Lebanon's Maronite Christian church says its former patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, has died after several days in hospital. He was 98.    Sfeir, an outspoken and feisty personality, served as spiritual leader of Lebanon's largest Christian community through some of the worst days of the 1975-90 civil war.
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(Peter Anderson) Yesterday (Saturday)  the Secretariat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Holy Synod announced that Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa has been elected the new Archbishop of America. According to the announcement, the unanimous decision was made “following the suggestion, permission and exhortation of His-All Holiness” Patriarch Bartholomew.
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Patriarch Emeritus Filaret sent a letter to the hierarchs of the former UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate printed on the Kyiv Patriarchate’s letter forms (which has officially ceased to exist) inviting them to arrive in Kyiv on May 13-14 for a “solemn prayer communication” in memory of the Hieromartyr Macarius. The current Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Metropolitan Epifaniy did not receive such an invitation and has other plans for the time indicated.
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The Bulgarian Orthodox Church Metropolitan of Rousse, Naum, has praised Pope Francis as a good person and welcomed the Pope’s message of love and goodwill – in a statement in sharp contrast to the reported hostility of Naum’s fellow Metropolitan, Nikolai of Plovdiv.

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Jean Vanier has died at the age of 90. He spent his whole life giving hope to suffering people: "The message of the Gospel, he said, is to become men and women of compassion. If you become a man or a woman of compassion, you will be like Jesus".
 
Ukrainian Archbishop Borys Gudziak, a visionary leader in the Catholic Church and higher education, will be presented with the Notre Dame Award in a ceremony June 29 in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced Monday (May 6).  
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By Christopher Wells
 
On 3rd May 2019, Friday of the Bright Week, after the Divine Liturgy His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with a group of pilgrims from the Roman Catholic Church led by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of Rome.    The meeting took place in the Patriarchal Chambers of the Lavra of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius.
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By Linda Bordoni 

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Paschal Messageof His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia  to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monks and Nuns andAll the Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church

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Pope Francis' most recent foreign trips have had a decidedly interreligious focus.       In February, he became the first pontiff to travel to the United Arab Emirates, where he made a joint declaration against religious violence with one of Sunni Islam's highest authorities. In March, he went to Morocco, where he met with King Mohammed VI, whose family claim authority and descent from the Muslim prophet himself.
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Ahead of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia we shine the light on the work of Caritas Bulgaria as it assists those in need and reaches out to migrants and refugees.   By Linda Bordoni
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Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza  Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Tenth Working Session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing Item 5: Measures to enhance the promotion and protection of the human rights of older persons
New York, 15 April 2019
 
MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. The Western states’ interference in church affairs in Ukraine has threatened stability around the world, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday at a meeting with Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
 
By Andrea Tornielli
 
The situation, especially in the north, is beginning to worry experts and authorities. The Tharthar basin has a reached a level "never seen" in over 60 years. Two bridges in Mosul submerged by water. The closure of kiosks and businesses near the river. AsiaNews sources: "exceptional" events.
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Before the moving and unprecedented gesture of Pope Francis kneeling (with difficulty) to kiss the feet of South Sudan's previously warring political leaders, Thursday evening, the preacher of the retreat, Nigerian Jesuit priest, Father Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator spoke to Pope Francis on behalf of the leaders.
 
A senior bishop of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church in India is visiting the Vatican with a "confidential report," a month after its preparation entangled him in a criminal case.
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Dacca (Agenzia Fides) - "The peoples of Asia are called to review their lifestyle by following criteria of respect and care for creation": says to Agenzia Fides, Benedetto Alo D'Rozario, new president of Caritas Asia, who has just begun his mandate as the first layman to preside over the solidarity organization which is an expression of the Catholic Church.  read more
 
Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - Very tense situation in Khartoum, where for weeks demonstrations have followed to demand the resignation of President Omer Hassan al-Bashir, in power for 30 years. Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the army headquarters, where the police and security service, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), are trying to disperse them. But several soldiers intervened to protect the demonstrators, firing warning shots to ward off policemen and security men.   read more
 
ERBIL (Combined Sources) — Iraqi-Armenians who fled sectarian violence in northern Iraq for the comparative security of the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil can finally pray in their own place of worship. - The Church of the Holy Cross opened its doors on April 6 in a special ceremony attended by Armenian clergy, including the Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Iraq Avak Asadourian, diplomats, and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials.
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Pope Francis meets with migrants at the diocesan Caritas centre in Rabat.   -- By Christopher Wells Pope Francis addressed the ongoing phenomenon of mass migration on Saturday, during a meeting with migrants at the diocesan Caritas centre in Rabat.
 
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is forging ahead with promoting moderate Islam during a weekend trip to Morocco, seeking to build on warming ties with the Sunni world while also ministering to a tiny Catholic community and offering solidarity with migrants.
 
Pope Francis heads to Morocco on Saturday, the first pope to do so in 35 years, with interreligious dialogue and immigration on the agenda.  -  The Argentine pontiff will be welcomed by the North African country's population of around 30,000 Roman Catholics, mostly sub-Saharan African students or migrants headed for Europe.   read more
 
On March 30 and 31, Francis will visit the North African country at the invitation of King Mohammad VI. Great expectations among Catholics, many of them immigrants from the sub-Saharan area. A young and living community. Father Davide, missionary in Algeria: "Unique opportunity" to give visibility to the local Church.
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Also Muslims are looking forward to the Pope’s visit to Morocco. Abderrahim Cheikhi, President of the “Unity and Reform Movement”: “We welcome Francis into our Country. We are witnessing a resurgence of hate speech that often generates dangerous acts of violence.
 
It is within the bounds of possibility to change the legal status of the iconic Hagia Sophia Museum, a landmark of Istanbul and a UNESCO World Heritage site, to a mosque as it was before 1935, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 24.
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The Ethics Committee of the Iranian Football Association declares war on players with body paintings. In the Islamic Republic, athletes are seen as role models, especially for young people. for the country’s hard-line religious leadership, tattoos are a symbol of "westernisation" and part of a "cultural invasion". Ashkan Dejagah’s story is an example. 
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On 22 March 2019, the presentation of the Russian edition of a book entitled “The Bringing of the Relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker from Bari to Russia (May 21 – July 28, 2017)” took place at the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR).  read more
 
In his Apostolic visit to Rabat, Pope Francis will be accompanied also by the students of the Al Mowafaqa Ecumenical Institute of Theology. The dean, Jean Koulagna, remarked: “I hope that this visit will smooth the way for mutual encounter and that Muslims and Christians will draw closer to one another with