Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35
A tribute to all the Victims of communism and Red terror in Poland and a tribute to Pope John Paul II who is about to be proclaimed a Catholic Saint
YES it is in Europe and particularly in Central Europe and YES it was occupied by the communists for decades and the church was persecuted and forbidden and YES it is one of the most religious and devoted Christian countries in the world !
For many, “God is dead in Europe”. Western Europe, the cradle of modern Christianity, has become a "post-Christian society" in which the ruling class and cultural leaders are anti-religious or "Christophobic," writes George Weigel, a Catholic columnist and U.S. biographer of Pope John Paul II.
But Poland makes an exception (along with Ireland) in this de-Christianized society. And what is striking in Poland is the contrast with its surrounding neighbors and specially the Czech Republic.
For comparison, in Poland more than 55% of polish attends church regularly versus 5% only in Czech Republic!!! More than 90% of polish declares themselves as catholic while the opposite is true in Czech Republic where more than 50 % are atheists and only 26% are catholic. There now seem to be as many statues of Pope John Paul II as there once were of V.I. Lenin in Poland.
This catholic faith is influencing every aspect of the polish life, from politics to media and society. The two major political parties in Poland Law and Justice (Polish: Prawo i Sprawiedliwość ) and The Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska, PO) are both of religious catholic affiliation and they account together for around 74 % of the total votes far in front of the left party Left and Democrats (Lewica i Demokraci, LiD) which accounts for 13 % (the fourth political power in the country is another Christian right party : The Polish People's Party which accounts for 8.91 of the votes). So the Christian right parties account together for more than 82% of the popular votes and "What's new in Poland is that political parties want to express their Catholicism," said Pawel Spiewak, a Polish sociologist and expert on right-wing politics.
Last September Pope Benedict XVI was in Czech Republic, he made this special trip to the Land of Nonbelievers to try to revive the Christian faith in this atheist country. A new era of evangelization is about to and should start in Europe and in this Poland is expected to play a crucial role and to serve as a model of how countries and people should remain attached to their faith and Heritage despite all the difficulties and challenges they face. It's very nice to see that the Polish nation refuses to forget its own rich heritage, which is strongly linked to the Catholic faith. May they be an inspiration for the rest of the European continent!
Further Reading : Religion takes a back seat in Western Europe
Is God dead in Europe?
Catholic influence remains strong in Poland
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
St. Luke 2: 1 – 14
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them at the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Asia accounts for 60 % of world total population, but only 8 % of world’s Christians live in Asia (2006 numbers).
For many decades and centuries Christianity was perceived in Asia as a product of western culture and civilization. Asians perceive Christianity as an "alien" religion, even though "Jesus was born in Asia."
But the face of Christianity is changing in this continent and this is because of South Korea. Christianity arrived first to Korea in the 1784 when the first Catholic prayer-house was established in Korea. Protestantism followed in 1884, but growth of both was slow until the middle of the twentieth century.
Until 1960 only around 5 % of Koreans were Christians. Nowadays more than 50 % are Christians making it for sure the first religion in this country before Buddhism (the number varies due to the confusion between religion and traditions , many Christians in Korea still practice their ancestral Buddhist traditions and many Koreans don’t declare their religion). Christianity in Korea is the fastest growing religion. It is mainly protestant, but Roman Catholicism is also growing so fast.
Another face of Korean Christianity is the missionaries. Korea is the second country in the world in Evangelization after the US, sending alone 16 500 missionaries in 173 countries around the globe, of them 126 persons have died while accomplishing their missions! (Source: Korean World Mission Association KWMA). South Korea sends more than 1,100 new missionaries annually. That means Korea alone sends out as many new missionaries each year as all of the countries of the West combined.
Mission experts estimate that 1.8 billion individuals in thousands of ethnic groups remain unexposed to the gospel. South Korean missionaries, in particular, are pioneering projects and methods to spread the gospel in these areas. Korea sends 34 percent of its missionaries to unreached peoples; the international average is around 10 percent.
Christians in South Korea see their missionaries as uniquely positioned to bridge the divide between the wealthy West and majority-world nations. Moreover Korean missionaries often target dangerous countries in the word such as Chechnya, Iraq (On May 30, 2004, terrorists in Iraq linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi kidnapped Kim Sun Il, a Korean interpreter. He was executed on the 22nd of June)and Afghanistan (in 2007 23 South Korean evangelists have been kidnapped by Taliban in Afghanistan).
Korean World Mission Association (KWMA) plans to send 100,000 full-time Korean missionaries by 2030. They hope to mobilize 50 percent of Korean churches to be involved in missions, recruit 1 of every 300 Korean Christians to become missionaries, adopt 200 unreached people groups every five years, and send 1 million tentmakers into difficult-access countries by 2020. (source Christianity Today : Mission Incredible).
In conclusion , Christianity is South Korea is in a continuous progress and the future of evangelization and Christianity in the world depend much on the Korean brave missionaries.
More Info : History of Christianity in Korea
Christianity in Korea
Korean world mission association
Saturday, November 7, 2009
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, otherwise known as East Timor, is located in the eastern half of the island of Timor which lies off the northern coast of Western Australia in the Indonesian archipelago.
