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Cyprus has a special place in my heart, as I spent many years living there as I built up my professional legal, and later ecumenical, career.
We have recently passed the two-year anniversary of the Syrian uprising. What started as a series of peaceful demonstrations against a vicious dictatorship has been turned into a bloody war of Scud missiles and cluster bombs by the Assad regime against their opponents.
When people talk about Christians who hail from an Orthodox or Catholic background, the temptation at times here in the Protestant-influenced West (but not so much in other parts of the world) is to suppose that these are men and women who are not necessarily Scripture-based in their faith - and therefore somehow ‘not Christian enough’.
Like many people, I have spent some time in recent weeks caught up in the media-fest that has accompanied the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new Pope Francis.
The latest Middle East Analysis podcast looks at the desperate situation faced by more than two million refugees living, displaced, inside and outside Syria as a result of the bloody, two-year conflict in the country.
Recently, Fr Vazken Movsesian, priest of the Armenian Orthodox Church in the USA, and wise guide to many followers and bloggers across five continents, reminded us of an instructive (and familiar) story.