A minor, accidental fire broke out at a church in Bethlehem on Tuesday at the place where Christians believe Jesus was born.
Father Ibrahim Faltas, an official at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, told The Associated Press that the fire was accidentally started Tuesday when a candle ignited curtains in the church's grotto. Although the fire was quickly put out, there was reportedly some smoke damage to the walls. The grotto is believed to be the area where Jesus was born, and the church is built over the holy location.
"The curtains around the grotto caught fire from a candle and that is all that happened," Father Faltas told The Associated Press, adding "It was not arson." more >>
Pope Francis wrapped up his visit to the Middle East by making final stops in Bethlehem and Israel on Sunday and Monday, paying a special surprise visit to the Wall of Bethlehem that separates Israel from the West Bank and offering quick prayer while at the wall.
Francis reportedly stopped at the wall for four minutes, leaning his head in to touch the stone on the wall next to a graffiti message that read "Free Palestine." He also placed his hand on the wall to pray during the unexpected stop.
The wall, also known as the Israeli West Bank barrier, was built by Israel to separate itself from the West Bank and the Palestinian population. Father Federico Lombardi, a spokesperson for the Vatican, told The Guardian that even members of Francis' own entourage were unaware that the Pope would make his stop at the separation wall. more >>
WASHINGTON – The father of United States Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has stated that he considers religion and government "interrelated."
At an event sponsored by the Family Research Council and featuring various notable conservative Christian leaders, Pastor Rafael Cruz told The Christian Post that religion and politics are connected. Cruz compared the fate of the United States to that of Ancient Israel when it came to the relationship between religious belief and public policy.
"When Judah had a righteous king or Israel had a righteous king, the whole country followed the Lord. When Israel or Judah had a wicked king, the whole country went to idolatry," said Cruz. more >>
Orthodox Jews gathered at the site of the Christian Last Supper near Jerusalem on Monday ahead of a visit by Pope Francis, arguing that allowing Christians to worship at the site violates their beliefs.
Pope Francis is expected to hold a mass at the Last Supper site, known as the "Upper Room" on Mount Zion, when he visits Jerusalem from May 24-26. About 200 ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered near the site on Monday to protest Francis' planned mass, arguing that allowing the Vatican to hold a Catholic mass there denigrates the Jewish religion. Jews regard the site as being the Tomb of King David, as well as the site of a 16th Century mosque.
I recently chose to go to Jerusalem for Holocaust Remembrance Day.
I was among a small delegation of "Christian Friends of Yad Veshem" who were there to pledge anew our commitment to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are left in the annals of history, never to be repeated again against Jews or anyone else.
As a young Christian leader – just 30 years old – I'm especially concerned that we aren't effectively educating the next generation on the sheer evil that humans are capable of inflicting upon one another. more >>
Death threats to Arabs and Christians written in front of a Roman Catholic Church office in Jerusalem ahead of Pope Francis' visit later this month have some officials alarmed, though a Christian persecution watchdog group said it is unlikely a direct attack on the pope will be attempted.
The Office of the Assembly of Bishops, Notre Dame of Jerusalem said that it found Hebrew writing on a column outside its building earlier this week, reading "Death to Arabs, Christians and all those who hate Israel." Heads of churches are preparing to respond.
Todd Daniels, International Christian Concern's regional manager for the Middle East, told The Christian Post in an email on Thursday that such threats and attacks are often carried out by Jewish extremists, and that Israeli security forces are taking the threat seriously. more >>