It’s a small country of 14,870 km2 , and with a population of 1,134,000.
East Timor is an extremely poor country. The economy is based predominantly on agriculture which employs over 90% of the population.
It is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia (along with the Philippines). Catholics make around 97 % of the population.
The history of the country dates back to 1520 when it was first colonized by the Portuguese. At this time the Dutch were in control of several of the surrounding islands. By 1613 the Dutch had taken control of the western portion of Timor. The Dutch and Portuguese fought for control over the island until 1860. At this time a treaty was made dividing Timor into eastern and western portions.
The treaty gave the western portion to the Netherlands and the eastern portion to Portugal. Eventually the Netherlands gave up its colonies in the Dutch West Indies including West Timor, giving birth to Indonesia. The Dutch recognized the western part of Timor as Indonesia in 1949.
The Portuguese remained in control of East Timor for 455 years, until 1975. A military coup in Portugal in 1974 increased political activity both in Portugal and Portuguese Timor. In 1975 Portugal pulled out of East Timor, leaving it vulnerable to invasion or conquest. The Timorese Democratic Union demanded independence.
July 16, 1976, nine days after East Timor was declared an independent nation, it was invaded and annexed by Indonesia. In July of 1976 East Timor was declared the 27th province of Indonesia. Indonesia occupied East Timor for the next twenty four years. Indonesian rule in East Timor was marked by extreme violence and brutality. More than 200,000 Timorese reportedly died from famine, disease, and fighting since the country’s annexation . The most cruel of these crimes was the Santa Cruz Massacre on November 12, 1991, where Indonesian troops fired upon a peaceful memorial procession to a cemetery in Dili, East Timor that had turned into a pro-independence demonstration. More than 271 East Timorese were killed that day at the Santa Cruz cemetery or in hospitals soon after. An equal number were disappeared and are believed dead. Moreover Indonesia tried to change the demographics of the country by bringing Indonesian Muslim settlers.
On August 30, 1999, a UN-supervised popular referendum was held to choose between Special Autonomy within Indonesia and independence. 78.5% of voters chose independence, but violent clashes, instigated primarily by elements within the Indonesian military and aided by Timorese pro-Indonesia militias broke out soon afterwards. A peacekeeping force was sent to restore order.
By the end of October 1999 the last of the Indonesian soldiers had left East Timor. For the next three years East Timor was governed by the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor.
East Timor declared itself a nation on May 20, 2002. Mari Alkatiri, a former guerrilla leader was elected Prime Minister and former rebel leader, José Alezandre Gusmão, was elected president.
Human Rights Organizations claim that 200,000 of the 650,000 Timorese people were killed during the annexation by the Indonesian forces. The Indonesian occupation and invasion of East Timor is one of the worst atrocities of the twenty first century.
More info : Conflict in East Timor
Santa Cruz Massacre
Monday, November 2, 2009
Around 10 - 12 million Lebanese live abroad, of whom more than 75 % are Christians.
These Lebanese are having children , but unfortunately aren't registering them as Lebanese , which makes that the 2nd and 3rd generation Lebanese aren't officially Lebanese..
So Lebanon is loosing in it's christian population ... in order to prevent this every Lebanese born outside should be registered in Lebanon.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
This article is dedicated to all the victims of communism worldwide.
For the major part of its history Spain has always been a land of Catholicism, it is the traditional land of the Reconquista, the Cid and the catholic kings (los Reyes catolicos). It is because of the Spanish empire that 500 million claim to be Catholics.
But this glorious Christian heritage and past is marked by a Dark period in which being Christian was a crime in the land that always was a fervent defender of Christianity… it is what is called the “Red terror”, another criminal record in the hall of fame of communism.
Between 1873 and 1931, Spain was having a political instability; the monarchy fell in 1873 leaving a place for the 1st Spanish republic and the 2nd in 1931. The political debate in the country was between defenders of the monarchy (conservatives) and communist all along with other left groups.
After the general election of 1936 tensions escalated between the two rivals and soon turned violent into clashes. Both parties fought each other in what was called later the Spanish civil war, but the atrocities committed by the communists (called Republicans in opposition to the right groups called nationalists) were by far barbaric and criminal.
The first year of the war witnessed the most terrible massacres: priests, nuns, clergy, monks, church attendants, bourgeoisies, politicians, industrialists …. Were slaughtered and murdered for the Christian faith. The catholic church of Spain lost 20 % of its clergy (6,832) in what was recognized to be the most severe persecution of Christians in the western world (de la Cueva 1998, p. 355)!!!
The death toll was not exactly known, it is estimated that between 38000 and 110000 were murdered by the communists (men of a Mancha). All this along with the destruction and burning of monasteries and churches all over the country.
Oct 28, 2007 the Vatican beatified 498 Spanish civil war victims. The pope paid tribute to the "martyrs" of the war, saying they "paid in blood for their faith in Christ and his Church" (ABC news).
Further details: Red Terror (Spain) on Wikipedia
Sunday, October 4, 2009
This is the second article in a series of articles I will write about Turkey and the EU and in which I will explain the reasons why Turkey doesn’t belong and shouldn’t join the EU.
