Montenegro clashes as Serb Orthodox Church leader installed

There have been fierce clashes in Montenegro as the Serbian Orthodox church installed a new leader in a ceremony that exposed divisions in the Balkan country. Police used tear gas against protesters who threw rocks and bottles in the city of Cetinje. Montenegro split with Serbia in 2006 but its church remains under the Serbian Orthodox church. Some, including Montenegro’s president, see it as a symbol of Serb influence. President Milo Djukanovic had urged protesters to disrupt the inauguration of Joanikije II to the top clerical position, known as the Metropolitan of Montenegro and Archbishop of Cetinje. On Saturday, hundreds … Continue reading Montenegro clashes as Serb Orthodox Church leader installed

Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah creates stir with remarks on Taliban

Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah has created a stir over comments he made about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. In a video, Shah admonished “sections of Indian Muslims” against celebrating the group’s victory, saying they were setting a dangerous precedent. He drew a parallel between “Indian Islam” and what is practiced in other parts of the world. His comments irked Muslims in India who accused him of making false binaries. But many supporters of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) praised Mr Shah and said more Muslims should speak up against the Taliban. Speaking in Urdu, the 71-year-old actor … Continue reading Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah creates stir with remarks on Taliban

UK court stops Christie’s sale of stolen 16th century Quran smuggled out of Turkey

A 16th century Quran that authorities say was stolen in a robbery and smuggled out of Turkey has been withdrawn from an auction in London. Police in Turkey raised the alarm after seeing the Quran, which was said to date from the 16th century and was signed by Mustafa Dede, a celebrated calligrapher of the time, for sale in a Christie’s catalogue. Turkish authorities are now seeking its return as a cultural artefact. A judge at London’s High Court dismissed an application by Zaher Al Hajjeh, from Lebanon, for its return and damages. Mr Al Hajjeh claimed he was the … Continue reading UK court stops Christie’s sale of stolen 16th century Quran smuggled out of Turkey

Vatican’s Cardinal Becciu on trial in $412m fraud case

A Roman Catholic cardinal who was once a close ally of Pope Francis is going on trial in the Vatican, accused of misusing Church funds in a ruinous London property venture. Cardinal Angelo Becciu, 73, is the most senior cleric in modern times to face trial for alleged financial crimes. He is charged with spending €350m (£299m; $412m) of church money on a botched deal to buy a property in Chelsea that incurred huge losses. He denies wrongdoing. Nine other defendants are also accused of charges including extortion, embezzlement and abuse of office. Cardinal Becciu was sacked by the Pope … Continue reading Vatican’s Cardinal Becciu on trial in $412m fraud case

Papacy: Pope ‘responds well’ to colon surgery at Rome hospital

Pope Francis has undergone successful surgery to treat a colon problem at a hospital in Rome, the Vatican says. The 84-year-old “responded well” to the treatment, which was performed under general anaesthetic, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said. It is the first time Pope Francis has been admitted to hospital since his election in 2013. Earlier on Sunday, the Argentine pontiff addressed thousands of visitors in St Peter’s Square. In an earlier statement, the Vatican said Pope Francis was being treated at the Gemelli University Hospital for “symptomatic diverticular stenosis” of the colon. Diverticular disease is a condition that involves bulges … Continue reading Papacy: Pope ‘responds well’ to colon surgery at Rome hospital

Religious Rascality: Athens priest arrested for acid attack on bishops

A priest has been arrested in Athens after he threw acid on seven bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church, police say. The attack took place during a disciplinary hearing against the 36-year-old priest on Wednesday afternoon, according to police. Three bishops are being treated in hospital for the burns, mostly on their faces. A policeman, who ran to help the bishops, was also taken to hospital. The suspect, a priest who risked being expelled from the church, was accused of being involved in drug trafficking, according to the ANA press agency. The bishops were meeting to discuss defrocking him after … Continue reading Religious Rascality: Athens priest arrested for acid attack on bishops

