Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Baghdad's Christians Return to Scene of Attack
- Polish Town Erects World's Largest Jesus Statue
- Five Anglican Bishops Leave for Roman Catholic Church
- Iranian Pastors Will Be Held Indefinitely
Baghdad's Christians Return to Scene of Attack
Iraqi Christians returned to Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad on Sunday, just one week after militants staged a deadly attack. "This gives us more strength," said Sama Wadie, 32, a teacher, his hand wrapped in a bandage. "We're not afraid of death because Jesus died for us. Of course we cry, but they're tears of happiness, because we die for God," he told The New York Times. The standoff between an Al Qaeda-linked group and Iraqi security forces ended with 58 people dead and about 75 injured. The terrorist group promised more attacks, declaring Christians everywhere "legitimate targets." Husan Sabah escaped last week's violence, and says he is returning because he was unable to finish his prayers the previous week. "We have to finish them," he said. Nonetheless, Sabah is considering leaving Iraq. "When you see people on the streets, they say, ‘Why are you still here? You should leave.' Every day I hear of people leaving."
Polish Town Erects World's Largest Jesus Statue
A small town in Poland now has a unique attraction - the world's tallest statue of Jesus Christ. At 167 feet tall, the one in Swiebodzin soars even higher than the famed Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro, which is 125 feet tall. NYDailyNews.com reports that the two statues are similar in design, with both depicting Jesus standing with arms outstretch, but the Polish version adds a tall crown. Residents and nearby business owners said they hope it will make their 22,000-person town a landmark and bring in money to their community. "I'm thrilled,' Emily Zoladz, 58, told The Associated Press as she watched the statue being constructed. "The statue will make Swiebodzin famous all over Poland."
Five Anglican Bishops Leave for Roman Catholic Church
Five bishops have decided to leave the Church of England and join the Roman Catholic Church under the Vatican's new program to welcome disaffected Anglicans. Religion News Service identified the five Anglican bishops as Bishop of Ebbsfleet Andrew Burnham; Bishop of Fulham John Broadhurst; Bishop of Richborough Keith Newton; and two retirees, former bishop of Richborough Edwin Barnes, and the former bishop of Ballarat (Australia), David Silk. Under a plan announced last year by the Vatican, Anglicans can ally with the Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage, including married clergy. "Women bishops is a pressing issue," Burnham told the British Press Association, "but this is a question of whether the Anglican Church is, as it says it is, part of the universal church going back to the time of Jesus, or whether it is going off in its own way and making up its own rules, as we think it is."
Iranian Pastors Will Be Held Indefinitely
ASSIST News Service reports that two Iranian pastors, one of whom faces the death penalty, will not receive an official verdict any time soon. Pastors Youcef Nadarkhani and Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani have been denied any outside contact. Neither their attorney nor family is allowed to see or talk with them. Spokesman for Present Truth Ministries, Jason DeMars, said Iranian officials thought the case would be more discreet; instead, it has gained international attention. "Since the prisoners are not affiliated with a denomination, the Iranian officials thought they could keep their evil deeds hidden," he said. "However, the international attention has forced them to maintain appearances, and thus they will neither deliver a sentence of death nor execute them at this time. They want to hold them in prison indefinitely without any verdict and, in Behrouz' case, without any official charges."