Bishop Notes Rising Christian Fear

MALATYA, Turkey, APRIL 19, 2007 ( A Catholic bishop has expressed his dismay that four Protestants were slain on Wednesday while at work at a Christian publishing house that distributes Bibles.

According to AsiaNews, three of the four victims, including the Zirve publishing house's owner, had their throats cut when assailants entered. The fourth died trying to escape.

Bishop Luigi Padovese, vicar apostolic of Anatolia, said today on Vatican Radio: "We are truly sad, because we see that there is a series of these kinds of acts which provoke a sentiment of uncertainty and perplexity regarding our presence here in Turkey.

"We don't want to leave, but these happenings make us understand that within this country, which is fundamentally healthy, there are mad people who don't accept our presence."

Guarded presence

The bishop explained that he has a police escort at all times. And his parish is guarded day and night.

"These are symptoms that make it possible to perceive a certain fear on the part of the police -- fear that something will happen," the 60-year-old bishop said.

The general manger of the publishing house, Hamza Ozant, was on his way to work when the slaying happened. He said that the company had been receiving threats for a year, which had led it to request police protection.

According to AsiaNews, many people in Turkey resent the publication of the Bible in their native tongue.


Bishop Padovese also spoke of the 2006 assassination of Father Andrea Santoro. "The Turkish population is fundamentally healthy," he said. "Unfortunately, these acts are carried out by certain Islamic and nationalistic fanatics.

"They raise their voices, above all, in key moments -- we are drawing near presidential elections. … These are acts that aim to destabilize."

Friday's Italian issue of L'Osservatore Romano explained that proselytism is not illegal in Turkey, as it is in some Islamic states. Nevertheless, the semiofficial Vatican newspaper reported: "[W]itnessing to a faith other than Muslim continues to be dangerous."

"In Turkey, not just Islamic fundamentalists are active and organize homicidal attacks," the newspaper added, "but even the press and other institutions accuse those who proselytize as 'enemies of Turkey.'"

Code: ZE07041904

Date: 2007-04-19

Teachings of Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

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(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

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Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have autority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

St. John Chrysostom