Historic concelebration of the Divine Liturgy by OCA Metropolitan Jonah, ROCOR Metropolitan Hilarion

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America [OCA], and His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia [ROCOR], concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas Cathedral here on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

The Liturgy was an historic one, in that it marked "the first joint service of the American Bishops and the Russian Orthodox Church after nearly 70 years of the liturgical period of absence of communication," according to the web site of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA. It represents the fruit of the diligent labors undertaken by the joint OCA-ROCOR Commission.

Metropolitan Hilarion: It is urgent that a system of protecting Christians against persecution be organized

Esteemed Mr. Prime-Minister,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have assembled here in Jamaica not only to sum up the Decade to Overcome Violence declared by the World Council of Churches in 2001 but also to discern together the scale and forms taken by violence in today's world. The principle question we have to answer is what we as Christians can do together in the face of growing violence, aggression, exploitation and terror. Symbolically, the World Council has accepted the invitation of churches in Jamaica and chosen for this forum this very beautiful island, which at the same time is a place with one of the heaviest rates of violence in the world.

Attempt to create Abkhaz "metropolia" will cause deadlock

The creation of a new "metropolia" in Abkhazia announced late last week will only make it more difficult to resolve the Abkhaz church issue, the Moscow Patriarchate has said.

"The church canon laws do not involve the making of decisions to create new metropolitanates, let alone autocephalous churches, at "clerical-laic" congresses. And the nomination by the "laic congress" of bishop candidates is explicitly prohibited by the canon law," Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Synodal Department of External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.

The Russian Orthodox Church surprised by the statement of Milo Djukanovic

Statement of the father Nikolai Balashov, Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church to Tanjug.  

The Orthodox Churches of the whole world do not doubt that this so-called montenegrin orthodox church is the non-canonical schismatic organization , so these statements of the leader from Podgorica surprised, said Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church Nikolai Balashov.

Syrian Christians Fear Regime Change Could Hasten Extinction

As the Arab Spring protests reach Damascus, Syrian Christians look warily at a future without a time-tested autocrat to protect them from religious intolerance.

In Egypt, sectarian violence, an intermittent problem in the past, flared anew since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in February. Twelve people were killed, hundreds injured and a church was torched last week in clashes between Copts and Muslims in Cairo. Christians and secular-leaning Muslims placed blame on Salafis, who advocate a return to the practices of Islam's earliest years.