious figures in the country and the fifth acid attack since November, when a Muslim cleric was hospitalised with acid burns.

In a sign of further tension, a Catholic priest was shot dead in February.

The attack on the British girls in August occurred in the same part of Stone Town.

Zanzibar’s President Ali Mohammed Shein said the assault had “brought chaos and confusion to our country and outside”.

Zanzibari officials offered a £4,000 ($6,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

A popular tourist destination, the acid attacks came as a shock to many residents of Zanzibar who say attacks on foreign travellers are rare.

Police say no suspects have been arrested over the attack on the priest.



Egypt’s Cruellest Week

The police lieutenant put his boots up on the desk and casually reloaded his machine gun. “The problem is,” he said, nodding at a television that was live-broadcasting the siege of a nearby mosque, “these people are terrorists.”

It was mid-afternoon last Saturday, and for nearly 24 hours, the lieutenant’s colleagues in the police and army had surrounded the al-Fath mosque in central Cairo, inside which were hiding a few hundred supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. On screen, it seemed like it was the soldiers doing the terrorising. But for the lieutenant, the terrorists were the ones on the inside. They had bombs, the policeman said: they deserved what they got. And a mob of locals agreed. “The police and the people,” chanted a crowd that had gathered to lynch the fugitives as they exited the mosque, “are one hand.”

It was a wretched scene – but one that has become familiar in Egypt…

Read on here.



Violence Escalating Against Christian Churches in Egypt


Islamic zealots attacked 23 Christian churches in Cairo and surrounding regions on August 14, as violence spread after the Egyptian police cleared out camps of protesters supporting the ousted Morsi government.

Father Rafic Greiche, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, said that 7 Catholic churches had been attacked, as well as 15 Coptic Orthodox churches and one Protestant church. Last week Father Greiche said that Egyptian Christians are living in fear because of Islamic violence; he has criticized the Western media for its failure to report the attacks on Christians.

The violence directed against Christian targets reflects the belief—widely held by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood—that Christians in Egypt conspired to bring down the Morsi government…


Bible Archaeology

Israeli Shot and Killed Near Western Wall

Reuters has the breaking news:

A security guard shot and  killed an Israeli man on Friday at one of Judaism’s holiest  sites in Jerusalem, the Western Wall, which was immediately shut  to visitors, police said.

The guard opened fire after the man, in an adjacent  restroom, was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is  greatest”, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld said the guard opened fire with his pistol because  he suspected the man was a Palestinian militant. “The fact he  shouted Allahu Akbar, that seems to be why the security guard  drew his weapon and fired a number of shots at him,” he said.

The incident occurred in one of Jerusalem’s most sensitive  areas. The Western Wall is one of Judaism’s holiest sites and a  place where thousands worship each week.

The plaza where the wall is located is next to the Temple  Mount, revered by Jews as the place where two biblical temples  stood, and the site of Islam’s third holiest mosque, al-Aqsa.

ynet news adds:

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch expressed deep sorrow over the death of a Jewish man who was shot by a security guard in the Western Wall Plaza’s public toilet. The rabbi said he has confidence in the police and added, “regardless of the circumstances, such a case is a terrible tragedy.”



Man Shot in the Head at Mass

In the Huffington Post:

A 35-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of walking into a Catholic church and shooting his father-in-law in the back of the head during Mass.

Charles Richard Jennings Jr., 35, was captured Sunday afternoon in nearby Box Elder County after fleeing in a stolen pickup truck, investigators said.

Witnesses say they heard one gunshot during the 11:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday at Saint James the Just Catholic Church in Ogden, and that parishioners immediately hit the floor.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition. His name wasn’t immediately released.

Police said the victim was deliberately targeted by the gunman and it wasn’t a random act of violence.

“We don’t know the motive,” Ogden police Lt. Danielle Croyle told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It is a domestic violence-related incident.”

Parishioner Rebecca Ory Hernandez said the congregation was told by a priest that the suspect and his wife had been involved in domestic disputes.

Hernandez was sitting close to the victim when the shooting occurred, she said.

“The guy walked up to his father-in-law and shot him point blank in the head,” Hernandez told Ogden’s Standard-Examiner. “Then I ran over to the victim and pulled my scarf off and put it around his head.

“He was pretty calm. There was so much blood … People were in shock and some people were passing out. We have some military guys in our parish and they ran out after the guy,” she added.

Parishioner Leon Bedford said the victim was sitting in a back pew with his wife when their daughter and son-in-law walked in holding hands as the congregation started saying a prayer.

“Oh, it’s obvious it was well planned out,” Bedford told the Standard-Examiner. “They came into the church hand in hand, and he walked right up to (the victim) and pulled that trigger. We just hope and pray that he makes it.”

Jennings is accused of stealing the truck at gunpoint from a nearby resident after fleeing the church. He was booked on charges of attempted aggravated criminal homicide and aggravated robbery.

Further details about the shooting will not be released until a news conference Monday morning at McKay-Dee Hospital, officials said.

A family spokesperson and a police representative will be on hand to discuss the case and status of the victim, hospital spokesman Chris Dallin said.



Anglican Row Turns Violent

The Herald Online reports on more trouble in Mugabeland:

A Priest aligned to Bishop Chad Gandiya’s Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa was yesterday seriously injured after being struck with a brick by supporters of Archbishop Nolbert

Kunonga during an eviction at the Tafara Anglican Church in Harare. The attack comes amid calls by various church leaders for the feuding bishops to observe peace towards each other.

Police spokesman Superintendent Andrew Phiri said Reverend Naboth Manzongo sustained a deep cut on the forehead after being struck with brick during the eviction of Archbishop Kunonga’s Rev Teddy Mukariri.

Police said Rev Manzongo was rushed to Parirenyatwa Hospital for treatment. “No arrests have been made yet, but the assailants are known. We are still investigating the matter,” said Supt Phiri.

Five men aligned to Archbishop Kunonga reportedly manhandled the deputy sheriff during the eviction of a priest from an Anglican house.

Evictions resumed yesterday in various parts of Harare, despite ACPZ’s pending urgent chamber application.

An assistant to the deputy sheriff was pushed and shoved while carrying out his duties before being denied entry into Number 101 Central Avenue where Reverend Tendai Mutongomanye, a son-in-law to Archbishop Kunonga, stayed.

Rev Mutongomanye’s wife is the one who operated a crèche at the Anglican Cathedral. At the time of the eviction, Rev Mutongomanye was not present.

The gang locked up the gate and denied the deputy sheriff’s team access to the premises. This prompted the team to seek police reinforcement. When the police reaction group arrived, a group of violent youths jumped over the precast wall and fled.

Police scaled over the gate and caught up with the elderly Rev Mukariri who had remained inside the house.

There was drama at the house as the elderly reverend clashed with the police. He denied ever possessing keys to the gate and other rooms, despite relaxing alone in the house.

Rev Mukariri shouted at the police and refused to leave until they dragged him out. The priest refused to board the police van, prompting policemen to lift him up and throw him at the back of the vehicle.

Rev Mukariri, who was always on his mobile phone communicating to different people about the police actions, threatened to report the officers to their seniors.

“You cannot do that to me. I am a priest and again I am much older than you are. I am old enough to be your grandfather.

“I will report you to your bosses. You do not know me,” said Rev Mukariri. He remained in the truck under police guard until the process was completed.

The police later dropped him off along Samora Machel Avenue as they proceeded to another church property at Number 123 Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.

Evictions were effected in most parts of the city with limited resistance…

Read on here.