Patriarch to consecrate the Middle East to the Immaculate Heart

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The head of the Maronite Church is to consecrate Lebanon and the whole of the Middle East to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during a pilgrimage to Fatima. The act of consecration by Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai will take place during a Eucharistic liturgy on Sunday, according to Fides news agency. It will mark the

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Archbishop of Damascus releases Lent message on ‘this Syria of torments’

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The Marionite Archbishop of Damascus has written a pastoral letter describing the challenges of daily life in war-torn Syria. In a letter released on Ash Monday – the beginning of Lent in the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Church – Archbishop Samir Nassar speaks of five of the horrors experienced in the Syrian Civil War. Entitled

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Christian militia claim victory over ISIS in Iraqi village

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An Assyrian Christian militia has claimed it has liberated a village in Iraq from ISIS with help of the US coalition. The Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU) announced on Thursday that it had taken back control of Badanah in south-east Mosul. The group published video and images on Facebook of NPU fighters entering the village.

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Pope Francis: ‘Innocent people are paying the ultimate price for war in Syria’

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Innocent men, women and children are paying the ultimate price in the continuing conflict raging in Syria, especially in Aleppo, where they are caught in the crossfire between rebel and government forces, Pope Francis said. “It is unacceptable that so many innocent people — even many children — must pay the price for this conflict,

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Carmelites will remain in Aleppo despite continuous airstrikes

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Carmelite nuns have chosen to remain in their convent in Syria in spite of continuous airstrikes from both Syrian and Russian forces. The women religious have appealed for help from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Sister Anne-Françoise of Aleppo’s Discalced Carmelite Sisters told ACN: “the bombs are falling all around us, but we are not

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Manchester parish prepares to take in Syrian refugees

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A parish in Greater Manchester is preparing to look after Syrian refugees as part of a Home Office scheme. The Community Sponsorship scheme allows groups, such as churches, to help integrate refugees into Britain. One of the first communities expected to welcome refugees is St Monica’s in Flixton. The Diocese of Salford is acting as

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Priest shot dead by Islamists in Egypt’s Sinai region

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Egyptian officials say a priest and two members of the country’s security forces have been killed by suspected Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula’s turbulent north. They say the priest was gunned down while walking in the city of el-Arish on Thursday. Clerics have in the past been targeted by militants in Sinai. In a

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Suicide bombers hit predominantly Christian village in Lebanon

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A series of suicide bombings and other attacks, including one outside a church, rocked a mainly Christian Lebanese village near the Syrian border on Monday, killing five people and wounding nearly 30, officials and witnesses said. Four suicide bombers struck in the village of Qaa early on Monday morning, causing the fatalities and wounding 15

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Middle East patriarchs encourage persecuted Christians to find hope at Christmas

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Catholic patriarchs from the Middle East have encouraged their troubled people to find inner peace at Christmas and urged the world to remember them. “In Iraq, we will celebrate the birth of Christ who comes into our hearts in silence and tears,” said Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad. However, he said, “We remain

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Iraqi patriarch: Christian persecution has reached ‘critical, violent’ point

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ROME (CNS) -- The survival of Christianity in the Middle East has reached such a critical point that the chances of dialogue and reconciliation in the region are being threatened, said Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad. "The situation is very bad, very critical and always violent," Patriarch Sako told Catholic News Service Dec.

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