In order to join the EU, a country should reach a certain level of political and military stability, and this is far in turkey’s case.
Four major Geopolitical issues face Turkey; I will talk briefly about each one hoping to develop each issue in a specific single article.
1- The Kurdish Problem : The Kurdish problem is one of the main obstacles preventing Turkey to integrate into the European family, because it’s directly related to internal stability and security issues. There are two explanations of this problem : in the west and in the third world, the Kurdish issue is understood as an ethnic problem, an oppression of a minority by the Turkish majority, and viewed as a liberty struggle; on the other hand Turkey doesn’t consider it a Kurdish problem but rather a socio-economic problem and terrorism supported by foreign states.
2- The Cypriot Issue : In 1971 Turkish troops invaded Cyprus occupying 36% of the island. In the Turkish republic of northern Cyprus was declared and recognized only by Turkey. Since the Turkish invasion Turkey has maintained a policy of bringing in thousands of Anatolians colonists to settle the occupied land, thus changing the demographic character of the island so that the Turkish-speaking population outnumbers the Greek Cypriots. Long term this will justify inordinate claims of the Turkish side at the negotiating table regarding territorial arrangements and political power in a final settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The presence of colonists in the occupied part of Cyprus is a direct violation of the European convention of Human rights. This policy has been condemned in various resolutions of the UN, the EU parliament, the council of Europe and other international organizations.
3- The Armenian question : during the first world war turkey conducted a systematic eradication and genocide of the Armenian people. The massacres started in April 1915, and by the end of 1917 around 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives as well as millions of refugees that made what we know nowadays as the Armenian Diaspora ( around 6 millions).
In 1987 the European parliament decided the mass killings of Armenians minority in Turkey in 1915-1918 to be a crime of genocide under the UN convention on Genocide and defined Turkish denial of the fact as “ insurmountable obstacle to consideration of the possibility of Turkey’s accession to the European community “ (Eur. Parl. Resolution Doc. A2-33/87, NO.10). In 2005 the European parliament voted for a non-binding resolution blocking EU membership if Ankara refused to recognize the Genocide.
4- The Aegean dispute : Since decades, Turkey is in dispute with Greece over sovereignty in the area of the Aegean Sea. The conflict has created political crisis, with a near military action around 1987 and in early 1996. The dispute is divided into many categories : delimitation of territorial waters, delimitation of the national air-space, delimitation of exclusive economic zones. Both countries, Greece and Turkey possess zones of influence in the air and on the sea around their territories. The majority of the islands on the Aegean belong to Greece, despite the two countries having equal shares of coastlines. The conflict arises from concerns from both sides; Turkey is concerned that Greece would turn the Aegean into a “Greek lake” and Greece is worried that Turkey might try to occupy at least half of the Aegean by creating zones of influence toward the middle, thus surrounding the Greek islands by Turkish waters.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked Armenian region in southern caucuses. It has an area of 8223 km2 and it is mainly a mountainous region. In 2007 the population was around 138000 of whom 95% are Armenians with the remaining 5% of Kurds, Greeks and Assyrians.
The region is disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In 1920 Azerbaijan was proclaimed a soviet republic, shortly after, the newly proclaimed republic along with Russia started threatening Armenia in order to withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh. Later on, under Stalin rule, the region was annexed to Azerbaijan. During decades under soviet rule, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh protested the discrimination and the persecussion they suffered.
In attempt to change the ethnic structure and the demographics of the region, the government of Azerbaijan tried all the means to inhibit the economic growth in the region as well as cultural discrimination (many institutes and schools were closed, the Armenians newspapers were forbidden…).
On the 13th of February 1988 protests erupted in Stepanakert the capital of Karabakh and a demand of reunification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia was refused by the soviet authorities.
In response to the protests, the Azerbaijani Government conducted a series of pogroms in Sumgait, near Baku, against the Armenians between the 26th and 28th of February which led the Armenians in Karabach to organize a resistance against the ethnic cleansing of Armenian people in Azerbaijan.
Between 1989 and 1992 the Azerbaijanis seiged the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, invaded the Armenian villages deporting 24 villages and killing hundreds of Armenians.
September 1991, Nagorno-Karabakh declared itself an independent republic. The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. As many as one thousand Afghan mujahedeen participated in the fighting on Azerbaijan's side. There were also fighters from Chechnya fighting on the side of Azerbaijan.
By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. By May 1994, the Armenians were in control of 14% of the territory of Azerbaijan. At that stage, the Azerbaijani government for the first time during the conflict recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as a third party in the war, and started direct negotiations with the Karabakh authorities. As a result, an unofficial cease fire was reached on May 12, 1994 through Russian negotiation.
In 1999 the Azerbaijanis violated the 5 years cease fire. Since then negotiations were resumed. As of August, 2008, the United States, France, and Russia (the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group) are mediating efforts to negotiate a full settlement of the conflict, proposing a referendum to determine the final status of the area.
Nowadays Nagorno-Karabakh is highly dependent on economic and political support of Armenia as well as the lobbying and the raise funds of the Armenian Diaspora in the world.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church" Tertullian Apologeticus
Between 1975 and 1990 , 15000 Lebanese forces combatants scarified themselves to secure and defend the Christians existence in Lebanon.
