Flood of Iraqi Christian Refugees Renewing the Church In Syria

Syria has facilitated the reception of Iraqi refugees. Thousands of them have come, above all to Damascus, and hundreds of them continue to come to flee from death and the violence they have suffered since 2003. U.N. agencies organize their exodus to other more clement skies. While waiting for their visas, these refugees stay in Damascus, at times for two or three years and sometimes more.

These well-formed Christians, fervent and practicing, take refuge in Christian faith and hope. They fill our churches, invigorate our parishes and reinforce the Christian faith in Syria, offering new encouragement to our parishes.

Iraqi refugees take part assiduously in daily Mass despite the fact they come from far away, on foot or public transport.

On asking for confession before receiving Communion, these refugees have accelerated the return to the confessional which now has waiting queues.

Their devotion to the saints and veneration of the Virgin has relaunched the production of candles and the niches of the saints both within and outside the churches are illuminated day and night.

Their children are numerous in the catechism and first Communion classes. Young people are involved in the choirs and liturgies of different churches.

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Editor’s note: It’s true. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

Four Modern Day Martyrs, But Only Three To Be Beatified By the Church

Soon-to-be beatified priests, along with fellow martyred Lutheran pastor, were ‘shining lights on our common ecumenical path.’

LUBECK, Germany (CNS) — As the Nazi executioner beheaded three Catholic priests and a Lutheran pastor, one after another in a matter of minutes, their blood flowed together, creating a powerful symbol for ecumenism in northern Germany.

On June 25, the three Catholic martyrs of Lubeck — Fathers Johannes Prassek, Eduard Muller and Hermann Lange — will be beatified in the historic city’s Sacred Heart Church, a stone’s throw away from the Lubeck Cathedral, the ministerial home of the Rev. Karl Friedrich Stellbrink, their Lutheran counterpart. Rev. Stellbrink will be honored in a special way that day as well.

The four were executed in Hamburg Nov. 10, 1943. All had been found guilty of disseminating anti-Nazi material — such as the homilies of Cardinal Clemens von Galen of Munster — and other “treasonous” activities.

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How the Apostles Were Martyred

…Have you recalled that martyrs died so you could have this faith? Every one of the Apostles except St. John the Evangelist died a martyr’s death for our capacity to know that Jesus is Lord and that he died and rose for us.

Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross after being scourged. He preached to his tormentors to his last breath.

Bartholomew had his skin flayed off.

James the Great (Son of Zebedee) was beheaded.

James the Younger was cast off the Southeast pinnacle of the Temple. When the 100 foot drop did not fully kill him he was beat to death with clubs.

John the Evangelist was thrown into a vat of boiling oil and when he miraculously survived he was sent to prison on the Isle where Patmos where he died years later.

Jude was shot through with arrows.

Mark was dragged to death by horses.

Matthew was killed with a sword.

Phillip was beheaded.

Peter was crucified upside down.

Thomas was stabbed to death with a spear

St. Matthias was stoned then beheaded.

Paul was beheaded.

Luke was Hanged to death.

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The Christian Catacombs of Rome

The Christian Catacombs of Rome

What really are the catacombs? Why did the Christians dig their cemeteries underground? When did they originate? Why did they develop so extensively? Why are they located outside the city walls, along the great consular roads?

Is it true that the catacombs were the secret hiding places of the Christians during the persecutions? Since the catacombs are only cemeteries, how can they tell us the history of the early Church in Rome?

Why did the Christians use so many symbols? Why were the Christians persecuted? Did the persecutions last uninterruptedly for centuries? What was the behaviour of the Christians during the persecutions? Did they suffer them passively, without any resistance or did they react to this injustice? How many martyrs were there?

Are the “Passions” of the Martyrs documented history or legendary narratives? Why do we find so many inscriptions in Greek? Why do we find the tombs nearly all open and empty? How many catacombs are open to the public? What is the importance of the Catacombs for the Church of today?

For all of this and much more, go here

See also: the Scavi site