(Peter Anderson) Today (Friday), the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) held its last session for the year.  The results of the meeting are summarized here.  The most important item discussed was to adopt a statement urging a pan-Orthodox meeting to examine the situation concerning the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) and the claims of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be the “first without equals.” 
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Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Friday warned that “some embassies” are facilitating emigration for Lebanese citizens in order to “empty Lebanon of its people and Christians.” - Addressing the “young men and women of the civil protest movement,” al-Rahi warned them that “some embassies, which I will not name now, are facilitating the issue of emigration, as if it is a second war to empty Lebanon of its people and Christians.”
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CAIRO - Amid deadly protests in Iraq, a people’s uprising in Lebanon and continued suffering in Syria, Catholic leaders of the Middle East called upon officials of their homelands to “ensure safety, peace and tranquility and stability for their citizens.”
 
Luis Lopez battled nerves as he walked to the front of the crowded prayer hall in Union City with his son. Together, they repeated word-for-word in Arabic the Shahada, the profession of faith required to convert to Islam. -  “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," they declared at the mosque, located in a columned brick building that once housed a Cuban community center.

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In solidarity with Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis, the Chaldean Patriarchate urged all its Churches to pray on Sunday Mass of December 1, 2019 for the souls of martyrs of demonstrators and security forces, who offered their life in Nasiriyah, Najaf, Baghdad and other cities, and also for the speedy recovery of the wounded.

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A piece of wood worshipped as part of the manger in which Jesus was born has been returned to the Holy Land. The relic — an early Christmas present from the Vatican — will go on display at a church in Bethlehem.
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CAIRO - 29 November 2019: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Sunday received on Thursday received Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt Ibrahim Ishaq Sedrak, and his accompanying delegation, in the presence of the Charge d'Affaires of the Vatican Embassy in Cairo, the Presidency said.
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A delegation of the Church of Rome visits the Ecumenical Patriarchate to attend the celebration of the memory of the founder of St. Andrew the Apostle.
The delegation, led by Cardinal Curt Koch, was received by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

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On 28 November 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), met with Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest Péter Cardinal Erdő at the parish house of the Cathedral of the Dormition in Budapest.  -- Discussed at the meeting held in a warm cordial atmosphere was a wide range of issues, for instance, work with the youth, mission, education and social ministry of Christian Churches in the modern world.
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I have been privileged to represent the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican City, at the 2nd Baku Summit of World Religious Leaders, you called on in Baku on November 14 and 15, 2019.  You also gave your patronage and support to this particular event, participating along with the First Lady, H.E. Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, and your daughter Leyla Aliyeva, in the Opening ceremony. You were kind enough as well to invite the participants in the Summit to an Official dinner, and to be present at it along with your wife and daughter.

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“Such weapons, if developed to be fully autonomous, would make decisions on who lives and who dies,” reads the statement. “All meaningful real-time human control would be eliminated, and likewise the direct legal, ethical and moral responsibility and accountability for such decision-making.”

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(Peter Anderson) Yesterday (Sunday), the Orthodox Church of Albania posted a document, entitled “Appeal-Supplication for the overcoming of the ecclesiastical polarization,” from Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania. The official English translation of the full text of the appeal can be read here. The appeal is dated November 20, which is before the invitation extended by Patriarch Theophilos for a meeting of the primates in Jordan. In addition, the appeal makes no reference to this invitation. The following is an important paragraph from the appeal:    read more
 
For Card Sako, time is "running out”. Wisdom, a sense of responsibility and courage are needed to come out of the current critical phase. More violence over the weekend left at least nine dead and scores wounded as police shoot into the crowd. “As a Church we are monitoring the situation with great concern,” Card Sako said. Shia authorities express solidarity with ordinary Iraqis.

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria at the Phanar, one day before the Feast of Saint Andrew, which is also the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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Three masked men broke into the house of Bartholomew I of Constantinople, when he was away at a meeting with his Greek compatriots. The news was reported by RIA Novosti with reference to the Anatoli newspaper.
 

