The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha, located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus is believed to have fed the 5,000, has been burned in an arson attack that occurred Wednesday night. Anti-Christian graffiti was marked at the site, with the words "May the false gods be eliminated" written in Hebrew reportedly found at the entrance.
Breaking Israel News said that two people suffered minor smoke inhalation while trying to control the fire, with firefighters called to the scene shortly after 4 a.m. local time on Thursday. Aided by volunteers, they managed successfully to put out the fire, which was started on the rooftop.
While the sanctuary of the church did not suffer much damage, the arson attack affected more heavily a number of offices, a storage room of books and an event hall. Wadia Abu Nasser, the Catholic Church's media adviser in Israel, estimated that the cost of repairs will be in the "millions," but said that "the emotional damage is worse." more >>
In his remarks regarding Wednesday night's massacre inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, President Barack Obama outlined how the congregation has a 200-year history of dealing with persecution brought on by racism and hatred.
After a white gunmen, identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, shot and killed a pastor and eight other worshipers attending a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church, Obama issued a spoken statement on Thursday condemning the attack and added that he was personally angered by it.
"Any death of this sort is a tragedy," Obama stated. "There is something particularly heartbreaking about the death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship." more >>
A time of worship and prayer came to a horrific end Wednesday night, as a white gunman, identified as Dylann Roof, 21, opened fire during a Bible study in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, slaying nine people, including the church's pastor, in what the police have called a "hate crime" and the city's mayor has labeled an act of "pure hatred."
The suspect began firing at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Calhoun Street, one of the oldest black churches in the South with roots dating back to 1816, around 9 p.m. Wednesday night. Eight people were killed on the scene, while two others were transported to a nearby hospital, one of whom died along the way.
The gunman, believed to be Roof, successfully fled the church as remains at-large as of Thursday morning. more >>
The Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Syria, has warned that Christianity is slowly dying in the war torn country, and asked just how much horror must the people experience before the world takes action to stop the massacres.
"In my country, Syria, Christians are caught in the middle of a civil war and they are enduring the rage of an extremist jihad. And it is unjust for the West to ignore the persecutions these Christian communities are experiencing," Jean-Clément Jeanbart said in an article posted by MercatorNet on Tuesday.
"What horrors must ISIS commit before the world will take greater action to stop the murderers?" he asked. "Syrian Christians are in grave danger; we may disappear soon." more >>
One of the pleasures of living in Jerusalem is the ever-changing kaleidoscope of intriguing people and historic places that surrounds me. Especially when I walk around Jerusalem's Old City, I am conscious of a myriad of Christian clergy, garbed in a multitude of various robes and head coverings.
The Coptic monks who serve at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are particularly easy to recognize because of their distinctive black hoods.
These koulla (Coptic) hoods are embroidered with 12 small crosses that represent Jesus' 12 disciples, and one large one that signifies Jesus Christ. This symbolic array of crosses is meant to remind the monks that they, like Jesus and those who followed him during his earthly ministry, must leave everything temporal behind and look only to God. more >>
In a passionate speech presenting the historic sacrifice made by Iraqi Christians on Wednesday, Chaldean Catholic Bishop Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo said that although Iraqi Christians have been slaughtered in masses by ISIS, Iraqi Christians have been proudly losing their lives in the name of Jesus since before Islam existed.
Speaking at Skyline Wesleyan Church's Future Conference in San Diego, Jammo, who's a native of Baghdad with ancestral ties to the Nineveh Plains and serves as bishop of a Chaldean Catholic Diocese that spans throughout the Western U.S., explained that the Chaldean Christian community's experience of being forced to choose between paying a tax for their faith or being killed predates ISIS' brutal demand.
In fact, Jammo explained that Chaldean Christians were first asked to pay taxes in order to celebrate their faith in the year 339 under the rule of King Shapur II, when he told Christians that they must pay double taxes if they wish to continue worshiping Jesus without being killed. more >>