Patriarch welcomes court’s ‘courageous’ decision to block Israeli wall through West Bank

Jerusalem, Israel, Apr 8, 2015 / 02:18 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem has praised an Israeli Supreme Court decision prohibiting the country's army from routing a security wall through Palestinian land in the West Bank, which would have separated 58 Christian families from their land. The patriarch welcomed the April 2 decision as “a victory for Israeli justice itself since it had the courage to take such a decision.” He also noted “the efficacy … [Read more...]

Pope Francis sends rosaries, Easter cakes to Iraqi Christians

Erbil, Iraq, Apr 7, 2015 / 03:37 pm (CNA).- The Solemn Easter Vigil in Erbil, Iraq, concluded in a spirit of joyful celebration with the distribution of dove-shaped Easter cakes and rosaries sent by Pope Francis to thousands of Chaldean Christians displaced by ISIS. More than 70,000 Christians fled to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, after their villages came under attack by the Islamic State (ISIS) last June. The militants have since established a caliphate and have persecuted … [Read more...]

Amid war in Syria, Catholic patriarch says Easter offers path of hope

Damascus, Syria, Apr 7, 2015 / 12:48 pm (CNA).- Citing St. Paul’s conversion on the Road to Damascus, an Eastern Catholic patriarch’s Easter message repeated a call for peace and urged Christians to bear the Gospel of Life amid Syria’s ongoing civil war. “God grant that the day of reconciliation, salvation and mutual embrace may come! Then indeed there will be a great feast for the whole of Syria, a feast of resurrection and life,” said Gregorios III, Melkite … [Read more...]

One Christian woman’s quest to care for the forgotten Yazidis in Iraq

Erbil, Iraq, Apr 6, 2015 / 03:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Shelan Jibrael’s office is located in the Iraqi city of Erbil, where tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians displaced by the Islamic State have immigrated. But on any given day, she is much more likely to be found in one of the various refugee camps around the city, looking after not only the Christians but also those who find themselves in a much more dramatic situation: the Yazidis. The Yazidis are a small ethno-religious … [Read more...]

The ‘surrender’ of a Syrian girl gives face to the plight of refugee children

Beirut, Lebanon, Apr 4, 2015 / 04:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A photo that went viral last week depicting a young Syrian child “surrendering” in front of a camera she thought to be a gun is but a mere hint at the trauma which displaced and refugee children face across the Middle East, an aid worker says. “In regards to the children, it’s a very bleak and complex (situation). Circumstances are not good at all,” Zerene Haddad told CNA during a March 31 phone call from … [Read more...]

Christians returning to Homs, Syria, even though Islamic State looms

Homs, Syria, Apr 1, 2015 / 02:01 am (Aid to the Church in Need).- In the wake of the Syrian regime’s taking full control of the ancient Christian city of Homs almost a year ago, a measure of normality has returned for local residents – including a remnant of the Christian population. The long-time home of Sunnis, Alawites, and Christians living in relative harmony, the city suffered some of the worst fighting of Syria’s now five year-old civil war that has left the major … [Read more...]

Three weeks as an Islamic State captive – one woman tells her story

Erbil, Iraq, Mar 31, 2015 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The woman was just 19 years old when she was captured by militants from the Islamic State. Caring for her young son and pregnant with her second child, she was separated from her husband and told that she would be forced to marry a member of ISIS. Her harrowing story is not unique, but the fact that she escaped places her in the minority of those who face the similar terror of life as an ISIS captive. The woman's name, and that of … [Read more...]