Articles related to Christians
Catholic parents whose son was killed by a suicide bomber in the 2016 Easter Sunday attack at Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, Pakistan have told Lahore's Archbishop that they have forgiven the man that killed their child. Speaking with Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw said: "After celebrating Holy Mass I went up to a married couple to give them my blessing. "They told me that my homily on mercy and pardon had helped them greatly, since they had lost a son in the attack in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park on Easter Sunday and that they had forgiven the suicide bomber who
Imagine you go to church on Sunday morning, and shortly after the service begins a man sitting in the middle of the congregation detonates a suicide vest. The explosion kills a quarter of the people in the church, and wounds most of the survivors. The walls are peppered with shrapnel, the ceiling is sagging, and the altar and many of the pews are damaged. Then, imagine being one of the walking wounded who returns to the ruins of that church the same day for the evening service. Stoic and determined, the Christians of Nigeria are truly on the front lines, defending their faith through sheer
Church communities and other faith groups are coming together in an act of solidarity with those around the world suffering persecution because of their faith next week. The Red Wednesday event co-ordinated by Aid to the Church in Need will involve lighting up Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in red. Also being floodlit in red on the day - Wednesday, 23rd November - are religious buildings around the country - including Brentwood Cathedral and St John's Wood Synagogue.
Aid to the Church in Need has called on the UK Parliament to support a motion calling on the Government to state that Christians, Yazidis and other minority groups in the Middle East are facing genocide. The charity, which is working closely with Church partners in the region, is asking members of the House of Commons to recognise that the ongoing attacks amount to genocide as defined by international law. ACN UK National Director Neville Kyrke-Smith said: "We strongly urge the Government to put its support behind this
Christians in Diyarbakir, south east Turkey, have requested prayers as legal consultations take place about a state takeover of church buildings and other properties. Diyarbakir has been the centre of fighting between government forces and Kurdish fighters since a peace agreement broke down in June 2015. During most of this time, the small Christian communities of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Turkish Christian converts have been unable to access their church buildings in the city centre.
Lord David Alton of Liverpool has called on the British Government to act without delay and follow the US by declaring Daesh (ISIS) atrocities a genocide against faith minorities. The Crossbench member of the British House of Lords and trustee of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (UK) criticised David Cameron's government for being "in a state of complete denial" about the extremists' violence against Christians, Yazidis and Shiite Muslims. Lord Alton made his comments after US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday
We have received very welcomed but unexpected news today from the United States of America, through Secretary of State John Kerry, acknowledging that ISIS "is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims". This announcement has come after individuals and organisations in the United States, some of which I have personally worked with, have advocated tirelessly to shed light on this important issue of human suffering and the violation of human dignity.
This morning, Wednesday, 24 February, the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief launched its inquiry report on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Pakistan and UK Government policy. The report challenges the Home Office's Country Information and Guidance on Pakistani Christians and Christian converts while also finding that Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus in Pakistan face a real risk of persecution in their encounters with people of other faiths or beliefs. The APPG inquiry's main findings and
On Monday, (15 February) , the Leeds Muslim Youth Group (LMYG) announced #Muslims4Lent, an interfaith campaign aimed at highlighting the commonality between Muslims and Christians around the world. In solidarity with the season of Lent, Muslims from LMYG will be giving up pleasures from their daily lives, in remembrance and respect for the trials and challenges Jesus went through and to demonstrate their commitment to interfaith and the universality of faith. Particular respect and solidarity is held with the Christians of the Focolare Movement and
The Commission of Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has welcomed last week's European Parliament's resolution to recognise the tragic fate of Christians and other minorities as genocide. COMECE sees this as a significant step forward in facilitating measures to prevent the on-going incipient genocide against Christians and other minorities.
Over the weekend of 16-17 January, Turkish troops bombed the Iraqi village of Sharanish, located on the border with Turkey, in the governorate of Dohuk, inhabited by Christians, Chaldeans and Assyrians. The bombings spread panic among the population, who were forced to flee to the city of Zakho during the night, in bitterly cold weather conditions and heavy snow. The Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans, announced what had happened and has strongly condemned the Turkish military action, calling it "totally unjustified."
Tensions between Kurds and Christians have increased in the Syrian region of northeastern Jiazira, and the cities of Qamishli and Hassaké, where large areas of land are in the hands of IS, local church leaders report. On 20 December 20 two restaurants in Qamishli belonging to Christian owners were attacked. Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, head of the Syrian Catholic Archdiocese of Hassaké-Nisibis said: "13 Christians and six Muslims died. No one knows who is behind this attack, but it is believed that it was the Kurds."