The tallest statue of Jesus is in Poland

The statue of “Christ the Redeemer,” towering over the picturesque mountain of Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is probably the most iconic representation of Jesus in the world. But when it comes to actual size, Cristo Redentor actually ranks in second place. According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the tallest statue of Jesus is in Świebodzin, Poland.

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On the occasion of the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi, we reaffirm our mutual cooperation towards the improvement of the health and wellbeing of communities in need.
 
Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede need a head for heights. As wall painting conservation experts, they often clamber up scaffolding to view rare surviving images in churches across Britain.  --  But this year they have faced risks that are extreme even by their standards: scaling death-defying heights and sheer cliff faces to reach extraordinary paintings within churches in remote areas of northern Ethiopia.

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On Friday, November 15, 2019, the Vatican announced that the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, having received the prior consent of the Pope, made the canonical election of Father Stepan Sus, priest of the Lviv Archdiocese of the UGCC, as Bishop of the Curia of the Major Archbishop of the UGCC. He has been assigned the Titular See of Zygris.

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“Peace between religions is a fundamental prerequisite for peace between peoples and cultures,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew points out in his recorded message to the International Conference on “Religion in the Modern World: Challenges and Prospects for Dialogue and Peace”, which is co-organized by “Foreign Affairs The Hellenic Edition” magazine and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

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After the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, who first commemorated with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the name of the new Metropolitan of Kyiv, follows Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria who commemorated Metropolitan Epifaniy, thus recognizing the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

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Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, told the KP daily how he was received in Washington, how the church situation has changed under Zelensky and whether Russia needs building ‘three churches a day’. ---   Under Zelensky the faithful have been able to sigh with relief

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On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, EU Bishops call upon all Europeans to work together towards a free and united Europe “through a renewed process of dialogue […] for a common peaceful future”. COMECE Vice-President H.E. Mgr. Overbeck (Germany): “it is a call on the European people to cooperate in solidarity”.

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Moscow, November 6, Interfax - The United States had a hand in the granting of autocephaly to the new church of Ukraine and is seeking to split the Orthodox world even more, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. --  "I didn't hear that the Church of Greece officially recognized the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine. I've heard that there is a letter by Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece addressed to the leader of the schismatics, but I didn't see an official statement by the Church of Greece," Lavrov said at a press conference following negotiations with the foreign minister of Greece in Moscow on Wednesday.

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(The Conversation) — Senators Jacky Rosen and James Lankford, who describe themselves as “a practicing Jewish Democrat from Nevada and a devoted Christian Republican from Oklahoma,” are spearheading a new effort to fight an old problem: anti-Semitism in America.

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The Consul General of China in Istanbul made an official visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Wednesday. --  Cui Wei is the first Chinese official to visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and was briefed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch on the activities of the Greek Orthodox metropolitan diocese of Hong Kong on spiritual and religious activities, including the latest news on the Orthodox Christians who live there.
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BOSTON – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is expected to visit the United States in May of 2020, invited by the U.S. government and more specifically by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in order to speak at a conference about the protection of the Natural Environment.

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(Budapest, Hungary) Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday at a meeting with heads of Christian churches in the Middle East Russia was worried about a mass exodus of Christians from the Middle East and their plight in that region.

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October 30, 2019 – the Christian Inter-Confessional Consultative Committee is holding its 6th Plenary Session at the conference hall of President Hotel in Moscow under the theme ‘The Eternal Power of the Gospel and Its Significance for the Modern Society’. Among the attendees are representatives of Christian confessions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russian Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
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BERUIT - Lebanon’s Maronite bishops, commending the unity of the Lebanese people amid a peaceful mass uprising demanding a new government, called for a “constructive spirit” following the resignation of the country’s prime minister. -  “The Lord is leading the ship of the homeland and we hope that this step will be the beginning of the solution,” Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch, said in response to the resignation of Saad Hariri.

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