Martyred to defend our existence, and the preservation of our heritage, and to remain in our land ... They have given their lives for the sake of our existence, and to maintain the survival of Lebanon, there is no love greater than the self-sacrificing and greater than human sacrificing himself for his loved ones.
We will stay loyal to you .. You will always remain the bridge that connects generations , you will remain the symbol of sustainability, and the spirit of the people who believed in their cause , refused to abandon its land, history and civilization, drawn by their fathers and forefathers and their leaders.
Rest in peace, my fellow heroes, take your rest where you are, your memory will flourish with each September, the month of the martyrs who generously gave their blood to feed the Lebanese cause with more faith, persistence and tenacity ...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The two islands that are called “Magallánicas or Malvinas”are situated on the bottom of Latin America, in front of Argentina. These islands are still now occupied by the British that call them with the strange name of Falkland Islands.
In 1520, the Spanish sailors discovered the islands. They were annexed to the Spanish empire, and they remained under Spanish sovereignty until Argentina declared its independence in 1816. In 1833 Britain took control over the islands. Since then Argentina has claimed sovereignty over the islands. In 1982 Argentina invaded the islands which led to a two month war that resulted in the defeat of the Argentines and withdraw from the islands . The dispute over the control of the islands has continued since the war. In 1992 the two countries resumed their diplomatic relations. In 1994 Argentina added its claim to the islands to the Argentine Constitution. In June 2003 the issue was brought before a UN committee, and attempts have been made to open talks with the UK to resolve the issue of the islands.
The case of the Falklands isn’t unique. Many Territories that belong to the ample “Hispanic Sphere” are still colonized and occupied by the Anglo-Saxons.
In Europe, Gibraltar a Spanish territory is still occupied by Britain.
In Oceania , Guam island is occupied by the US and it belongs originally to the Philippines that inherited it from Spain.
In America from the North to the South :
Belize by the UK, even it’s a sovereign state it forms part of the commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the state.
The Panama channel controlled by the US.
The Guyanas controlled by three European nations : UK , Netherlands and France
In Antarctica , the land in front of Chile and Argentina is claimed by the UK as well as by theses 2 nations.
All these territories, now in foreign hand should be delivered back to the Hispanic block. All the alternatives from the “British Federation of the Carribean” to “the United states of Guyana” should be rejected as a solution to the foreign occupation of theses lands.
more info : http://www.arbil.org/(26)malv.htm (site in Spanish)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
This is the first article in a series of articles I will write about Turkey and the EU and in which I will explain the reasons why Turkey doesn’t belong and shouldn’t join the EU.
“Je considérerai comme européens tous les peoples qui ont subi, au cours de l’Histoire, les trois influences que je vais dire. La première est celle de Rome(…) modèle eternel de la puissance organisée et stable, la seconde est celle du christianisme, qui vit et atteint progressivement le profond de la conscience(…) enfin l’apport de la Grèce est ce qu’il n’y a de plus distinctif dans notre civilisation. Nous lui devons une méthode de penser qui tend à rapporter toutes choses à l’homme, à l’homme complet ”
Paul Valery 1922, université de Zurich
In this famous speech given in the Zurich university, The French thinker Paul Valery stresses out that European identity is based upon three major influences through the course of history, which are by order the Greek civilization and it’s way of thinking, Rome and the organization and the order it established and finally the Christianity that reaches the deep of the human consciousness.
When the European Union was founded it was mainly an economic institution with the main objective of promoting economic growth and stability for its members. The time of the vision towards a unified Europe was dominated by increased competition for raw materials in the rapidly industrializing world after the WWII. Thus the 1st step came with the formation of the European Coal and steel community (ECSC) by the Treaty of Paris 1951, the founding members were: Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), France and Germany. The ECSC was transformed by the Treaty of Rome into European Economic Community on March 25, 1957 during the same year the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy community also came to light. With the years, a political integration was needed and gradually the European common market evolved into the modern European Union in 1993.
In the new Union, economic motifs weren’t the sole condition for membership. A new vision was established, it promoted, beside economic development, political stability, cultural exchange, military cooperation… The new Union was meant to be a form of a unified state with a common European cultural background. But what is culture?
“Culture includes language, beliefs, ideas, institutions, techniques, customs, codes, tools, and works of art, rituals and ceremonies of a society.” Samuel Huntington Clash of civilizations
When it comes to Turkey, is the Turkish culture a European one??? The answer is simply NO.
Turkey was founded on the ruins of the glorious Byzantine Empire but it’s not the successor of the Byzantine culture. Turks are originated in central Asia, they came to the middle east upon successive waves since the 11th century, they adopted the Islam as their religion from their contact with the Arabs and established their first empire (Seljuk empire in Persia) which later evolved into Ottoman empire that expanded over the Byzantine empire in the region until the fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453. So the Turkish culture is an Islamic Asian culture and not a European one. Even After the fall of Constantinople Turks didn’t adapt the Greek Byzantine culture , on the opposite side they destructed all the churches and Byzantine monasteries , and Only Hagia Sofia was spared to be transformed into a mosque with the 4 minarets added along with the koraniq scripts and verses.