Thousands of Christians are fleeing the Syrian town of Sadad, according to a leading bishop, who has warned of advancing Daesh (ISIS) forces. Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh told Aid to the Church in Need that 15,000 people had already fled Sadad and nearby Al-Hafar since last Saturday when the Islamists begun assaults on nearby towns. With the jihadists seizing Maheen, a town less than five miles from Sadad, a vast exodus was underway to towns and cities including Homs, nearly 40 miles south, Zaidal and Fairouzeh.
Fr Jacques Murad, the Syrian priest abducted by ISIS in central Syria five months ago, has been set free, Fides reported this morning. Fr Murad was kidnapped at the same time as around 200 other Christians, in May, two months before jihadists captured Qaryatayn, the Christian-Sunni town where Fr Murad lived and served as prior of the ancient monastery of Mar Elian. Syrian Fr Jihad Youssef from the monastic community of Deir Mar Musa said: "We are grateful to the Lord and give praise to the merciful God for this gift. And we thank all the friends in the world who prayed
The impact of violence, persecution and exodus on Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere will be highlighted in a wide-ranging report due to be released by a leading Catholic charity. Aid to the Church in Need will next week publish Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-15, assessing the situation in 22 countries where there are grave violations of religious freedom including physical attacks, kidnappings and murders.
Pope Francis received in audience Reuven Rivlin, president of the State of Israel on Tuesday. The President later met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher. In a statement the Vatican said: "During the cordial discussions the Parties focused on the political and social situation in the Middle East, affected by several conflicts, with special attention to the condition of Christians and other minority groups.
A committee of the security forces in Iraq has been set up, on the orders of Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi, to collect information about the violence and abuse suffered by Christians in Iraq and in particular in the capital. The committee aims to counter the escalation of kidnappings of Christians and the illegal expropriation of Christian homes. The heads of the Committee have already visited the headquarters of the Chaldean Patriarchate in Baghdad and spoken with Patriarch Louis Raphael I in order to start collecting data and information about the abuses suffered by Christians.
The Christian quarter of Lahore was attacked by a mob after a mentally handicapped man was accused of desecrating the Qur'an. Young Christian man Humayun Faisal Masih was accused of blasphemy after burning some newspaper. According to his accusers the papers contained verses from the Qur'an. Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore described the events of Sunday evening (24th May) to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. He was alerted to the mob's actions at seven o'clock, just after they had blocked the traffic in Sanda, a mainly Christian quarter of Lahore
In 1922 Christians made up 51% of the population of Jerusalem. Now, only 2% of Palestinians are Christian. In "The Spirit of Peace" the theologian Mary Grey explores the decimation of this ancient community, linking it with the recent sectarian cleansing of Christians from Syria, Iraq and Egypt. "They discovered they were invisible," she concludes, "unacknowledged, dismissed, denounced or forgotten by fellow Christians throughout the world, especially in the United States." Yet, Grey also puts their suffering in the wider context of the Palestinian people, whom, she believes, have endured a terrible
The Iraqi government has announced the creation of a joint Iraqi-Kurdish task force to start military operations aimed at freeing Mosul and Nineveh province, currently under the control of IS/Daish. The plan was agreed during a summit meeting in Erbil attended by Itaqi and Kurdish government ministers. Iraqi media also reported that the US ambassador in Iraq, Stuart E Jones also took part. Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi pledged that Iraq will commit its army in the liberation of the province of Nineveh,
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, has gone to Iraq this weekend to visit Christians refugees forced to flee ISIS/Daish. The Cardinal will be in in Erbil from Saturday to Monday Monday, April 11-13, to express the solidarity of Christians in England and Wales with refugees. In a statement, the Church said the initiative is a sign of "solidarity with the tens of thousands of Christian refugees driven from their homes and off their land by ISIS last year from Mosul." During his Easter Vigil homily, Cardinal Nichols reflected on the desperate plight of the refugees,
The Syrian refugee crisis - now totaling nearly four million refugees- has reached a "tipping point," in which countries in the region are no longer able to handle the flow of refugees across their borders, warns US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officials who recently traveled to the Middle East. "Without more international support, we will find Syrians fleeing extremists being turned away and forced back to danger," said Anastasia Brown, interim executive director for USCCB's Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). "The global community, led by Europe and the United States, needs to increase its support in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis."
