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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mar Mattai monastery taken.

Located 20 miles north-east of Nineveh, Mar Mattai monastery lies tucked away on top of Maqlub Mountain known to the Assyrians as Tura D'alpayeh.

Mosul (Iraq) (AFP) – Jihadist militants have taken over a monastery in northern Iraq, one of the country’s best-known Christian landmarks, and expelled its resident monks, a cleric and residents said Monday.

Islamic State (IS) fighters stormed Mar (Saint) Behnam, a 4th century monastery run by the Syriac Catholic church near the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh, on Sunday, the sources said.

Fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stormed the Saint Behnam monastery on Monday, located 30 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Mosul. 

“You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately,” a member of the Syriac clergy quoted the Sunni militants as telling the monastery’s residents.

He said the monks pleaded to be allowed to save some of the monastery’s relics but the fighters refused and ordered them to leave on foot with nothing but their clothes.

Christian residents from the area told AFP the monks walked several miles along a deserted road and were eventually picked up by Kurdish peshmerga fighters who drove them to Qaraqosh.

The Syriac cleric said five monks were expelled from Mar Behnam. Christian families in the area said there may have been up to nine people living at the monastery.

The incident was the latest move by the Islamic State, which last month declared a “caliphate” straddling large swathes of northern Iraq and Syria, to threaten a Christian presence in the region spanning close to two millennia.

Over the weekend, hundreds of families fled Mosul, a once-cosmopolitan city which is the country’s second largest and lies around 15 kilometres (10 miles) northwest of Mar Behnam.

They abandoned homes and belongings after IS fighters running the city issued an ultimatum for Christians to convert, pay a special tax, leave or face the sword.

Families who were forced on the road and leaders of Iraq’s Chaldean and other churches said Mosul was now emptied of Christians for the first time in history.

Jihadist fighters want to create a state based on an extreme interpretation of sharia — or Islamic law — and have targeted all minorities in the Mosul area.

Other groups such as Shiite Turkmen, Shabak and Yazidis have suffered even more than the Christians, who have largely escaped summary executions since IS swept the region in early June.

Mar Behnam is a major Christian landmark in Iraq and a site where the local community and pilgrims traditionally pray for healings and fertility.

It was built by Assyrian king Sennacherib II as a penance for having his children Behnam and Sarah killed because they had converted to Christianity.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Urgent Appeal

"Christian families have been expelled from their houses and their valuables were stolen and ...their houses and property expropriated in the name of the Islamic State." 

Genghis Khan

"This has never happened in Christian or Islamic history. Even Genghis Khan or Hulagu didn't do this," Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako said. 
(Hulagu Khan led a Mongol army which sacked Baghdad in 1258, killing tens of thousands.)

An urgent message of 
Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad

To all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world
To the voice of moderate brother Muslims who have a voice in Iraq and all the world
To all who have a concern that Iraq could remain a country for all His Children
To all leaders of thought and opinion
To all who announce the freedom of the human being
To all protectors of the dignity of human beings and of religion

The control exercised by the Islamist Jihadists upon the city of Mosul, and their proclamation of it as an Islamic State, after several days of calm and expectant watching of events, has now come to reflect negatively upon the Christian population of the city and its environs.

The initial sign was in the kidnapping of the two nuns and 3 orphans who were released after 17 days. At the time, we experienced it as a flash of hope and as a clearing of the sky after the appearance of storm clouds.
Suddenly we have been surprised by the more recent outcomes which are the proclamation of an Islamic state and the announcement calling all Christians and clearly asking them to convert to Islam or to pay the jizyah (the tax all non- Muslims must pay while living in the land of Islam) – without specifying the exact amount. The only alternative is to abandon the city and their houses with only the clothes they are wearing, taking nothing else. Moreover, by Islamic law, upon their departure, their houses are no longer their properties but are instantly confiscated as property of the Islamic state.

In recent days, there has been written the letter ‘N’ in Arabic on the front wall of Christian homes, signifying ‘Nazara’ (Christian), and on the front wall of Shiite homes, the letter ‘R’ signifying ‘Rwafidh’ (Protestants or rejecters). We do not know what will happen in future days because in an Islamic state the Al-sharia or Islamic code of law is powerful and has been interpreted to require the issuance of new I.Ds for the population based on religious or sectarian affiliation.

This categorization based upon religion or sect afflicts the Muslims as well and contravenes the regulation of Islamic thought which is expressed in the Quran which says, “You have your religion and I have my religion” and yet another place in Quran states, “There is no compulsion in religion”. This is exactly the contradiction in the life and history of the Islamic world for more than 1400 years and in the co-existence with other different religions and nations in the East.

With all due respect to belief and dogmas, there has been a fraternal life between Christians and Muslims. How much the Christians have shared here in our East specifically from the beginnings of Islam. They shared every sweet and bitter circumstance of life; Christian and Muslim blood has been mixed as it was shed in the defense of their rights and lands. Together they built a civilization, cities, and a heritage. It is truly unjust now to treat Christians by rejecting them and throwing them away, considering them as nothing.
It is clear that the result of all this discrimination legally enforced will be the very dangerous elimination of the possibility of co-existence between majorities and minorities. It will be very harmful to Muslims themselves both in the near and the distant future.

Should this direction continue to be pursued, Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe.

We call with all the force available to us; we call to you fraternally, in a spirit of human brotherhood; we call to you urgently; we call to you impelled by risk and in spite of the risk. We implore in particular our Iraqi brothers asking them to reconsider and reflect upon the strategy they have adopted and demanding that they must respect innocent and weaponless people of all nationalities, religions, and sects.

