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 >>
As Pakistani lawmakers consider legislation to reform the nation's corrupt blasphemy laws, Islamic clerics are bashing the government for even considering such an option, and are calling for the release of the murderer of the Punjab governor who advocated for blasphemy reform in 2011.
Asia News reports that 10 Muslim scholars and a former Pakistani judge gathered recently at a "seminar for protection of the prophet's dignity" and expressed their concern over the proposed legislation that is attempting to add the word "intention" to the nation's blasphemy law.
Speaking at the seminar was former Pakistani justice Mian Nazir Akhtar, who represents Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for referring to Pakistan's blasphemy law as a "black law." Akhtar bashed the proposed legislation and asserted that those who insult the Muslim prophet Muhammad deserve to be killed and "sent to hell." more >>
Days after The Christian Post reported that American pastor Saeed Abedini, who's in an Iranian jail because of his Christian faith, was "viciously beaten" by fellow prisoners, the Rev. Franklin Graham has called on President Obama to help secure his release just as the White House recently worked to free an Egyptian-American Muslim from an Egyptian prison.
"Mr. President, American pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Iran for two-and-a-half years, and last week he suffered another severe beating at the hands of inmates," Graham wrote in an open letter posted on his Facebook page, which is followed by more than 1.6 million people.
"His life is continuously threatened not only because he's an American, but also because he's a Christian. This was why he was arrested — and he has been told his only way out is to deny Jesus Christ," added Graham, who leads Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. more >>
The 23-year-old widow of Malak Ibrahim, one of the 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded by Islamic State terrorists in Libya earlier this year, says she's proud and comforted by the fact that her husband refused to deny Christ and was praying to Jesus when he and the others were killed.
Mariam Farhat, who lives in Al Aour village, about 150 miles south of Cairo, told CBN News that she "was very proud" that Ibrahim "stood firm in his faith and that he didn't deny Jesus."
"We were very sad for the first two days, but we hadn't seen the video," she said. "When we saw them in the video calling to Jesus we were very comforted." more >>
Jewish author Avi Lipkin claimed Monday that "all" churches in America have been infiltrated by Muslim spies who frequently pretend to have found Christ but are really looking to provide intelligence to radical Muslims who will try to kill all Jews and Christians when jihad is ordered upon the U.S.
Lipkin, who has authored a number of books critical of radical Islam, frequently speaks at Christian churches around the U.S. to emphasize the importance of unity between the Jewish and Christian communities in standing against the advance of radical Islam. Lipkin, who immigrated from New York to Israel in 1968, spoke at this week's Future Conference held at Skyline Church in San Diego where he proclaimed that the world is facing the "most interesting" biblical period since the days of Jesus Christ and contended that the coming of the Messiah is just around the corner.
"We are realizing with our own very eyes fulfillment of more Bible prophecy than in any other generation in 2,000 years," Lipkin asserted. "I believe the Messiah is in our time and I believe Israel will realize its borders." more >>