Extremist terror group Islamic State has attacked Christian villages in north-east Syria. The assault took place yesterday (Monday, 23rd February) targeting Assyrian villages in the Khabour region of Syria’s Hassake governorate. Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana spoke to a contact in Hassake city where around 400 families have fled following the advance of IS. “Bishop Mar Aprem Athniel… told me the church and community hall are overloaded with the people and they are now [sending] them to the families in Hassake city.”
The leaders of Iraq’s Christians have called on the United Nations to urgently address the growing refugee crisis before a freezing winter forces displaced Christians to leave the country. “We Christians in Iraq have a future if the international community gives us immediate assistance. Don’t forget us,” Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako told a conference at the UN in Geneva. The patriarch told the delegates that “People are disappointed how little help has been received to date.” He was addressing a conference
Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom issued the following statement on 10 September regarding the need for collaboration to address violations of international religious freedom in Iraq, Syria and the wider Middle East. The widespread brutality facing Christians and minorities in the Middle East is intensifying, and gross violations of the God-given right and freedom to practice Faith and belief, as protected by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is increasingly experienced by them in their homelands.
CAFOD has joined leading Muslim charities – including Muslim Aid, Muslim Charities Forum and Islamic Help – to launch an urgent call for an end to the horrific suffering in Iraq. In a joint statement, also signed by the Act Alliance and World Vision, the agencies described the suffering of minorities, including Christians, Yazidis and Turkmens, as “unacceptable” and "despicable". CAFOD’s Alan Thomlinson said: “People of all faiths are appalled by the wave of attacks in Iraq that has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and in desperate need.
The President of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga SDB has written a letter to Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako and to the President of Caritas Iraq, Bishop Shlemon Warduni to express his concern for the safety of their communities and for the wellbeing of “all the people of Iraq.” Alarmed at the “atrocities” being committed by Islamic State militants against minority Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, Shabaks, Madaeans, and others, Cardinal Maradiaga observed with dismay “the massive displacement of 1.2 million people,
Pax Christi Member Organisations in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany,I ndia, Italy, New Zealand, the UK and the United States have sent letters to their Ministers of Foreign Affairs calling for an immediate action t safeguard the right of life of all vulnerable populations in Northern Iraq. The news coming from the country is horrendous: thousands of people, mostly minority groups including Christians, Yazidis, Shabak and Turkmen have been brutally driven from their homes; innocent children, women and men are suffering violence of every kind.
The Jesuits in Britain have joined the Holy Father’s prayers for peace in Iraq. Pope Francis has appealed on several occasions over the past few weeks for violence to stop and has urged the Church to intercede for a peaceful solution to the fighting in the Middle East, most recently at last Sunday's Angelus. Fr Dermot Preston SJ, the Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, says that the Pope has expressed his deep concern at the situation in this region of the world and has expressed his “spiritual closeness” to those who are suffering.
Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been released today and is now with his brother Gao Zhiyi, according to unconfirmed reports. In July, Shaya Prison, where Gao was being held, informed Gao’s brother that he would be released on 7 August, but did not provide any further information. Reports on social media suggest that Gao has been released on time and has been collected by his brother. However, it is not clear whether there are any conditions on his release and whether he will be subject to further restrictions on his freedom.
Where are the voices of the international community and our Church leaders about the plight of our brothers and sisters in faith and also others of faith and good will in Iraq? The reporting of what is going on is sporadic and never makes any front page. The silence of the world and let it be said, of many Church leaders, is almost deafening except for the few. The situation there in one of horror and as local Bishops and other leaders have said, this violence, and it is violence of a horrendous kind will, unless it is stopped, spread throughout the whole Middle East.
Less than two weeks before Pope Francis visits the Holy Land, Patriarch Fouad Twal has spoken out against the growing number of 'Price Tag' attacks on Christians, Muslims and Druze in Israel and urged the government to act. At a press conference in Haifa on Sunday, he said: "All of you are well aware of the recent acts of vandalism against Christians, Muslims and Druze. There has been a marked increase of “price tag” provocations within Israel. "This wave of extremist actions of terror, are surely of grave concern to all reasonable persons.
Christians living in the Laotian village of Natahall in Phin district, in the province of Savannakhet are struggling hard to defend the constitutionally guaranteed right to profess the Christian faith, and the right of property with regards to their homes. Eight Christian families in the village, after a campaign of intimidation and violence that has been going on for over three months, have appealed to the leaders of the Religious Affairs Office of the District of Phin, but have received no reply.
