Byzantine-Era Monastery in the Negev Desert

CHR Comment: The article focuses on the excavation of the stable that the monks built in a cave in the Negev, in the southern region of Israel. Crosses were painted on the walls.

Source: Byzantine-Era Stable Excavated in the Negev Desert – Archaeology Magazine


Putin Visits Mt. Athos Monastic Community

On his first trip to a European Union country this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday sharply criticized western policy toward Moscow, describing a newly expanded U.S. missile defense system as a threat to his country’s security — and vowing to retaliate.

CHR Comment: The end of the article briefly mentions Putin’s visit to the monastery along with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, illustrating the church-state diplomacy current in Russia.

The second link below is to a BBC article/video, “No Women Allowed: Sacred sites where even Female Animals Are Banned,” which describes the restrictions of various religious sites such as Mt. Athos.

Source: Putin blasts West on first trip to EU country this year – The Washington Post

Iraq’s Oldest Christian Monastery Destroyed by Islamic State

Satellite images confirm the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been destroyed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

CHR Comment: St. Elijah’s monastery was 1,400 years old. The article describes some features of its cultural significance, the martyrs there from 1743, and use of the monastery by military groups in recent fighting. The article is based on an interview with a Chaldean priest since the Chaldeans were the last Christian group associated with the site. None of the articles I saw included much information about St. Elijah himself. If a reader is aware of further information on this Syriac Christian leader, please share comments and/or a link.

This is yet another example of how ISIS practices vandalism in the name of religion, as though an unused site was somehow a threat to them.

Source: Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery destroyed by Islamic State – BBC News