Svitlana Dukhovych, with Vatican News' Ukrainian programme, gives her testimony of reporting on the war in Ukraine, on the occasion of the International Day of St Francis de Sales, organised by the French Federation of Catholic Media, the Dicastery for Communication, SIGNIS and UCSI (25-27 January 2023).
During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Vatican Media welcomes students from the Institute, headquartered in Geneva and founded in 1946, which Pope Francis visited during the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches.

Vatican Secretary of State to visit Azerbaijan

Baku, January 14, AZERTAC
Secretary of State of the Holy See Cardinal Pietro Parolin has said he will visit Azerbaijan as he met with Azerbaijani Ambassador to the Holy See Ilgar Mukhtarov.
Prior to the religious ceremony, Patriarch Pizzaballa said during the press conference held by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM): "We pay prime attention to this holy place and affirm our support for the project designed to develop the Baptism Site which was announced by His Majesty King Abdullah II and His Royal Highness Prince GhaziI Ibn Mohammad."
The annual Holy Land Coordination begins on Saturday 14 January, when Bishops from 11 countries will gather in Jordan to meet with the Christian community. There are more than 200,000 Christians in the country. Its Catholic parishes, schools and social projects form an important part of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

In death, Pell remains a polarising figure

It would be hard to name an Australian more polarising than George Pell.
The sudden death of the cardinal, once a right-hand man of the Pope, led to an outpouring of sadness and gratitude for his service by many devout Catholics across the nation and the globe. The bells at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne rang for 30 minutes to mark his death and flags outside were flown at half-mast.
As the Church in Cuba celebrates the 25th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s historic visit to the island nation on 21-25 January 1998, Pope Francis sends a letter encouraging Cubans to continue walking together in faithful hope to build a better future.
Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - Homosexual behavior does not conform to the Bible and to the creative will of God, who «created Adam and Eve». This was reiterated by Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, in an Egyptian television interview, Pope Tawadros also referred to specific programs introduced in kindergartens and primary schools that belong to the Coptic Church to raise boys and girls and protect them from theories and theses considered ambiguous and not compliant with the Bible regarding issues related to the relationship between the sexes and sexual orientation.
Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - "We urgently ask the parties for a ceasefire. We ask that they lay down their arms and seek a peaceful solution. We see many people suffering and it is necessary to create humanitarian corridors in areas of extreme humanitarian crisis, which allow all organizations, local and foreign, to assist displaced people", says to Agenzia Fides Joseph Kung, a lay Catholic from Yangon, head of a private university institute, interpreting the feelings and desires of Catholics and many other citizens of other confessions, in the country tormented by an internal conflict between the army and the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), born in the aftermath of the coup.
Currently, he notes, there is an urgent need "to alleviate the suffering of the millions of people who, in many areas of the country, have been forced to flee their homes and seek precarious shelters".
Ishtiaq Saleem is accused of posting pictures of the Prophet Mohammad’s name in Arabic tattooed on his body. Upon his arrest, he was beaten. His wife proclaims his innocence, saying that he is illiterate and the victim of a "conspiracy" based on religion. Pakistan’s electronic crimes law as well as blasphemy legislation are used to target religious minorities.
by Martha Zhao Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - Exactly one hundred years after his arrival in Beijing, the figure of Cardinal Celso Costantini, the first Apostolic Delegate in China, is being rediscovered and his topicality is reinforced also in the Chinese academic world. On the morning of today, Friday, December 23, a Seminar dedicated to the theme of Sino-Vatican relations during the Republic of China, centered precisely on the figure of Constantine, was organized at the History Department of the East China Normal University, (ECNU), founded in 1951 in Shanghai.
The Chaldean patriarchs spoke to AsiaNews about the pope emeritus who died this morning. A "man of God” with a "luminous" face, one day he will be proclaimed "doctor for what he has left". He had a bond of "deep closeness" with the Muslim world. He supported the synod on the Middle East in 2010.
The Holy Synod said on Thursday they will elect the new Archbishop out of the triumvirate on Christmas Eve.
Speaking to the media after a meeting of the Holy Synod, Paphos bishop Georgios, the caretaker of the throne, said the members of the Holy Synod will decide among the three who gathered the highest number of votes by the public on Sunday.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky urges his people to celebrate the birth of Jesus despite Russian attacks devastating his wartorn nation. His appeal comes as many Ukrainians celebrate Christmas in bomb shelters.
Vatican City, Dec 25, 2022 / 05:00 am
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has been actively engaged since 2017 with the churches and different religious leaders in Iraq to promote social cohesion as a means towards sustainable peace.
Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of a married couple with seven children who were killed by the Nazis for hiding a Jewish family in their home in Poland.
Atchaneh (Agenzia Fides) - An unprecedented and in some respects historic meeting between the leaders of the Churches of the Syriac tradition, to discuss and reflect together on the emergencies and problems faced by Christian communities in the Middle East, in the light of the common spiritual heritage and of the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. This is the only ecclesial meeting convened today, Friday, December 16, at Atchaneh (Lebanon), at the headquarters of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate. The meeting, convened by the Syriac-Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, sees the participation, among others, of the Syriac-Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Raï, the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Awa III and the Chaldean Patriarch Luis Raphael Sako. 
On December 16 the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church - Bulgarian Patriarchate posted the results of its meeting on December 13. The results are as follows:
Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - On December 13th, 2022, the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land (ACOHL) organized a conference for the launching of two new offices: the Safeguarding Office & the Professional Legal Office, which aim to provide support and advice to the Catholic Church in the Holy Land. The conference, which included opening speeches by His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Mgr Adolfo Tito Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy Land, was meant to present the purpose of these offices to the religious congregations and institutes of the Holy Land. 
Some 20 organisations urge the Bishops’ Conference to boycott government Christmas celebrations. They call for protest over the failure to find the truth about the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings. They want the authorities to pursue an impartial investigation and help survivors if they truly care about Catholics.
In his message for the observance the Church celebrates on 1 January, the pontiff speaks about the latest Covid-19 wave in light of the global consequences of the war in Ukraine. For him, “the virus of war is more difficult to overcome than the viruses that compromise our bodies, because it comes, not from outside of us, but from within the human heart corrupted by sin”.
In this preview of an interview Pope Francis has given to the Spanish daily ABC, the Pope responds to a variety of questions regarding what he would like for Christmas, memories of his homeland of Argentina, and his wish to be close to the people even though his institutional role can make that difficult. The full interview will be published on Sunday, 18 December.
Just 1500 steps from the grotto where Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Order of Malta’s Holy Family Hospital continues to provide excellent care to mothers and babies of all creeds and needs. As Christmas approaches in this holy place, the Hospital prepares to deliver its 100,000th baby!
Ukrainian foreign minister says Russian Orthodox Church has 'betrayed God'

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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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