Voices from Russia

Saturday, 1 January 2011

A Photo Essay. A Look Back: This was Christmas 2010…

Iraqi Christian refugee in Amman (Jordan) prays in a Catholic church. Fully half of the Christian population resident in Iraq in 1980 have fled to Syria and Jordan, this process was accelerated by the present Republican-engendered war in Iraq. Before the war, 97 percent of the population was Muslim and 3 percent Christian (roughly two-thirds Chaldean Uniate Catholic and one-third Oriental Orthodox… the Protestant groups are derisory). Today… who knows? In Jordan, the population is 92 percent Muslim, 8 percent Christian (split between Catholic, Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox… there are no Protestants to speak of). Jordan is the most tolerant of the Middle Eastern states towards Christianity, but most of its Christians have emigrated (in 1950, the Jordanian population was 48 percent Christian). Bear in mind… if you support Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin, you support the persecution of the Iraqi Christian community, as it’s now mainly a product of the GOP warfare in Iraq.

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Cleaning a statue of Christ in Noida, Uttar Pradesh (India) in preparation for the Christmas holidays. Amongst Christians, who are 2.5 percent of the population, 48 percent are Roman Catholic, 12 percent are Uniate Catholic, 15 percent are Oriental Orthodox, and 25 percent are Protestant (including Pentecostalist Sectarians). Besides this grouping, 81 percent of Indians are Hindu, 13 percent Muslim, and 2 percent are Sikhs.

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A New Year’s/Christmas tree in Kiev. 80 percent of Ukrainians have some sort of connection with Orthodoxy (85 percent in the canonical UOC/MP, 15 percent in illicit schismatical bodies such as the UOC/KP and UAOC, whilst 2 percent are Roman Catholic (mainly in the Polish and Lithuanian minority communities), 8 percent are Uniate Catholics (they’re a majority in Galicia, though), 3 percent are Protestants (a third of these are Pentecostalist Sectarians), 1 percent are Muslim (mainly long-term residents in the Crimea), and 1 percent are Jewish (only a third are observant to one extent or another).

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“Walruses” in Berlin (Germany) taking a Christmas dip in a hole chopped in the ice… rather Russian, eh? In Germany, 31 percent are Catholics, 30 percent in the EKD (Evangelical Lutheran), 5 percent non-Lutheran Protestant, 4 percent Muslim (a quarter of these are German citizens), and a bit under 2 percent Orthodox (mostly migrant workers from Orthodox countries in Eastern/Southern Europe). The remainder of the population (28 percent) is religiously unaffiliated.

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Christmas fireworks in Remedios (Cuba). Officially, 60 percent of the Cuban population is Catholic and 3 percent is Protestant (a third of these being Pentecostalist Sectarians), there are smaller groups as well (including Greek and Russian Orthodox), but most of the remainder are religiously unaffiliated…

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Santa visits a little girl in paediatric hospital in San Salvador (El Salvador). 53 percent of Salvadorians are Catholic, 26 percent are Protestant, a bit under 2 percent are Mormon Sectarians, and 11 percent are religiously unaffiliated according to a survey…

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Christians in a Catholic church in Zababdeh (Palestine). This town has somewhat over 3,000 inhabitants, two-thirds of which are Christians. By law, its mayor must be a confessing Christian…

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Christians in a Catholic church near Kathmandu (Nepal). Less than 1 percent of the Nepalese population are Christians, most of the rest are mainly Hindu (80 percent) in faith, along with Buddhist (10 percent), Muslim (4 percent), and Shamanist (4 percent)  minority communities…

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Christians in the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Lahore (Pakistan). Christians are only some 1.5 percent of the population, a similar number is Hindu. Over 95 percent of Pakistanis profess Islam. The Christian population is under great persecution here…

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Christians in the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Yangon (Myanmar (Burma)). According to official figures, 89 percent of Burmese are Buddhists, 4 percent are Christian, 4 percent are Muslim, and 1 percent are Hindu. Some sources think the number of non-Buddhists may be up to three times higher, but there are no figures to back up this claim…

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A Nativity Play in the Roman Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary in Łódź (Poland). 89 percent of all Poles are Roman Catholics, making them the predominant religious force in the country. 3 percent are Orthodox, 3 percent are Uniate Catholic, but only 0.5 percent are Protestant. There is a tiny Muslim minority of 0.1 percent, which has lived in peace in Poland for centuries, thoroughly assimilated, and completely a part of Polish society…

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After services at the Catholic Cathedral of Juba in the southern Sudan. This region is majority-animist/Christian (30 percent of the present population), and shall probably split from the Muslim-majority north (70 percent of the current population) in a 9 January 2010 plebiscite. This vote is being held after an armistice after a bloody internal war between Arab Muslim northerners and animist/Christian Negro southerners…

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