||FIRST, THE NEWS:
HUNGARIAN CHURCH OKS GOVERNMENT MOVE TO PROTECT ITS PEOPLE BY KEEPING MIGRANTS OUT
from Christian Today
(5 Oct) A Christian Church in southern Hungary is thanking God and the Hungarian government for protecting its people by sealing the country's border with Serbia to stem the influx of Muslim migrants who want to seek refuge in their area. "We are thankful to God that our country has a government now which regards the protection of our country and people as a task given by God... while it promotes and practices brotherly love toward those arriving in our homeland," the Reformed Church of Csongrad diocese said in a statement picked up by Reuters. The church said the border protection action taken by the Hungarian police was "professional, proportionate and humane."
"We are aware that most migrants arrive from countries which are open enemies of Jesus Christ and Christianity and in which Christians are persecuted for their faith. Those who come here may not have participated in this actively, but it is enough if they agreed with the persecution or did not raise their voice against it, while coming here they demand their human rights to be observed," the church statement said. Hungary, a landlocked country whose government has been criticised by its European Union neighbours for its anti-foreigner stance, has reportedly become a main transit route for hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving via the Balkans to the south.
Reuters said more than 280,000 migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have passed through Hungary in central Europe this year seeking sanctuary in the wealthier countries of the western EU. Csongrad county lies on the border with Serbia. Andras Juhasz, dean of the Protestant diocese, told Reuters that the church was compelled to raise its voice given "what was happening in this part of the country. We felt that Christian people could not remain silent in this situation," he said. [read more...]
KAZAKHSTAN: SECRET POLICE ARREST, HOLD ADVENTIST 3 MONTHS IN PRE-TRIAL CUSTODY
by Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service
(7 Oct) Currently imprisoned in pre-trial custody for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief is 54-year-old Seventh-day Adventist Yklas Kabduakasov in Kazakhstan. The criminal case against him was handed for trial to Astana's Saryarka District Court No. 2 on 25 September, where it was assigned to Judge Akmaral Isayeva, according to court records. Kabduakasov was arrested in Astana on 14 August by the KNB secret police. They claim he was spreading "religious discord" when discussing his faith with and offering Christian books to others.
According to an earlier Forum 18 report, Kazakhstan's KNB secret police had arrested Seventh-day Adventist Yklas Kabduakasov on the evening of 14 August after searching his home in the capital Astana and confiscating religious books. Also searched the same day was the Adventist church where he worships. On 15 August an Astana court ordered he be held in two-month pre-trial detention at the secret police Investigation Prison, the court chancellery told Forum 18 News Service. [read more...]
KREMLIN THANKS RUSSIAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS FOR SUPPORT FIGHT AGAINST TERROR IN SYRIA
(9 Oct) The Kremlin is grateful to Russia's religious leaders "for their unconditional support of our country's efforts against international terrorists in Syria," Russian presidential chief-of-staff Sergey Ivanov said at a session of the Council for Interaction with Religious Organizations, according to the Kremlin website.
"It is the true servants of faith who are able today to do a great deal to prevent threats linked with provoking conflicts along ethnic and religious lines," Ivanov said. The council's meeting addressed ways to bolster joint efforts of state institutions and the clergy to harmonize relations between representatives of different ethnic groups and faiths, the Kremlin said on its website. [read more...]
RUSSIA AND ITS ORTHODOX CHURCH DECLARE ‘HOLY WAR’ ON ISLAMIC STATE
by Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage Mag
(7 Oct) The Russian Orthodox Christian Church, which is reclaiming its traditional role in post-Soviet Russia, has just described its government’s fight against the Islamic State and other jihadi groups in Syria as a “holy war.” According to Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Church’s Public Affairs Department, "The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it. The Russian Federation has made a responsible decision on the use of armed forces to defend the People of Syria from the sorrows caused by the arbitrariness of terrorists. Christians are suffering in the region with the kidnapping of clerics and the destruction of churches. Muslims are suffering no less."