The Turkish culture nowadays tries to show as a western culture but in fact it’s “a product of efforts to be "modern" and Western, combined with the necessity felt to maintain traditional religious and historical values”.
Let’s review the basic components of Turkish culture:
Language: The Turkish language is a member of the ancient Oghuz subdivision of Turkic languages, which in turn is a branch of the proposed Altaic language family. The Semitic alphabet was in use in all the course of its history until Ataturk banned it in 1932.
Architecture: Ottoman architecture which has influence from Seljuk, Islamic Arab, Persian and Byzantine architecture.
Arts: Islamic artistic traditions and Calligraphy
Ceremonies and rituals: Islamic holidays and feasts are celebrated in turkey
So in conclusion the Turkish culture has nothing to do with the western European culture and that’s the most basic obstacle that inhibits the integration of turkey in the EU, it’s culturally indigestible within Europe.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Viva La Vida or Death and all his friends: It’s the title of Coldplay’s 4th studio album and as we can see the album art is about the French revolution.
Behind the glamorous slogans of the French revolution : “Liberté égalité fraternité “ (Viva la Vida) lies a criminal and a dark record of killing and persecussion of Christians in France (Death and all his friends). It’s what is called the Dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution.
After the fall of the monarchy in 1789, the church and the Christians in French were the target of organized crimes and killings. September 1792 was the darkest period of the revolution , on the 2nd of September 1792, priests, nuns and citizens were killed, mutilated, aggressed and raped in a very barbaric and cruel way, "with circumstances of barbarity too shocking to describe" according to the British diplomatic dispatch (check : A British Observer of the September Massacres). In 48 hours almost 1 400 prisoners were condemned and executed. More than two hundred priests, almost a hundred Swiss guards and many political prisoners and aristocrats were among the victims.
“Under threat of death, imprisonment, military conscription or loss of income, about 20,000 constitutional priests were forced to abdicate or hand over their letters of ordination and 6,000 - 9,000 were coerced to marry, many ceasing their ministerial duties. Some of those who abdicated covertly ministered to the people. By the end of the decade, approximately 30,000 priests were forced to leave France, and thousands who did not leave were executed. Most of France was left without the services of a priest, deprived of the sacraments and any nonjuring priest faced the guillotine or deportation to French Guiana. By Easter 1794, few of Frances 40,000 churches were open, many having been closed, sold, destroyed or converted to other uses.
Victims of Revolutionary violence, whether religious or not, were popularly treated as canonized martyrs, the place of their killing becoming objects of pilgrimage. Catechizing in the home, folk religion and syncretic and heterodox practice also became more common. The long term effects on religious practice in France were significant - many who were deprived of their regular religious practice in France never regained it”. (Wikipedia : Dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution )
Other than the murders, the calendar was changed from Gregorian calendar into French republican calendar which was a pure failure. Crosses, church bells, and sanctuaries were destroyed… monasteries , cathedrals and private proprieties were robbed . Street and place names with any sort of religious connotation were changed. The French army moved on to Rome, and forced the Pope Pius VI into exiled where he died.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The Pledge of Allegiance
Nowadays America stands as the biggest Christian nation in the world with more than 240 million Christians. It is actually the Biggest protestant nation (152 million) , the 3rd biggest catholic (70 million behind Brazil and Mexico) and the 10th orthodox nation (5 million). Other Christians groups (mormons..) make around 3.3% of the population (CIA world fact book).
The USA is still deeply religious western nation. In 2000, each candidate running for top office-with the exception of Joe Lieberman-had to proclaim his belief in Jesus Christ. More than the half of Americans believe in creation as well as in the Book of Revelations' description of the end of the world (CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll). America has the largest number of Christian missionaries in the world. World vision a protestant NGO is the biggest in the world operating in 102 nations around the world with a 2 billion $ budget helping 100 million (2006 numbers) !! America is also the biggest bible printing nation.
The distribution of Christians in America isn’t homogenous. The Catholics are concentrated in the North east and the west, while the south is the protestants stronghold. The state of Utah is the Mormons land. The state of Oregon makes the exception with a non-religious majority.
233 year after independence declaration (July 4, 1776) , America is still on the founding fathers’ principles and traditions as a land of faith and a nation under God and it’s what makes America’s prosperity and development.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Around 25 million Christians live in India nowadays (2.5% of the population), making it India’s 3rd religious group after Hindu and Muslims.
Christianity arrived in India almost about the same period as it arrived in Europe, meaning about 2000 years ago. St. Thomas preached in India, he arrived in Kerala in south India in 52 AD. The first Christian converts there where called Syrian Christians.
The second wave of Christianization happened with the Portuguese settlers. The Portuguese brought the Roman Catholicism to India; they were mainly in the region of Goa. The Portuguese also converted local Syrian Christians into Roman Catholicism.
The third wave of evangelization was conducted with the British. It was in the 1800s that British Anglican missionaries started preaching in India.
