By Vatican News
 
By Nathan Morley
 
Stop the funding of the Libyan coastguard and solve the complex situation of migrants in Libya. As for the increased migrant landings in Sicily, “the arrival of refugees in the summer season and in the midst of the Covid crisis could have been anticipated two months ago. Advance planning would have prevented erratic approaches." Interview with Father Camillo Ripamonti, from Centro Astalli Refugee Service

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Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew on Tuesday thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the restoration of Sumela Monastery and its reopening to visit.  -  Turkey’s Communications Directorate said in a statement that Erdogan and Bartholomew talked over the phone.

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(Peter Anderson) Two days of negotiations between the experts of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the experts of the government of Montenegro ended today (July 21) without a resolution being reached on the very controversial law on religion.  After the end of the negotiations, the Montenegro government issued a press release with a statement from Prime Minister Duško Marković describing what occurred at the negotiations. http://www.gov.me/en/News/229599/PM-Markovic-Talks-between-legal-experts-of-Government-and-Serbian-Orthodox-Church-ended-without-results-we-asked-Serbian-Orthodo.html  (official English version).  The press release quotes the Prime Minister as follows:
  During the second round of expert talks, held yesterday and today, we accepted:
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The head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis is among the guests invited to attend Hagia Sophia’s reopening as a mosque, Turkish Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on Sunday
 
Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria on Monday denied reports that he had contracted the coronavirus.
 
The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, contacted Pope Francis today regarding the decision of the Turkish authorities to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Katerina Sakellaropoulou stressed that this decision deeply distressed those who believe that this leading symbol of Christianity belongs to humanity and the world cultural heritage and moves Turkey away from the values of secularism and the principles of tolerance and pluralism.

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The change of status concerning Istanbul’s historic Hagia Sophia has caused widespread concern, not least on the part of UNESCO, who designated the building a world heritage site and who have called for the universal value of world heritage to be preserved. In response to this development, the multireligious Board of the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) issued the following statement.

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The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church expresses its profound regret over the decision of the state leadership of Turkey to revoke the museum status of Hagia Sophia and to give it to the Muslim community for public worship.

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(The National Herald) As Brothers in Christ, and the leaders of our respective communities here in New York, we lament and decry the decision of the Turkish government to change the status quo of the world renown Hagia Sophia, and re-convert this monument of
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently had a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which the issue of converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque by a decision of the Turkish president was discussed.

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At the same time, new information is coming to light about the changes that will take place in Hagia Sophia in order to turn it into a mosque.
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The latest string of violence in Ethiopia was painted as ethnic violence. Archbishop Abune Henok, whose diocese is in the West Arsi zone of Oromo regional state of Ethiopia, said Orthodox Christians were targeted, and that he does not agree with the assertion that the attack was an ethnic one.

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Les faitsLe gouvernement soudanais a annoncé samedi 11 juillet l’abolition de la peine de mort pour apostasie de l’islam. D’autres mesures ont été adoptées, parmi lesquelles l’interdiction de l’excision et la possibilité pour les chrétiens d’importer, de vendre et de consommer de l’alcool.

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BEIRUT - Lebanon's top Christian cleric stepped up criticism of the Iran-backed Shi'ite group Hezbollah and its allies without naming them on Sunday, saying Lebanese rejected being isolated from their allies and driven into decline.

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Turks have always been and will always be uncivilized and rude, Archbishop Chrysostomos said on Sunday, in a damning statement over the decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.  The powers that be and Europeans in particular, see only their economic interests and nothing else, he added.

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Turkish authorities have begun conducting inspections in Hagia Sophia as part of preparations so that the monument can be used for Muslim prayer, as reported by ANA-MPA, a day after the Turkish Council of State decided to pave the way for its conversion from a museum to a mosque.

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Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis has started making telephone calls at an international level in response to the decision regarding the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis contacts Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
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Geneva, 11 July, 2020: In a letter to H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, the World Council of Churches interim general secretary Rev. Prof Dr Ioan Sauca is expressing his fervent hope and prayer that Hagia Sophia will not become once again a focus of confrontation and conflict, but will be restored to the emblematic unifying role that it has served since 1934. Read the full letter:

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Moscow, July 10, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church is foreseeing negative implications of a global scale from the turning of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia cathedral into a mosque. 
"This is an event that may have serious consequences for the entire human civilization. It is regrettable that the Turkish leader didn't have the statesmanship," deputy head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov told Interfax on Friday.

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On Wednesday, July 8, 2020, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem stated the following regarding the keeping of the status of the Church of Hagia Sophia:   It is with utmost seriousness that We express Our concern over recent calls from members of the Turkish government to alter the current status of the Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque.

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On the seventh anniversary of the visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa, Pope Francis called for an “examination of conscience” on migrants and on the hell they live in Libya, of which “they are giving us a distilled version.” “The culture of comfort makes us insensitive to the cries of other people, makes us live in soap bubbles”, Francis said, once again guarding against “the globalization of indifference”
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By Vatican News
 
TEHRAN (IQNA) – The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, Ahmed el-Tayeb, discussed with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, ways of developing their ties and reinforcing their dialogue, in addition to several topics of mutual concern.

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In 1940, in the midst of World War II, Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes issued more than 30,000 visas to refugees leaving France. Around 10,000 of them were Jews.

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We, the Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities in Jerusalem, stand united in our commitment to safeguard the historical Status Quo of the Holy Sites and rights of the Churches which are universally recognised.  The case of Jaffa Gate threatens this Status Quo. We are concerned by the recent judgment of the District Court of Jerusalem, which dismissed evidence demonstrating the Greek Orthodox Church case. We strongly support the efforts of the Greek Orthodox Church in their plea for justice.
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We, the Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities in Jerusalem, stand united in our commitment to safeguard the historical Status Quo of the Holy Sites and rights of the Churches which are universally recognised. The case of Jaffa Gate threatens this Status Quo. We are concerned by the recent judgment of the District Court of Jerusalem, which dismissed evidence demonstrating the Greek Orthodox Church case. We strongly support the efforts of the Greek Orthodox Church in their plea for justice.
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