5 years on, what has Pope Francis done for religious freedom?

Pope Francis greets people during his inauguration on 19 March 2013. (Photo: Getty Images)
Pope Francis, the son of Italian migrants, appeared on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica five years ago to be introduced as the first Latin American pontiff. Below, World Watch Monitor looks at a few of the highlights of his tenure so far, and his impact on freedom of religion . . . Read More

Pope and Patriarch ‘feared nuclear war could erupt over Syria’

Flag of Syria is waving as sign of victory over the destroyed heavily damaged city of Aleppo. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The historic meeting between the heads of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches took place not only out of shared concern for Middle Eastern Christians, but to try to avert confrontation between nuclear powers in Syria, according to the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. When Patriarch Kirill met Pope Francis in 2016 it . . . Read More

Russia: ‘Extremist’ identified after five women killed in Dagestan church attack

Dagestan mosque
Authorities in one of the least stable parts of Russia have identified the suspected gunman who killed five women at a church yesterday (18 February) before being shot dead by security forces. The mayoral office in Kizlyar, in the restive and ethnically diverse region of Dagestan, named the assailant as . . . Read More

Is Putin’s ‘education to patriotism’ bill another endorsement of Russian Orthodox Church?

Is Putin’s ‘education to patriotism’ bill another endorsement of Russian Orthodox Church?
A new law on “education to patriotism” set to be introduced in Russia on New Year’s Day is a further sign of Russia distancing itself from the West, but is not necessarily a sign of President Vladimir Putin favouring one Church over another, according to an analyst for the Christian . . . Read More

Russian Patriarch and UK archbishop call for greater support for persecuted Christians

Russian Patriarch and UK archbishop call for greater support for persecuted Christians
The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury have called for more aid to reach Middle Eastern refugees, especially Christians, and for robust safeguards against extremist ideology, which they say has spread “like an epidemic”. Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop Justin Welby released a joint statement thanking . . . Read More

Russian takeover of Crimea leads to inter-Church tensions

Russian takeover of Crimea leads to inter-Church tensions
Reports of violence and intimidation by pro-Russian groups against non-Russian Orthodox Christians in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are beginning to emerge. According to Ukraine’s Liga News website, on June 1, a group of armed men in traditional Cossack clothes attacked the Holy Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate (the UOC-KP) . . . Read More