The missionaries didn’t only spread Christianity, but they also did humanitarian deeds giving the needy basic necessities of life like food, clothes and shelter. The missionaries also built schools in India and many of them even today have Christian or European originated name.
The major centers of Christianity in India are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Manipur and Mizoram. There is also a big community of Christians in Mumbai. The main division of Christians in India is like in the Christian world, Protestants and Catholic. There are also different denomination among them, Syrian Church, Armenian Church, Anglican Church and others.
Historically, Hindus and Christians have lived in relative peace since the arrival of Christianity in India from the early part of the first millennium. Driven by some extremists from both sides , many Indian states are seeing clashes between the different religious groups. Some Indian states (Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu (later repealed) mainly) went to the extreme passing laws restricting or prohibiting religious conversion.
more info : http://adaniel.tripod.com/Christianity.htm
Thursday, September 17, 2009
17 Feb 2008 ... Kosovo's parliament declares independence from Serbia.
Reading the declaration, “Kosovo's Prime Minister” Hashim Thaci said the new Kosovo will be ''dedicated to peace and stability.''
What a nice and decent speech to hear , PEACE and STABILITY !! of course there will be peace we got rid of all nasty serbs , damned Christians we burned their monasteries , destroyed their churches , expelled them from their ancestry villages , how could there be war or instability if there’s no one left of theses demon serbs ??? and we got everything under UN and NATO supervision.
Centuries of organized ethnic cleansing : Kosovo is the very essence of Serbian spiritual, cultural identity and statehood since Middle Ages to date. Fertile and clement planes of Kosovo with mild climate, and reach in water resources, with high mountain chains bordering with Albania have been good-blessed environment for a fruitful development of the highest achievements in all fields in medieval Serbia. The cultural and demographic strength of the Serbs is best illustrated by the presence of 1.500 monuments of Serbian culture identified so far. Numerous outstanding noble Serbian families used to live in these regions.
Turkish invasion was a fatal turning point in Serbian history. Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic and Serbian nobility in the famous battle of Kosovo in 1389 did everything humanly possible to stop the Turkish invasion toward south eastern Europe. The Turkish invasion of south eastern Europe and the Serbian lands as its part, have not only brought about the fall of Christian civilization, but are also responsible for the destruction of all social structures, the elimination of the Serbian elite and the destruction of the most outstanding cultural achievements. One part of Serbian nobility was killed, one part expelled to Asia, one part forced to take up Islam, and one part managed to emigrate north, west and across the Adriatic to Italy. With the ottoman Turkish occupation of Kosovo , the serbs in Kosovo suffered persecussions , they were forced to leave their homelands… but until the 18th century there was no Sqipetars* (now called Albanians) in Kosovo. Actually, they began settling in this region in greater numbers only in the 18th and 19th century from today’s northern Albania. In addition to the newly settled Sqipetars (now called Albanians) who were mostly Muslims or converted to Islam soon after settling in Kosovo, it is also the islamization of the Serbs that brought about great changes in the cultural environment of this region. Many of islamized Serbs gradually fused with predominantly Albanian Moslems and adopted their culture and even language. At the beginning of the second half of the 19th century, the Turks also settled Cherkeses in this region. Despite of all these artificial demographic changes, Orthodox Serbs decreased for almost 50% of the total population living in Kosovo.
It is during the Second World War, that the most drastic changes in the demographic picture of Kosovo took place. The Albanian nationalists got free hand to terrorize the Serbs. Under such pressure estimated 75,000 Serbs left Kosovo. In their empty houses about the same number of Albanians from Albania settled. This definitelly tipped the ballance in the Albanian favour. The first official census in post-WWII Yugoslavia (in 1948) showed 199,961 Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo and 498,242.
After the Second World War, As a result of unbelievable demographic explosion Albanian population in Kosovo doubled by 1971. The official Yugoslav census for that year shows 916,168 Albanians living in Kosovo, while Serb and Montenegrin population reached only to number 259,819. This demographic trend clearly demonstrates that the theory of Serb repression over Albanians after the WWII is absolutely not correct. The truth is that the Commnist authorities favorized the Albanians on the expense of Serbs allowing uncontrolled settlement of Albanian immingrants and tolerating different methods of ethnic discrimination over the Serbs which made more and more Serbs leave the province and seek better life in Central Serbia. By 1990ies more than 800 settlements in which Serbs lived with Albanians became ethnically clean Albanian villages.
In an attempt to prevent the secession of Kosovo Serbian government in 1990 abolished Kosovo Albanian authonomy. A failure of Milosevic government to develop true democratic institutions instead and using the police methods to prevent Albanian secession even more increased ethnic Albanian wish to cut of from Serbia. When the KLA rebels began attacks on Serbs in 1998 the Government brought the army and police to put the rebellion down. In the course of the civil war - 1998-1999 which ended by the NATO intervention against Yugoslavia more than 500.000 Kosovo Albanians fled the province to Macedonia and Albania. After the war, despite the international presence, KLA organized persecutions of Serb population and more than 200.000 Serbs fled Kosovo. Only 90.000 Serbs remained living in total isolation, dispersed in several KFOR protected Serb enclaves.
