The World Christian Forum (WCF) expressed its anxiety over the recent attacks targeting Copts in Egypt, stressing that such acts reflect sectarian incitement that could lead to dire consequences.
The forum clarified its final statement during a recent meeting in Amman, Jordan. The participants discussed the current situations of their churches, including the need to develop relations with each other as well as with the citizens of their countries.
WCF also discussed the current environment in the region, which poses a serious threat against to religious minorities. more >>
Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Boutros el-Rai expressed concern on the situation of Christians in Syria and the increasing number of displaced Syrians living in Lebanon.
During his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris Tuesday, Patriarch Rahi said a large number of Orthodox Christians- about 60 percent of those displaced- had left Syria, and that the solution there must be political. Patriarch Rahi stressed that President Bashar el-Assad is not worse than those who are fighting in Syria.
"[France] is committed to stability of Lebanon and political harmony among all components of the Lebanese community in order to preserve civil peace and national unity," President Hollande said in a statement. more >>
Archaeologists in Israel have announced the discovery of a 1,500-year-old lantern adorned with crosses and a wine press. The rare items offer more insight into life during the Byzantine period.
The Israel Antiquities Authority, an independent governmental authority, said this week that archaeologists have unearthed rare items found in the ruins of a Byzantine settlement near the city of Ashkelon, a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, about 31 miles south of Tel Aviv, and 8 miles north of the border with the Gaza Strip.
The Christian lantern is significant because of the rarity of such items, The Associated Press quoted Archaeologist Saar Ganor as saying. It was carved in a way that when lit, glowing crosses were projected on walls of a room. more >>
Archaeologists from Manchester University in England have made an exciting discovery near the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq, home of the biblical Abraham, unearthing a large complex that could have been used for religious gatherings.
"This is a breathtaking find," said Professor Stuart Campbell, the leader of the university's Archaeology Department. What is remarkable about the sprawling complex, the team said in a statement, is that it extends 260 feet on each side, which is roughly the size of a football field.
"We provisionally date the site to around 2,000 B.C., the time of the sack of the city and the fall of the last Sumerian royal dynasty," Campbell told The Associated Press. "The surrounding countryside, now arid and desolate, was the birthplace of cities and of civilization about 5,000 years ago and home to the Sumerians and the later Babylonians." more >>
The Ambassador for Human Rights of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, has challenged the media, governments, and churches to take a serious interest in the fate of the Christians being chased from their homes in Syria. He noted, "I know that many people in Syria are suffering, but Christians are seeing a repetition of the situation in Iraq, that they are largely wiped out between the opposing fronts, and once their survivors are driven out, they seldom have the opportunity to return."
The mass exodus of the 2.3 million Christians from Syria is not a secondary matter. Of the previous 60,000 Christians in Homs, less than 1,000 remain. Christians are being killed and tortured while their women are being raped and their churches destroyed.
Schirrmacher explains that the rebels see Christians as supporters of Assad, while Assad's loyalists do not trust Christians. Repeatedly refugees report that "terrorists" with green or black headbands beat up Christians and destroy their property while announcing that a similar fate awaits Christians who do not soon flee to other countries. more >>
Secretary of State John Kerry confronted Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for continuing to grant Iran access to its airspace, warning that Baghdad's behavior was raising questions about its reliability as a partner.
"I made it very clear that for those of us who are engaged in an effort to see [Syria's embattled] President Assad step down and to see a democratic process take hold … anything that supports President Assad is problematic," The Associated Press quoted Kerry as saying at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad after meeting with Maliki at his office.
"And I made it very clear to the Prime Minister that the overflights from Iran are, in fact, helping to sustain President Assad and his regime," Kerry said, adding he and Maliki had "a very spirited discussion" on the Iranian flights, which Washington believe is ferrying weapons and fighters intended for the Syrian government. more >>