This is not a pretext to justify intervention in Syria. For years, Russia’s Orthodox leaders have been voicing their concern for persecuted Christians. Back in February 2012, the Russian church described to Vladimir Putin the horrific treatment Christians are experiencing around the world, especially under Islam. The head of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hillarion, said that every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the world, specifying that he was talking about such countries as Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The cleric asked Putin to make the protection of Christians one of the foreign policy directions in future. “This is how it will be, have no doubt,” Putin answered. [read more...]
(1 Oct) From September 21 to October 2, 2015, the OSCE meeting was held in Warsaw, Poland to consider fulfillment of the commitments within the human dimension, in particular the issues of implementation of human rights in various fields. The event was also attended by representatives of the governments of the countries - members of the OSCE, including Ukraine, representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine in Poland, representatives of some Ukrainian confessions, human rights activists and lawyers. The conflict between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (KP) was one of the issues discussed by the participants of the meeting.
According to the UOC representative, “while at the central level the authorities are trying to lead a balanced religious policy, there are a lot of abuses at the local level. A separate field, as emphasized in the UOC (MP), where the most violations of the rights of believers occur, are the so-called transitions of parishes from the UOC (MP) to UOC (KP)." The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (KP) offered to involve the OSCE and the Ukrainian government to solve problems with the church buildings of the religious communities who have decided to switch from the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate to the UOC (KP).
“Taking advantage of the opportunity and the presence of a representative of this church [UOC (MP) - ed.] we suggest holding constructive talks with our two churches aimed at development and approval of the pattern of actual solution to the problem solution with participation of representatives of the OSCE and the Government of Ukraine. We suggest that the issues of ownership of a church building in each case would be resolved in favor of the majority of the community and the minority was provided withsome other premises, or the majority and minority could serve worship alternately,” said Archbishop Yevstratiy Zorya, Archbishop of Chernighiv and Nizhyn of the UOC (KP). [read more...]
METROPOLITAN PAVEL: JOINT PRAYER FOR BELARUS WILL BE HEARD
from Belarus News
(5 Oct) Believers of different confessions came together in joint prayer for Belarus, and because of this the prayer will be heard, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl Pavel said when talking to believers at All Saints Church in Minsk on 2 October, BelTA has learned. The solemn ceremony "Prayer for Belarus" was attended by representatives of different religious confessions. "Today we offer our prayers and these prayers will be heard by God because we are together, we are for peace and prosperity of our motherland. Let peaceful sky always be above our people and our Fatherland and let God's blessings reside on our blessed Belarusian land,” Metropolitan Pavel said.
Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz told reporters that it was no accident that Belarus hosted the peace negotiations. Belarusians have always shown respect for each other, have always had a balance of opinion. "Good relations between different confessions help avoid inter-faith conflicts," he added. The Chairman of the Muslim religious association in Belarus Mufti Abu-Bekir Shabanovich, in turn, stressed that "all people living in Belarus are peaceful.” He said that when representatives of Muslim Tatars are asked how many of them live in Belarus, they answer: "About 10 million together with Belarusians. We have a common fate, common life.” [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
HEAD OF POLISH ORTHODOX CHURCH ACCUSES KIEV OF BEING UNABLE TO PROTECT THE FAITHFUL
A SINGLE PROTESTANT VOICE IN RUSSIA IS NO MORE
from Russian Evangelical Alliance
WINTER APPROACHES, REBEL AID BAN ILL-TIMED FOR UKRAINE
from Mission Network News
UGCC AND UAOC PRIMATES DISCUSSED PROSPECTS OF COOPERATION
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
SYRIAN CHRISTIANS OUTRAGED BY STATEMENTS OF RUSSIAN CHURCH ABOUT "HOLY WAR"
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine (tr.)
RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT REACTS TO PHOTOS COMPROMISING PATRIARCH KIRILL BY CLASSIFYING INFORMATION
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH DELEGATION ATTENDS COMMEMORATION OF GENOCIDE IN ARMENIA
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
UKRAINE: BRINGING HOPE TO LIVES IN DISPAIR
from Mission Eurasia
LARGE NEW MOSCOW MUSEUM OF TSARS AND RUSSIAN CHRISTIANITY TO OPEN IN DECEMBER
from Russia Insider - Culture
UKRAINE RISKS BECOMING 'SOME KIND OF SOMALIA'
from The Tablet
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NOW, OUR VIEWS:
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The mass migration (some say "invasion") by mostly Muslim refugees into western Europe seeking asylum from war's destruction and destitution in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and northern Africa confronts us as Christians with a dilemma: do we aid the foriegners in our midst, or do we close the door to those who are bringing with them their own religion and culture that is antithetical to ours? This is the problem addressed in our first news article HUNGARIAN CHURCH OKS GOVERNMENT MOVE TO PROTECT ITS PEOPLE BY KEEPING MIGRANTS OUT. In the Old Testament, the Jews were taught to accept and provide for foreigners, but they were not to remain perpetual "outsiders" who kept to their previous worship and way of life - they had to worship Yahweh and obey Jewish laws.
In our third news article KREMLIN THANKS RUSSIAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS FOR SUPPORT FIGHT AGAINST TERROR IN SYRIA, and in our fourth RUSSIA AND ITS ORTHODOX CHURCH DECLARE ‘HOLY WAR’ ON ISLAMIC STATE, we see Russia's ideological justification for its entry into the fighting in Syria and Iraq as a "holy war" to defend Middle Eastern Orthodox Christians. But such terminology is a two-edged sword: as our fifth "other news" headline SYRIAN CHRISTIANS OUTRAGED BY STATEMENTS OF RUSSIAN CHURCH ABOUT 'HOLY WAR' explains, the term "holy war" can boomerang back on Russia - it was invented during the Crusades, which have left an unhealed scar in Moslem lands for several centuries. The Arabic word for it is "jihad," and by using that phrase Russia may be calling jihad upon itself.
Take the time to read the whole articles under our "other news" headlines, especially RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT REACTS TO PHOTOS COMPROMISING PATRIARCH KIRILL BY CLASSIFYING INFORMATION. While Russian and Ukrainian solders kill each other, and while Russian jets are killing Moslems in Syria, Patriarch Kirill enjoys his holiday on a $750,000 private yacht on the Black Sea off the coast where his private luxury villa is located. Oh, the trials and tribulations of suffering for Jesus while tending to the flock of God!
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DON'T COUNT ON IT!
The Old Testament Jews trusted in their Temple as a talisman that would always protect them from harm - even if they strayed from God's commandments. The Lord would always keep guard over His Temple.
But the prophet Jeremiah warned them: "Don't count on the Temple! If you don't change your ways and start giving justice to the foreigners, orphans and widows in your midst, if you keep on shedding innocent blood by sacrificing babies to Baal, stealing, committing murder and adultery, and think that the Temple will protect you, DON'T COUNT ON IT!"
In today's context we could say - DON'T COUNT ON YOUR CHURCHGOING! Don't count on your baptism or taking communion once or twice a year, don't count on your Bible reading or studying the Church Fathers, your knowledge of doctrines inside and out and backwards and forwards. "What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).
And yet, I find myself patting my back, thinking - "What a good guy I am! I go to church every Sunday, I read the Bible and say my prayers often during the day, I even memorize lots of Bible texts! And I do my little thing of volunteer work for the poor once a week or so!"
But what about those thousands of fighters killing each other and civilians being killed in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere? What are we actually doing to stop this carnage and destruction? Or do we just passively swallow the propaganda our respective governments and media pump out to justify this murder and mayhem?
What about the discrimination and outright persecution of Christians in the former USSR, China, Vietnam, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Egypt and the Middle East? What can we DO about all these atrocities?
Yes, the problems of the world are overwhelming, and it's easy to simply sigh and say - "It's just too much! I can't do everything!" But we can do something: it doesn't give us an excuse to do nothing.
We can start with the persons next door, or across the street who are poor, or disabled, or elderly and can't take care of themselves. We can mow their lawn, or shovel their snow, or fix their broken-down front porch. And even if you're old and weak, you can pick up the phone and cheer someone up with a friendly call, or write them a letter or send a card.
Continue reading in our Hosken-News Blog.
Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. The measure of a man is not how much he has accumulated for himself, but how much he has done for others.