By Stefan J. Bos & Devin Watkins
By Deborah Castellano Lubov   --   Kazakhstan
Moscow, September 12, Interfax - The Latvian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has given a reserved response to the Latvian parliament's decision to "grant' autocephaly to it.

"The government has established the status of our Church as autocephalous. The government has established that the Latvian Orthodox Church is de jure independent from any church center outside Latvia, while preserving spiritual, prayer and liturgical communion with all canonical Orthodox Churches of the world. The changed status does not alter the Orthodox faith, dogmas, the liturgical life of the Church, the calendar style, the sacred liturgical language, rites, traditions, and inner church life," the church press service said.

The Synod of the Latvian Orthodox Church "lovingly calls on the clergy and laity to maintain a peaceful disposition of the spirit" and the unity of the Church, strictly observing the laws of Latvia," it said.

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Idlib (Agenzia Fides) - Mass was celebrated in a church that had been closed for ten years. This happened in the province of Idlib, in an area still controlled by the anti-Assad Islamist militias. Permission to re-open the Christian place of worship and celebrate the Eucharistic liturgy in a serene and festive atmosphere was the same head of the jihadist faction that, in past years, had seized property and the houses of Christians as "spoils of war".
This event is emblematic of the real situation experienced by the Christian communities in this region of Syria.

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Iraq: Gathering The Youth In Hope

“Yes, we have problems in our country, yes, we have conflict, but we have Jesus Christ. We have a unique culture which we want to keep alive.”
In a time when the Orthodox Christian world is broken by schism—the schism over Ukraine being merely the most ulcerous—the recent death of Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia (1934-2022) is perhaps one of only a few events that has managed to briefly unite the Orthodox world in a “bright sadness.” Memorial services were held by both Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Phanar and at his death bed by prominent figures in the Russian Church (Moscow Patriarchate [MP]) who were his former students (Metropolitan Hilarion [Alfeyev] of Budapest and Hungary [MP] and Bishop Irenei [Steenberg] of London [ROCOR-MP]). Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, the Exarch or Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the United Kingdom, followed Metropolitan Kallistos’ sickness closely and visited him repeatedly in his last years. With great pastoral discernment, Archbishop Nikitas quietly cooperated over a long period with local representatives of the Oxford Russian Parish and his own Oxford Greek Orthodox parish in planning the logistics of the memorials, liturgy, funeral, and interment in Oxford with the intention of emphasizing the Pan-Orthodoxy of the Metropolitan.

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In Spain the war on crosses, accused of 'Francoism', is relentless. Numerous crosses scattered around the country are all found guilty of having been erected at the behest of Francisco Franco, and therefore inevitably bearers of apologia for the regime. Starting with the enormous one (150 metres high) in the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen), located in the Cuelgamuros valley. The complex, located 60 km from Madrid, and wanted by Franco, also includes a Benedictine abbey and contains the remains of the fallen (from both sides) of the Spanish Civil War.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Millions of Shiite Muslims — from Iran to Afghanistan and Pakistan — were marking the festival of Ashoura on Monday, one of the most emotional occasions in their religious calendar, commemorating the 7th century martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein.
VATICAN CITY: A new Catholic cathedral in Bahrain, Our Lady of Arabia, will be consecrated on Dec. 10 by the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.
Le patriarche maronite, le cardinal Béchara Raï, a vivement dénoncé les polémiques enregistrées ces derniers jours (entre le Premier ministre désigné Nagib Mikati et le chef du Courant patriotique libre Gebran Bassile, NDLR), soulignant que de telles polémiques visent à "torpiller la formation d’un nouveau gouvernement et à court-circuiter l’élection d’un président de la République".
As Russia’s war against Ukraine continues for a sixth month, a WCC delegation led by WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca visited Ukraine to listen to the representatives of local churches, as well as state institutions working with religious issues, and to ensure the participation of the Ukraine’s churches at the upcoming WCC assembly in Karlsruhe.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister of Ukraine thanked Archbishop Grušas, the Lithuanian people, and the Catholics of Lithuania for their support for Ukraine. He is convinced that such a visit is a sign of support and solidarity with Ukraine, especially coming from the European episcopate and all the members of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe.
The Catholic Archbishop of Ukraine’s western city of Lviv, Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, has said it would be “a disaster if the Holy Father were first to visit Russia and only then Ukraine”. It is quite possible, he told the German Tagespost newspaper on 15 July, that “Ukraine’s frontiers would be closed to him if he arrived from Russia”. The Ukrainian people firmly believed that one must devote oneself to the victim first and only then to the perpetrator, Mokrzycki said.

