A church made entirely from ice located at Balea Lac resort in the remote Fagaras mountains in Romania was recently blessed by priests who represent the various Christian denominations in that country.
This ice church is only reachable by cable car and is located at an altitude of 2,000 meters or 6,600 feet. The water that was taken from Balea Lake, which is northwest of Bucharest, was blessed by priests and chunks of ice were cut with a chain saw and cemented together with water and snow to make the church.
The design for it was taken from an old church in Transylvania. It measures in at 6 meters tall, 14 meters long and 7 meters wide. The structure appears to be one that will be used by all denominations as Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant clerics all held some type of service there this week. more >>
The construction of Cuba's first Roman Catholic Church since 1959 is set to begin in the village of Sandino in the province of Pinar del Rio. Cuba has recently experienced warming ties both with the U.S. and the Vatican.
"There is money to begin, building materials to begin, and we have the permissions to start, so everything is ready," said Jorge Enrique Serpa Pérez, the bishop of Pinar del Río, according to Breitbart News.
It is a significant development in the largely Catholic country, which had exiled and jailed a number of priests belonging to the Vatican following the 1959 Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro's rise in power. more >>
In a move that many onlookers saw as inevitable, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland this week formally asked its embattled Bishop Suffragan, Heather Cook, to resign from her post in light of ongoing criminal proceedings launched against her by local authorities for the fatal DUI incident that took the life of 41-year-old married father of two, Thomas Palermo.
"At our meeting on January 22, 2015, we, the members of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, agreed unanimously that you are no longer able to function effectively in the position of Bishop Suffragan given recent events. Therefore, we respectfully call for your immediate resignation from the position of Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Maryland," noted a one-page letter from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.
"The Standing Committee arrived at this decision after significant and prayerful discernment, and with due and proper consideration for the best interests of the diocese and its people. We continue to hold you in our prayers," the letter ended. more >>
A new Vatican document has condemned elective plastic surgery on women, calling it "aggressive toward the feminine identity."
Vanity-motivated procedures such as breast implant surgeries and tummy tucks are "manipulations of the body that explore its limits with respect to the concept of identity," write the authors of the document titled "Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference."
According to the report, one woman told the authors that "plastic surgery is like a burqa made of flesh." A burqa is a traditional outer garment often worn by some Muslim women in public to conceal the body. more >>
Stan Mitchell, pastor of Gracepointe Church, a diverse congregation in Franklin, Tennessee, announced this month that the leadership of his church have decided to fully support the inclusion of gays in their church, including the right to marry same-sex partners.
In an emotional sermon on Jan. 11 first highlighted by Time magazine, Mitchell explained that the decision was the result of a two- and-a-half year evolution on sexual orientation and gender identity. The announcement in the video below, begins at 44:40.
"Some two- and-a-half years ago, we were thrust, I believe, by a divine wind into a prayerful, mindful, painful, invigorating, careful, and hopeful conversation regarding sexual orientation and gender identity," explained Mitchell in the run-up to the announcement to his congregation. more >>
Influential megachurch Pastor Rick Warren and 49 other Catholic and Evangelical scholars and intellectuals have signed their names to an eight-page declaration that opposes society's growing acceptance of same-sex marriages and labels homosexual unions as a "graver threat" to marriage than widespread divorce and cohabitation because it is a parody of marriage.
The declaration entitled "The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage" was written by the alliance called Evangelicals and Catholics Together and is set to be published in the March edition of the religion journal First Things.
Although the Catholics and Evangelicals involved in the writing of this overarching declaration against sexual sin still hold differences when it comes to the legitimacy of divorce and use of contraception, their differences were set aside as they focused on tackling what they consider to be the biggest problem facing marriage in society today. more >>