Islamic State, or ISIS, militants in Syria seized the ancient city of Palmyra on May 20, expanding their hold in Syria that now encompasses half of the country.
Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, a UN cultural agency, sent out a Tweet today exclaiming, "Palmyra tells us all cultures are linked. There's no pure culture, no point in imposing a single culture on others."
Palmyra is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural, trading, and geographical significance, in large part because of its well preserved Roman era ruins. more >>
JERUSALEM — An outdoor Christian worship event set to be hosted by the Empowered21 Global Congress in Manger Square, Bethlehem on Friday was abruptly cancelled by the Palestinian Authority governor of Bethlehem, Abdel Fattah Hamayel, due to "significant political and religious pressure."
The event, which was supposed to be a time of praise, prayer and preaching focused on the coming of Jesus in Bethlehem, which now forms a part of the West Bank, was initially greenlit by the office of Bethlehem Mayor Vera George Mousa Baboun, according to co-chair of the Empowered21 global Spirit-empowered movement, William Wilson, who is also president of Oral Roberts University.
"We received an official letter from the mayor of Bethlehem's office confirming our event in Manger Square for tomorrow night guaranteeing both space and security. We planned our schedule for this week to honor Shabbat in Israel while at the same time seeking to share God's love with the Palestinian people into tomorrow night's event," explained Wilson in his run-up before breaking the news to thousands of attendees at the Empowered21 Congress at the Jerusalem Pais Arena on Thursday night. more >>
JERUSALEM — George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church (USA) and chairman of the World AG Fellowship, considered the world's largest Pentecostal denomination with more than 67 million adherents, said Wednesday that young people are leaving traditional churches that have "abandoned a belief in the authority of Scripture."
Wood, who also serves as global co-chair of the Empowered21 global Spirit-empowered movement along with William Wilson, president of Oral Roberts University, made his comments during a press conference at the Empowered21 Global Congress that officially opened in spiritual fanfare in Jerusalem, Israel, on Wednesday.
Responding to a question asking how the Empowered21 movement is doing among young people, considering reports that many are moving away from the church in general, Wood explained that it's not the case for Empowered21. more >>
Assyrian Christians fleeing ISIS from Syria who've made it to Beirut, Lebanon, have said that their children were forced to watch beheadings and other atrocities carried out by the Islamic militants. Over 220 Assyrians remain in captivity, with ISIS demanding millions in ransoms, but there's no one who has the ability to pay.
"Our children saw many beheadings," said Jack Zayya, an Assyrian Christian refugee, according to World Crunch. "We were obligated to watch public executions. What kind of world is that for kids to grow up in? They were always scared."
Zayya said that ISIS has destroyed his livelihood back at his hometown of Al-Hasakah in Syria, and has told Christians they must pay taxes to the jihadists or be killed. more >>
JERUSALEM — Two million people once showed up at a worship service to hear her sing live, but for popular Brazilian worship leader Ana Paula Valadao and the global coalition of worship leaders at the Empowered21 Global Congress in Jerusalem this week, nothing behind their magnetic music will be about them. It's always about Jesus, they say, always.
They are perhaps some of the most popular worship leaders you have never heard of, primarily because for a number of them their following comes from Christian believers outside of the United States.
At a practice session for the worship leaders a day before their first public outing together on Wednesday night at the Spirit-empowered event billed "From The Ends Of The Earth" inside the Jerusalem Pais arena, the unassuming Valadao says she's hoping God ruins their plan. more >>
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has called the capture of the key Iraqi city of Ramadi by terror group ISIS "one of the most disgraceful episodes in American history," and slammed President Barack Obama's decisions to withdraw American troops from the country in 2011.
ISIS took control of Ramadi after government and tribal forces retreated from their positions on Sunday, and has reportedly been carrying out mass atrocities in the city – including going door-to-door searching for sympathizers of the government and killing their families.
McCain, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Fox News that the fall of Ramadi, as well as Obama's strategy when it comes to war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, has constituted "one of the most disgraceful episodes in American history." more >>