“A prayer storm to comfort people all over the world”

Contemplative monasteries and convents pray for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic in response to an initiative of ACN

Within one week, 50 contemplative monasteries and convents all over the world accepted the invitation of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to pray, not only for all those affected by the virus during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also for ACN’s project partners, benefactors and employees. Among these are Carmelite sisters, Benedictine sisters, Dominican sisters, Poor Clares as well as five communities of monks from over 30 countries.

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Mozambique: the hidden war
by Maria Lozano.

“It is important to know what is happening – 52 young people were massacred on 7 April for refusing to join the insurgents.”

The Sahel: A briefing  - A context to resurgent Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa

As part of our mission is to share information about the suffering Church and persecuted Christians. Aid to the Church in Need International in April 2020 has released this briefing written by Mark von Riedemann, Director of Public Affairs and Religious Freedom. You can read the report here.

220px Sub Saharan Africa with borders


Istanbul: Could the former cathedral of Hagia Sophia become a mosque?

by Christophe Lafontaine.

The great cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, was once the centre of Eastern Orthodoxy, before being transformed into a mosque, and then a museum. On 23 March this year the Muslim call to prayer was once again heard in this former byzantine cathedral, a building which has been officially secular since 1934. The first time that such an event happened in recent history was on 3 July 2016, after an interval of 85 years.

In order to decipher the motivation behind this incident, the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) spoke to Etienne Copeaux, a historian of modern Turkey. As a former fellow of the French Institute of Anatolian studies (Institut français d'études anatoliennes) in Istanbul and a former researcher of the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique), he currently hosts the blog Susam-Sosak, which is devoted entirely to Turkey. He was interviewed by Christophe Lafontaine.

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Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - Exterior picture. Photographer: Christophe Lafontaine. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

In Nigeria, a priest reflects on the deadly Fulani attacks in light of Easter season

by Adie Vanessa Offiong

In the first two months of 2020, Fulani herdsmen killed 350 Christians in Nigeria, according to research by the Nigeria-based International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law.

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Father Samuel Aseer Aluga, is a Via Christi Society priest who serves in the Diocese of Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

The US-based human-rights advocacy group International Committee on Nigeria has reported that extremist Fulani herdsmen (traditionally Muslims) are responsible for 17,000 deaths between 2015 and 2020, with the great majority of victims being Christian farmers in the country’s Middle Belt region. Unlike Boko Haram, which is also still active in the country with the goal of creating a caliphate, “Fulani militants have very localized objectives, mainly that of better access to pasture for livestock," according to the Global Terrorism Index. The resulting land conflicts have taken on an ethnic and religious character, as the farmers who have had their land stolen are predominantly Christian.

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