Voices from Russia

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Monks at St Catherine Monastery in the Sinai are Well

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Χριστός Ανέστη! Christ is risen!

In response to all the friends who’ve written asking after our brothers, the monks in Sinai, glory to God, they’re all well. Draconian security measures are in force throughout the area, but pilgrims are still able to come and go. There are already many checkpoints on the paved roads leading to the monastery. They’ve been there decades, mainly to check ID’s, watch for narcotics, etc. Now, there’s added security, and the local Bedouin, who are fervent supporters of the monks, are assisting. As the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness doesn’t overcome it, may the joy of this week of peace and brightness remain untouched in the hearts of the faithful!

Αληθώς Ανέστη! He is risen, indeed!

21 April 2017

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

ISIS Gunmen Attack Police Checkpoint Near Historic St Catherine Monastery in Egypt

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One of the world’s most important Christian sites came under attack. The Monastery of St Catherine (formally, the Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mt Sinai), built over 1,500 years ago, is one of Christianity’s holiest sites. Gunmen opened fire on an Egyptian police checkpoint near the monastery, killing one policeman and wounding four others. Then, the gunmen retreated; they didn’t reach the heavily-fortified monastery compound guarded by Egyptian police and security forces. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack via its news agency.

The attack on the monastery comes just over a week after suicide bombers attacked two Coptic Orthodox churches in the Nile Delta city of Tanta and the coastal city of Alexandria, killing 45 people on Palm Sunday. According to officials, the gunmen fired from an elevated hilltop overlooking the police checkpoint just outside the monastery, which is located in a remote mountainous desert area in the South Sinai Governate, where, according to scripture, God spoke to the prophet Moses from a burning bush. The Greek Orthodox monastery was a popular destination, primarily for Orthodox Christian pilgrims, but Egypt closed off public access to it for security reasons in 2015, leaving only the monks and clergy inside the compound.

According to Orthodox Christian history, in the early 4th century, St Eleni, mother of St Konstantinos the Great, built the Chapel of the Burning Bush at the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the miracle. The fortified walls were built around the chapel by the Roman Emperor Justinian (who also commissioned the Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God (Agia Sofia/St Sophia)) starting in 527. Justinian’s workers completed the Church of the Transfiguration in the 560s, around the time of his death. In 2002, UNESCO declared the area around St Catherine Monastery a World Heritage Site because of Mt Sinai’s importance to three major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), the natural environment of the area, and the historic architecture and art at St Catherine Monastery.

18 April 2017

Pappas Post

http://www.pappaspost.com/isis-gunmen-attack-historic-st-catherine-greek-orthodox-monastery-egypt/

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Muhammad’s Letter to the Christian monks at Mt Sinai

01 Muslims and Christians protest attack against church in Egypt

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One issue often discussed on news site and blogs over the last several days is the many attacks on Egypt’s Christian communities. Several outlets reported that violence by supporters of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Isa al-Ayyat left dozens of Christian churches and Coptic-owned businesses and properties burnt. Fears of widespread sectarian strife seem to be growing among Egypt’s Christian minority.

The violence against Egypt’s Christians reminds me of the important symbolism of the Prophet Muhammad’s letter to the Christian monks at St Catherine Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai in 628 AD. In his letter, Muhammad championed universal peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims. Not only did he outline how Muslims should treat Christians, but Muhammad also touched upon human rights, including freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and the right to protection in war.

Here’s an English translation of Muhammad’s letter:

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who profess Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily the servants, the helpers, my followers, and I defend them, because Christians are my citizens, and, by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are you to remove their judges from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they’re my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it can’t take place without her approval. No one is prevent her from visiting her church to pray. You shall respect their churches. You shall neither prevent them from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey this covenant until the Last Day (end of the world).

The attacks by some Egyptian Muslims on their fellow Egyptian Christian citizens is deplorable, for the simple fact that the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, would’ve condemned any violence towards Christians and people of non-Muslim faiths. One has to wonder if the Egyptian Muslims involved in these attacks can even call themselves “Muslims” with any sense of integrity or legitimacy.

Please, visit Craig Considine’s excellent blog where this was originally posted here. You’ll find many such inspirational articles.

18 August 2013

The American Muslim

http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/egyptian-muslims-forget-muhammads-letter-to-christian-monks-at-mt.-sinai/0019989

 

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