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Pope to pray with Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem

Pope Francis will pray side by side with Orthodox patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem on May 25 during his visit to the Middle East in a powerful sign of Christian unity, the Vatican said on Thursday. The prayer with the patriarch of Constantinople -- the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox -- will take place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus Christ is believed to have died and been buried.

Orthodox patriarchs urge peace in Ukraine, agree on council

By Dasha Afanasieva and Tom Heneghan ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Patriarchs of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East. Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the second-largest family of Christian churches, also agreed to hold a summit of bishops, or ecumenical council, in 2016, which will be the first in over 1,200 years.

Orthodox patriarchs urge peace in Ukraine, agree on council

By Dasha Afanasieva and Tom Heneghan ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Patriarchs of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East. Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the second-largest family of Christian churches, also agreed to hold a summit of bishops, or ecumenical council, in 2016, which will be the first in over 1,200 years.

Bulgaria bishop stripped of job after taking part in orgy

A senior bishop from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was dismissed Thursday after an online video emerged of him at an orgy with four women. Bishop Boris, who headed the second-largest monastery in the country, Batchkovo, was relieved of his duties after being found guilty of acts "unworthy of his post", said a statement from the Holy Synod, the Church's supreme clerical body. It followed allegations that emerged on Thursday in the daily Trud, which reported on a video clip of the bishop with the four women.

Bulgaria bishop stripped of job after taking part in orgy

A senior bishop from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was dismissed Thursday after an online video emerged of him at an orgy with four women. Bishop Boris, who headed the second-largest monastery in the country, Batchkovo, was relieved of his duties after being found guilty of acts "unworthy of his post", said a statement from the Holy Synod, the Church's supreme clerical body. It followed allegations that emerged on Thursday in the daily Trud, which reported on a video clip of the bishop with the four women.

France clears way for a Russian church near Eiffel Tower

French authorities have given permission for a new Russian Orthodox church to be built near the Eiffel Tower, a project that has been blocked since 2010, the Russian embassy said Wednesday. The plan for the church dates back to 2007 when Alexy II, the now deceased patriarch of Moscow, visited France and said the Russian Orthodox church wanted a bigger edifice in Paris. Russia acquired a prime parcel of land in 2010 near the Eiffel Tower after the French state-run meteorological office sold its headquarters on the Left Bank.

Macedonia's Orthodox Church removes ban on its clergy using Facebook, will impose restrictions

SKOPJE, Macedonia - Macedonia's Orthodox Church has backtracked from an initial ban on its clergy using Facebook, but says it will instead impose social networking restrictions. The decision to prohibit use of the site in October sparked tensions between older Church dignitaries who don't use the Internet and the younger clergy. Church officials at the time had said the ban was intended to prevent "new phenomena of confessions and intimate conversations with young people."

Ukraine risks 'full-scale conflict'

The powerful Ukrainian Orthodox Patriarch Filaret warned Wednesday that continued violence in Kiev could lead to a civil conflict and called on the government to sign a pact with the European Union. "Force will only radicalise the protest and cause our country to slide into a full-scale civil conflict," the Patriarch said in a statement, calling for dialogue between the government, the opposition and society, and a "moratorium on use of force."

From priests to traders, Ukrainians pitch in to help protesters

As hundreds of protesters dig in for the long haul on Kiev's main square, a network of traders, priests and anonymous Ukrainians has sprung up to help them defy the cold and the government. Inside the improvised camp on Independence Square where die-hard protesters have slept out every night this week, Ilya, a man in his 30s, was unloading and chopping wood with a group of friends.

Pope meeting Putin, could help mend Catholic-Orthodox relations

By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 25, an encounter that could help mend strained relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian-Vatican relations have been fraught since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, with Moscow accusing the Roman Catholic Church of trying to poach believers from the Russian Orthodox Church, a charge the Vatican denies.
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