Today Kosovo is still a Serbian province although the declaration of independence, it’s independence divides the world while the US and it’s allies recognize it as an independent countries , many major powers don’t recognize the independence (Russia , China , India , Brazil, Spain , Greece …).The EU has no official position towards Kosovo's status and it didn’t apply for UN membership because of the fear of a Russian Veto.
In an unusual resort to international law, Serbia won a bid on Wednesday to have the International Court of Justice review the manner in which Kosovo declared its independence.The vote in the United Nations General Assembly was sharply polarized, with 77 countries supporting Serbia’s request, 6 opposed, including the United States, and 76 nations abstaining.
More infos : Kosovo.net
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
“Our martyrs defended us, our martyrs kept our cause, our martyrs kept our freedom and our existance in this east.” Bachir el Gemayel
Lebanon 2030 : 10 % christians , 90 % muslims…..
Lebanon 2009 :
Of all Arab countries , Lebanon has the highest Christians percentage. Although the exact number of Christians in Lebanon is not exactly known due to the sensitivity of the subject (the latest population census was conducted in 1932 during the French mandate) , it is estimated that the Christians make around 40 % (± 5 %)of Lebanon’s 4 million population.
The existence of Christians in Lebanon dates back to the very early ages of Christianity . St. Paul preached in Lebanon (Acts 27:3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. Acts 21:7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day.) and Jesus Visited the Canaanite cities of Sidon and Tyre several times.
The Christians in Lebanon suffered the same persecutions the Christians suffered in the Roman empire. With the declaration of Christianity as the official religion of the empire on the 27th of February 380, the Christianity in Lebanon flourished .
Between the 6th and 8th centuries a new Christian group appeared in Lebanon : The Maronites. Originally from Antioch (Modern day turkey) the maronites escaped persecussions in the Byzantine empire due to their belief in the Council of Chalcedon in 451. They came from Antioch through the Valley of Orontes River to modern day Lebanon and sought refuge in his mountains. They elected their first Patriarch, John Maroun, in 687.
Under Arabic rule after the Muslim conquest of the region, the Maronites' relationship with the Byzantine Empire improved. The Byzantine emperor Constantine IV provided them with direct ecclesiastical, political and military support. But after the fall of Antioch in Muslim hands , the Maronite were cut off from the rest of the world , and this situation lasted for almost 400 years until the crusades.
With the arrival of the crusades, the Church in Rome had been unaware that the Maronites were still in existence. The crusaders and Maronites established ties and from this point provided each other with mutual assistance. This environment provided the Christians in Lebanon with some sense of peace and made the community to prosper and flourish. During the Crusades in the 12th century, Maronites assisted the Crusaders and affirmed their affiliation with the Holy See in 1182. Consequently, from this point onwards, the Maronites have upheld an unbroken ecclesiastical orthodoxy and unity with the Catholic Church. To commemorate their communion, in 1100 Maronite Patriarch Youseff Al Jirjisi received the crown and staff marking his patriarchal authority, from Pope Paschal II. In 1131 Maronite Patriarch Gregorious Al Halati received letters from Pope Innocent II in which the Papacy recognized the authority of the Patriarchate.
After the fall of the crusaders states in the region , the Christians in Lebanon suffered persecussions and discriminations , they resisted the Mamluks and kept their strongholds on Mount Lebanon.
At the same time a new muslim sect was to seek refuge in Mount Lebanon , it was the druze sect who like the maronites came to Lebanon to escape persecussion in the muslim world. They settled primarly in Wadi el Taym in South Lebanon and then moved on to mount Lebanon mainly the chouf area.
With the fall of the mamluk empire in the Ottoman hands in 1527 , Lebanon became under Ottoman rule. Ottoman rulers handed the power to the Druze “muslim” emirs which are naturally closer than the Maronite Christians of Lebanon.
Under the emirs rule , christians were generally tolerated , they were mainly the farmers and the handpower while the druze held the lands and the military power. The Ma'an family so tolerant to Christians . The shehabs family succeded the ma’an emirate in 1697. The rulers' (called Emirs or Princes) of the Chehab family eventually converted to Christianity at the end of the 18th century and became Maronites. Their conversion was soon followed by that of most of their family. After the defeat of the shehab’s to the Ottomans in the 1840, chaos emerged in mount Lebanon , encouraged by the ottomans a civil war broke up in the 1840 between maronites and druzes , a new rule (Ka’emmakamia) 1842 - 1860 divided mount Lebanon into 2 regions : northern one maronites and southern druze. In 1860 massacres were commited and supervised in Mount Lebanon against the maronites under Turkey’s supervision , this drove the European powers (Mainly France ) to interfere , a new rule was established (Al moutassarifiyah) 1860 – 1920 it granted Mount Lebanon an autonomy within the Ottoman empire.
After the fall of Turkey in the WWI Lebanon came under allies occupation . It was France that was granted the mandate over Lebanon. Christians at this time were gaining in power.
On the 22th of November 1943 Lebanon was declared an independent state , with a Christian Maronite as the first Lebanese President. All the powers were in the hands of the president who was to be always Christian. As well as the head of Army and the central bank governor. Christians were also granted 54 seats in the parliament versus 45 seats for Muslims.