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La convocation et la détention d’un archevêque maronite libanais par un tribunal militaire libanais à son retour d’un déplacement en Israël, a suscité mercredi l’indignation parmi la classe politique chrétienne. En sa qualité d’archevêque maronite de Haïfa et Jérusalem Moussa el-Hajj est autorisé à visiter Israël et les Territoires palestiniens, mais à l’issue de son dernier déplacement il a été détenu pendant huit heures, lundi à son retour. Puis il a été convoqué par un tribunal militaire pour un interrogatoire mercredi, ont rapporté les médias locaux. En réaction, le patriarche maronite Béchara Raï a tenu mercredi une réunion exceptionnelle avec d’autres religieux maronites, dont l’archevêque Moussa. Les prélats ont condamné son arrestation et sa convocation, qualifiées de " farce ", et ont demandé que l’affaire soit " close immédiatement ". " Nous exigeons (…) que

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A 500-year-old Orthodox icon that was looted from a church in the breakaway north of ethnically divided Cyprus has been returned to the island.
By Vatican News
Preparations for a papal visit to Ukraine will begin after his Apostolic Journey to Canada, and the Pope could travel to Kyiv as early as August.
Christians from Iraq and Syria who fled ISIS are now languishing in limbo in Lebanon, where they are living lives of abject poverty and are being denied their basic human rights, say advocates for Middle Eastern Christians. 
Bishop Michael of Cumans, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kiev, clergymen from abroad, Archons Offikialioi, faithful from Constantinople and a large group of pilgrims from Athens were in attendance.
Today is Friday 8 July 2022 and the Ukrainian people have already been holding back for the 135th day the full-scale invasion by Russia, which has stepped with its foot upon, and with its murderous hand is touching, the Ukrainian land. We thank the Lord God and the Armed Forces of Ukraine that we survived until this morning, that we can be together, that we can stand before God, that we can live and serve God and Ukraine. This night, during the last day, again many people died in Ukraine, many were injured. The enemy continues to advance, in particular on the border of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, storming the cities of Kramatorsk, Slovyansk, and Bakhmut, subjecting our cities and villages to devastating rocket attacks. Again, Kharkiv suffered from rocket attacks, as did the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast in the south of Ukraine. Dozens of people were injured as a result of these brutal enemy attacks. But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying. And Ukraine is overcoming, first of all overcoming the evil in its own heart. Today, I would like us to start learning together with you, the study of how to overcome. For the last few days we have contemplated the rules of this invisible spiritual warfare, we have seen what harm sin brings to a person's life,

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AN ARCHBISHOP AND SISTER FROM THE MIDDLE EAST ISSUED A STARK warning to UK Parliamentarians that Christians in the region are still suffering persecution.
Cardinal Kurt Koch will lead the Catholic delegation to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion this summer.
Lebanon’s top Christian cleric has reiterated demands for politicians to speed up the formation of an all-party government and elect a new president to pull the country out of rock bottom.
Early this morning, faithful, clergy, and supporters from across the United States gathered at the World Trade Center for the consecration of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine.
European Peoples' Party (EPP) Group MEPs have met with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople to discuss the role of the Orthodox Church to promote peace and understanding between religions and peoples.
"I extend to your Excellency and to all our beloved Muslims the deepest heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of the blessed Eid El-Adha," Pope Tawadros said in a message to El-Sisi.
ROME – In a new interview with a German newspaper, the Vatican’s point man on ecumenical affairs says Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill’s defense of the war in Ukraine amounts to “heresy,” and has fractured the unity of the Orthodox community.
The Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, consisting of Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Co-President of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the two Sister Churches, Bishop Adrianos of Halicarnassus, and the Patriarchal Deacon Barnabas Grigoriadis, arrived in Rome on 28 June 2022 to participate in the Thronal Feast of the Church of Rome.

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  (Peter Anderson) On Sunday, June 26, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated his first Divine Liturgy in Budapest as the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan of Budapest and Hungary. A video of the entire Liturgy can be seen here.  Sunday was the Feast Day of the Saints of the Russian Land.  As described in the following article, one of the saints described by Metropolitan Hilarion in his address at the end of the Liturgy was St. Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow.  St. Philip was martyred because he “was not afraid to stand up to the terrible tyrant who shed innocent blood.”  The following is an English-language article describing the address by Metropolitan Hilarion:   ( The exploits of the holy confessors of the Church of Russia should serve as an example for Orthodox Christians, for in the history of Russian holiness there have been many great names and exploits, said Metropolitan Hilarion of Budapest and Hungary. Metropolitan Hilarion noted that when thinking about saints in Russia, people immediately raise their eyes to the times of Kievan Rus, the Baptism of Rus in the waters of the Dnieper by St Prince Vladimir, to the feats of St. Fathers of Kiev Caves. The Metropolitan also mentioned the deed of Metropolitan Philip, who condemned Ivan the Terrible, who shed innocent blood. (...)