Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Hundreds of Iraq Christians Mark Church Carnage
- Traffickers Murder Two Orthodox Deacons in Sinai Desert
- 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader' Debuts No. 1 at Box Office
- Manhattan Declaration Resubmits Tweaked App to Apple
Hundreds of Iraq Christians Mark Church Carnage
Forty days after extremists stormed a church in Baghdad, hundreds of Iraqi Christians returned to the scene at Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic church for mass. The AFP reports that priests read the names of the 46 parishioners who died while dozens of armed soldiers, police and private security contractors guarded the church's perimeter. Every attendee was frisked before entering the church. The head of the Syriac Catholic Church, Ignatius Joseph III Yunan, came from Lebanon to attend the service. "We came here in order to pray to God for Iraq to be better. God will never give up on you. God will make the sons of this country united," the patriarch told the crowd of 500 people. He also acknowledged that al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack. "We cannot deny the reality that the hands of those who committed this crime were controlled by minds full of hatred," the patriarch said.
Traffickers Murder Two Orthodox Deacons in Sinai Desert
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has received reports that two Orthodox deacons were murdered by human traffickers in the Sinai Desert on Dec. 11. The two deacons were singled out for punishment because their captors believed they were instrumental in alerting human rights NGOs. According to reports, more than 250 refugees and asylum seekers from Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia have been imprisoned for over a month in degrading conditions by Bedouin traffickers. The traffickers are demanding payment of up to US$8,000 per person for their release despite charging them US $2,000 for passage to Israel. The deacons were among 100 Eritrean refugees who had been separated from the group on Dec. 10. Prior to the move, the traffickers tore up the refugees' religious materials and assaulted them severely for failing to make the ransom payments.
'Voyage of the Dawn Treader' Debuts No. 1 at Box Office
C.S. Lewis's beloved children's stories returned to theater this weekend, nabbing the number one spot at the Box Office. The Christian Post reports that "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader" pulled in $24.5 million its opening weekend. That figure fell far below its predecessors in revenue, potentially spelling the end for the franchise. "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the first movie installment of the Narnia series, made $65.5 million during its opening weekend in 2005, when Disney helmed the project. Twentieth Century Fox partnered with Walden Media for "Dawn Treader." Fox senior vice president Chris Aronson said, "On the domestic side, our best days are still ahead of us with the school holidays and Christmas yet to come," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Manhattan Declaration Resubmits Tweaked App to Apple
Signers of the Manhattan Declaration have resubmitted a tweaked "app" to Apple in hopes that the company will approve it after pulling an earlier version from its iPhone/iPad app store, according to Baptist Press. Chuck Colson, one of the three drafters of the 4,700-word document, said the proposed app has only the wording of the Manhattan Declaration itself and does not include a series of four introductory survey questions, as did the earlier app. Among those questions was "do you support same-sex relationships?" and "do you support the right of choice regarding abortion?" Colson said they removed the poll as a "sign of goodwill." The declaration's supporters say the document is simply a summary of Christian beliefs on life, marriage and religious liberty. Apple pulled the app from its store in late November after thousands of complaints regarding its "offensive" content.