This Christian dominant rule lasted till the 1975 when a 15 years civil war broke up.
Muslims along with Palestinians fought Christians in a fierce struggle to power. The Christian forces were mainly the Kataeb (Lebanese phalanges ), a Lebanese political and lately military guerilla founded by Pierre el Gemayel in 1936. The Christians wanted to protect the Lebanese state in all it’s aspects while the muslims wanted Lebanon as a military base for Palestinians operations against Israel. In 1979 Bachir el Gemayel founded the Lebanese Forces a military organization and the military arm of the Kataeb Party , it included all the Lebanese Christians right groups and parties and it was known as the Lebanese resistance. The Lebanese Forces fought battles in all parts of Lebanon and it defeated the Syrians , Palestinians and their allies in many battles (100 days siege of Achrafieh , the battle of Zahle , the removal of many Palestinian camps , mountain war 1985…). With more than 15 000 martyrs it was the unique force that stood against the enemy and defended the Christian existence in this country and region as a hole.
After the end of the civil war 1990 , and with the American backed Syrian invasion to Lebanon , Christians came under pressure , their leaders came under arrests or were expelled and in a country weakened by war and an economy devastated Christians had no other way than immigration to seek a better new life. During 15 years of Syrian rule , Christians were marginalized , their parties banned (the Lebanese forces were illegally banned from 1994 till 2005) which caused the Christian community in Lebanon to shrink to around 40 % of the population.
After the cedar’s revolution and the retreat of Syrians , Christians in Lebanon started reorganizing their institutions and their political parties . Nowadays Christians are mainly divided between two political groups March 14 : Lebanese Forces , Kataeb ,… (Anti Syrian coalition) and March 8 : Free patriotic movement (Pro Syrian and Iranian backed). This division weakens the Christians but it’s an inevitable division due to the tendency of some Christian politicians to make alliances with pro Syrian and “anti-lebanese” groups to reach to power. They didn’t even hesitate to attack the head of the Christian Maronite church in Lebanon Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir several times and on daily basis.
Nowadays as said before the Christians make around 40% of Lebanese population and their percentage is projected to decrease , if countermeasures weren’t installed and if awareness wasn’t raised in Christian society.
The decrease is mainly due to immigration as well as lower birth rates in Christian families not to forget their diminished political role and influence after the 1990 Taif Agreements that ended the civil war.
The Christians are the main responsible of this critical situation , we can’t ask from the muslims to have less children or to leave Lebanon but we can as Christians have slightly larger families , we can as Christians stay in our land , the land of our ancestors , the land that our martyrs nourished with their sacred blood, we can as Christians stop selling our lands to have extra dollars and afford a vacation in Paris, we can as Christians support our church and stand side by side with our church to provide our society with better life conditions , we can as Christians raise funds to build churches , prevent the sales of our lands and provide support for the weaker and poor families, we can as Christians put our personal political interests aside and work for the better of our people and work for the principles and beliefs our martyrs died to defend… WE CAN YES WE CAN.
Monday, September 14, 2009
It’s the federation of both countries in the Iberian Peninsula : Spain and Portugal
Why these two countries ?
1- Spain and Portugal share a common geographical unity that is manifested by a common border of 1214 km , 4 common rivers , the same climate , the same rural aspect….and many other characteristics that make the Iberian peninsula a unique homogenous entity.
2- The history of both countries is common most of the time or at least evolved in parallel : Phoenician colonies , roman occupation , Visigothic kingdom , arab occupation , reconquista , the catholic kings , new world discoveries and colonization , Iberian union , adhesion to the EU.
3- Both Portuguese and Spanish are both of Latin roots from the Ibero-romance group. They share a 89 % of lexical similarity more than any other romance languages.
4- Roman Catholicism is the prominent religion of both countries.
5- Spain is the Portugal’s first economic partner and Portugal is the third export partner of Spain and the 8th in imports.
When joined together they will be the largest country within the EU and the third largest one in Europe after Russia and Ukraine. The 5th most populated country in the EU with 78 deputy in the European parliament and the 8th economic power in the world.
Area : 596 735 km²
Population : 57.289.200
Important cities : Madrid , Lisbon , Barcelona , Valencia , Porto ..
Official Languages : Spanish and Portuguese
Religion : Roman Catholicism
Currency : Euro
Sunday, September 13, 2009
This feast is called in Greek Ὕψωσις τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ (literally, "Raising Aloft of the Precious Cross"). In Latin it is called Exaltatio Sanctae Crucis (literally, "Raising Aloft of the Holy Cross". (The word "Exaltatio" is sometimes translated as "Exaltation", at other times, as in the 1973 ICEL translation, as "Triumph".) In some parts of the Anglican Communion the feast is called Holy Cross Day, a name also used by Lutherans. The True Cross is said to have been discovered in 326 by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine I (venerated in the Eastern Church as Saint Constantine), during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion  of the cross placed inside it. In 614, that portion of the cross was carried away from the church by the Persians, and remained missing until it was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 628. The cross was returned to the church the following year after initially having been taken to Constantinople by Heraclius. The date used for the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it. The celebration is sometimes called Feast of the Glorious Cross.