The first reports of Christian leaders being arrested in Russia following the passing of new anti-terrorism laws that ban evangelism outside of churches have started coming in.
The Moscow Times reports that Sergei Zhuravlyov, a representative of the Ukrainian Reformed Orthodox Church of Christ the Savior, was arrested earlier this month while he was preaching before the St. Petersburg Messianic Jewish community, and was charged with violating a provision of the law that bans illegal missionary activity.
Law enforcement officials later told Interfax news agency that Zhuravlyov is being accused of "fomenting negative attitudes toward the Russian Orthodox Church," and of having ties to the Ukrainian nationalist political party called Right Sector, which is banned in Russia. more >>
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of social media giant Facebook and his wife, Priscilla Chan, met with Roman Catholic leader Pope Francis at the Vatican, and later shared their admiration for the pontiff's "mercy and tenderness" and the way he has connected with people of different faiths.
"Priscilla and I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican. We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he's found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook message on Monday.
"We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don't have it. And we shared our work with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help people around the world," he added. more >>
A 16-year-old German-Moroccan girl was indicted by a German court on Monday on charges of attempted murder and supporting the Islamic State terror group, after she stabbed a police officer in Hannover.
Deutsche Welle reported that the girl, identified only as Safia S., was inspired by the Islamic extremists to carry out a "martyr operation" in Germany, where she lived. The attack on the police officer reportedly occurred on Feb. 26 at a train station, though the officer survived and is recovering from his wounds.
A federal probe into the girl's motives for the attack found that she had "embraced the radical jihadi ideology of the foreign terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria." more >>
Since his big break in the early 2000s, Cristiano Ronaldo had solidified himself as a household name in world football. He may be showing signs of decline in the field due to his age, but the 31-year-old superstar had proved a lot in his years with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Portuguese National Team.
Ronaldo was a former FIFA World Player of the Year, and when the award was renamed into the FIFA Ballon d'Or, he won it twice. He had also broken the 50-goal record six times playing for Real Madrid, and won championships in the UEFA Champions' League and the Spanish La Liga.
Perhaps one of the most prominent successes of the Portuguese star, however, is the wealth he amassed through his skill and popularity—this year reaching a net worth of $375 million. more >>
Some of the top Catholic and Iranian religious leaders in the United States issued a joint statement earlier this week condemning groups such as the Islamic State, saying that Christianity and Islam love life and oppose terrorism.
"The belief in One God unifies Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Serving God requires working for the welfare of all His creatures and the common good of humanity. Religious leaders must provide moral guidance and speak out against injustice and anything that is harmful to humankind," the declaration reads, as found on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"Christianity and Islam share a commitment to love and respect the life, dignity, and welfare of all members of the human community. Both traditions reject transgressions and injustices as reprehensible, and oppose any actions that endanger the life, health, dignity, or welfare of others. We hold a common commitment to peaceful coexistence and mutual respect," the interfaith statement adds. more >>
In a bid to organize the church's records, the Lutheran Church, which is the official religion of state in Norway according to AFP, put up a web page last Monday allowing people to verify their status, allowing them to sign up or deregister.
As of last Friday according to the church, some 15,053 members of the flock opted to leave with the bulk of that number, 10,854, choosing to drop their membership in the church last Monday.
Reacting to the sudden purging of its rolls, Church council leader Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum said in a translation of a statement posted on the church's website that the church would continue to be transparent about its new online system and that it allows members who no longer want to be a part of the church to leave with less hassle. more >>