A large group of Muslim extremists has destroyed a church that was under construction in Okara, Punjab Pakistan. The walls of the church had been completed, on land donated by a local Christian resident, Akber Masih. When a cross was placed in front of the main gate of the small construction yard a mob arrived with bulldozers and demolished the building. The faithful filed a complaint to the police, but the NGO 'Sharing Life Ministries Pakistan', said the perpetrators have not been arrested - thanks to the political influence they have.
Archbishop Joseph E Kurtz of Louisville, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Richard E Pates of Des Moines, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, hailed efforts of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “We are acutely aware of the difficulties of the quest for a lasting and just peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” the bishops said in a March 12 letter to President Obama.
After a suspension of about 10 weeks, because of clashes which rocked the country following the deposition of Islamist President Morsi, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II yesterday returned to appear in public at the traditional meeting of prayer and catechesis held every Wednesday afternoon at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo. In his preaching - held in conjunction with the Coptic New Year - the first day of the year according to the ancient Egyptian calendar – Pope Tawadros made clear reference to the Coptic Christians who were killed
A graphic account of the deepening human suffering and violence in Syria has come from a priest ministering to people in one of the areas worst affected by the conflict. In a report describing the devastated city of Homs and the surrounding area, the priest details his desperate struggle to provide basic food, shelter and medicine to more than 30,000 people fleeing violence amid ongoing bomb blasts and other violence. The priest, who cannot be named for security reasons, explains how the people are being helped at a centre funded by Aid to the Church in Need,
Life in Syria has become so dangerous for Christians in Syria, that they are faced with the choice of trying to leave - in itself a very difficult course of action, or being killed. That's the view of the Maronite archbishop of Damascus, Samir Nassar. The Archbishop said defenceless civilians, both Christians and Muslims, are being killed each day by bombs, car bombs, snipers, lack of medical care (223 hospitals were closed and all doctors are fleeing, explains Mgr Nassar), malnutrition, and lack of adequate food for diabetics, heart patients and nursing staff.
As a big Cliff Richards fan - I was thrilled to see him sing at World Youth Day in Germany in 2005 - where Pope Benedict came too - I am very sorry to hear that he is just going to sing in Tel Aviv in Israel - where there are very few Christians. If he is going to go to the Holy Land he MUST be a peacemaker and go to Bethlehem - the birthplace of Jesus and home to descendants of the first Christians - who are all Palestinian.
There has been a 20 per cent decline in the number of Christians in the UK over the past ten years, according to new census figures released today by the Office for National Statistics - based on data from 26 million households. Some 59 percent of residents said they were Christian, compared with 72 percent in 2001. A quarter said they had no religion, up from 15 percent a decade earlier. Responding to the news, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said: “The overall decrease in the number of self-identifying Christians is consistent
Christians in Syria have not been taking part in the fighting, but they are very afraid of the future. A Christian priest told MISNA: “Most Christians have left Homs because they are afraid of the bombs and rocket fire." He added that western media has given the impression that "suddenly the Syrian government has gone crazy and started to attack its people simply
The Nigerian Christians from indigenous tribes in the state of Yobe are terrified and are preparing to abandon their ancestral territories, because of threats and violence from Islamic militia group 'Boko Haram'. Fides reports. Sources in Nigeria say: "the population of the North is in a panic and insecurity after the expiry of the ultimatum launched by the
Dr Bernard Sabella, the prominent Palestinian Christian and former Professor of Sociology at Bethlehem University, will address a gathering of political and church leaders on Wednesday 18 May at the House of Lords... Dr Sabella has written: "Jesus came in peace and spoke peace, but what do we do with our greetings of peace in the Holy Land?
For Christians, Holy Week in Jerusalem has a special spiritual connection. The Old City, its gates and roads, the Mount of Olives, Via Dolorosa and the Holy Sepulchre Church, where pilgrims from all over the world journey to, are equally important to the Palestinian Christians of Gaza and the West Bank, who want to join their Christian brethren in Jerusalem, for the liturgical events leading to the holiest celebration in Christianity.
At noon yesterday, about 350 people gathered in front of parliament demonstrating against the massacre which took place on 31 October, in Baghdad at the Our Lady of Deliverance Cathedral, the Seat of the Syriac Bishop of Baghdad. The demonstrators were asking that the British government condemns the attack and to put pressure on the Iraqi government to afford more protection to the Iraqi Christians living in Iraq.
The most senior Catholic leader in the Middle East has said the future of the Church in the Holy Land is now in doubt unless fellow Christians around the world step up efforts to help them. Patriarch Fouad Twal said: "It seems that politicians are more afraid of peace than of war and they prefer to manage the conflict rather than solve it."