Fire destroys two Catholic churches in Canada

Police in Canada say they are treating fires that destroyed two Catholic churches on indigenous community land in British Columbia as suspicious. Sacred Heart Church and St Gregory’s Church burnt down at about the same time early on Monday, as Canada marked National Indigenous People’s Day. The two churches, built more than 100 years ago, are located about 40km (25 miles) apart in the western province. Liquid accelerants are believed to have been used, one fire official said. The two churches on the Penticton Indian Band reserve and the Osoyoos Indian Band reserve are less than 100km from Kamloops, where … Continue reading Fire destroys two Catholic churches in Canada

Girls to break centuries-old German male choir school tradition

Girls will be accepted for the first time at a church music school attached to one of Germany’s most famous boys’ choirs – the Regensburger Domspatzen. The Bavarian city of Regensburg has had a boys’ choir at its Roman Catholic cathedral since 975. “Domspatzen” means “cathedral sparrows”. Girls trained at the school from next year will join a new girls’ choir. The boys’ one, which includes men for bass and tenor parts, will remain male-only. Girls will sing at church services too. The decision to open the Domspatzen high school (Gymnasium) to girls in 2022 was taken unanimously by the … Continue reading Girls to break centuries-old German male choir school tradition

Controversial Nigerian pastor TB Joshua dies aged 57

The televangelist, who founded a Christian megachurch in Lagos, died from an undisclosed cause, his church said. The popular but controversial Nigerian evangelical preacher Temitope Balogun Joshua has died from an undisclosed cause, his church said on Facebook. He was 57. The preacher, popularly known as TB Joshua, founded The Synagogue Church of All Nations, a Christian megachurch in Lagos. The father of three was one of Africa’s most influential preachers with millions of television and social media followers. More than 15,000 people from Nigeria and abroad attend his Sunday services. “God has taken his servant Prophet TB Joshua home … Continue reading Controversial Nigerian pastor TB Joshua dies aged 57

Saudi Arabia authorities defend mosque speaker restriction

The authorities in Saudi Arabia have defended restrictions on the volume of loudspeakers at mosques. The country’s Islamic Affairs Ministry announced last week that all loudspeakers should be set at only a third of their maximum volume. Islamic Affairs Minister Abdullatif al-Sheikh said the measure was in response to complaints from the public. But the move in the conservative Muslim nation sparked a backlash on social media. A hashtag calling for loud music to be banned in restaurants and cafes began trending. Mr Sheikh said complaints included those from parents who said the loudspeakers were disturbing their children’s sleep. Speaking … Continue reading Saudi Arabia authorities defend mosque speaker restriction

Murder in Church: Egypt executes monk for murder of bishop at monastery

Authorities carried out the death penalty on an Egyptian monk who killed the Abbot of his monastery in 2018, a lawyer and the monk’s brother told Reuters on Sunday.A general view of the court where two monks were convicted of murdering Bishop Epiphanius of Saint Macarius Monastery northwest of Cairo, in Damanhour Wael Saad and Ramon Rasmi Mansour, known by their monastic names Isaiah al-Makari and Faltaous al-Makari, were convicted of the killing of Bishop Epiphanius, 64, the abbot of St Macarius Monastery, northwest of Cairo, in a case that sent shockwaves through Egypt’s Coptic Christian community. Saad’s family was … Continue reading Murder in Church: Egypt executes monk for murder of bishop at monastery

German Catholic priests defy Pope Francis with public blessings of same-sex couples

A group of German Catholic priests will publicly bless same-sex couples across the country on Monday in defiance of the Vatican’s decree in March that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex marriages. Dozens of German priests have signed a statement saying that they will continue to bless same-sex partnerships, CBS News reported Thursday. “In view of the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bless homosexual partnerships, we raise our voices and say: We will continue to accompany people who enter into a binding partnership in the future and bless their relationship,” the statement says. “We do not refuse a blessing ceremony. We … Continue reading German Catholic priests defy Pope Francis with public blessings of same-sex couples