The Holy Quran has ordered believers to respect the innocent and has never called them to seize the belongings, the possessions, the properties of others by force. The Quran commands refuge for the widow, the orphaned, the poor, and the weaponless and respect "to the seventh neighbor."

We call Christians in the region to act with reason and prudence and to consider and to plan everything in the best way possible. Let them understand what is planned for this region, to practice solidarity in love, to examine the realities together and so be able together to find the paths to build trust in themselves and in their neighbors. Let them stay close to their own Church and surround it; endure the time of trial and pray until the storm will be over.

 † Louis Raphael Sako 
Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldean
 17 July 2014

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Regular Traditional Sunday Mass in Aberdeen

UPDATE: The Mass time in 11:15am, not 11:00am as previously advertised

 We are very pleased to announce that, at the request of Bishop Hugh Gillbert, OSB of Aberdeen, we, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, will now be offering a regular Sunday Traditional Mass once a month in Aberdeen.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered according to the 1962 Missale Romanum on the second Sunday of every month in Sacred Heart Church, Aberdeen.

 The Traditional Mass will be celebrated at 11:15am.

If you would like to attend the Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, please feel free to come on the Second Sunday of every month to:

Sacred Heart
Roman Catholic Church
15 Grampian Road, Torry
AB11 8ED

To keep up with any developments and to receive updates, please follow us on Facebook.

Cruise Orkney

 There are three large cruise liners coming into Orkney today with an aproximate total of 7000 tourists!  The shopkeepers will be pleased.

After Morning prayers this ship could be seen from Papa Stronsay making its approach to Kirkwall.  It is the MSC Magnifica.  At a build cost of $547 million, it weighs in at 95,128 tonnes.  Today it is carrying 2569 Passengers and 953 crew.
It was quite magnificent to see this huge vessel gliding along the usually empty horrizon.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Bonnie Prince in France

This year the image of the Bonnie Prince was chosen to lead the Scottish Chapter at the annual Chartres Pilgrimage. If you have never heard of the Chartres Pilgrimage, click on the link and see what it's all about.

The Scottish Chapter also took the Bonnie Prince as its name!  On returning from the pilgrimage, the organiser of the Scottish Chapter sent an email to relate the Bonnie Prince's success:

"Thank you so much for letting us carry Bonnie Prince Jesus for our banner. He was very much loved by the pilgrims at Chartres especially the French, so much so that he was chosen to lead the procession into Chartres Cathedral for the final Mass!
 We are already planning to return next year. I hope that we will be able to have the Bonnie Prince lead us again..."

 The Scottish Chapter members preparing to depart Edinburgh airport en route to Paris.  The Chapter was fortunate to have two of the Dominican sisters from Elgin as part of its number.

Scottish pilgrims stand with the Bonnie Prince out side the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, where the pilgrimage begins.

 The Scottish Chapter: Bonnie Prince Jesus!

 Walking on the Chartres Pilgrimage.

 Processing out of Chartres Cathedral after the final Mass at the end of the pilgrimage.  As the email said, The Bonnie Prince was honoured by leading the procession into the Cathedral, and thus is the last out at the end.

Posing for photos with the Bonnie Prince.

Thank you Team Scotland for taking the Bonnie Prince on the Chartres Pilgrimage!

Anyone in Scotland who might be interested to joining the Scottish Chapter on next year's Chartres Pilgrimage can keep an eye on the Chartres UK blog where all the information will be posted.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

God Giveth the Increase

 Happily Orkney is receiving some summery weather, and on Papa Stronsay the greenhouse is really flourishing!  At the risk of overdoing a good thing, here is a collection of photos taken today to show you all how things are going.

 The cherries are back!  There are hundreds of delicious juicy cherries on this tree.

 A few years ago the greenhouse was infiltrated by Red Spider Mite.  This mite is a real pest.  It is very small and reproduces rapidly.  They feed on your plants and end up killing them; we nearly lost our peach tree as a result!  An effective means of keeping the mite in check is the introduction of a predator-mite called Phytoseiulus persimilis. The predator-mite colony arrives by post in these tubes.

The tiny mites and the substance in which they are packaged are spread around the greenhouse.  Here you can see some sprinkled on the pear tree.  It is on the leaf in the centre of the photo.  We do this each year.

Over the past few years we have also been introducing various aphid predators to control the greenfly.  This year we are thrilled to find that the predators seem to have settled permanently in the greenhouse.  We have not introduced any new ones this year, and the greenfly are completely under control without the use of any sprays!
 The grapes are not ready yet, but they are on the way.

 The loganberries are delicious this year.

Due to various reasons, we didn't get any tomatoes planted this year.  However, God supplied our want: these tomato plants grew of their own accord!  They must have grown from seeds dropped by last year's plants.

An upside-down tomato.  It grows upside-down out of the bottom of a suspended bucket.  Amongst other advantages this keeps the pests away from the plant.
Could these be the only apricots grown in Orkney?  I don't know about that, but they are certainly doing well in the Papa Stronsay greenhouse.

They're not ripe yet but they already have a beautiful colour.
 The Kiwifruit are still very small.  They will not be ripe until the end of November.

 Br Jean Marie, F.SS.R. is laying some new sprinkler pipes.

 They are simply a plastic hosepipe with lots of small pinholes in it.

 The pipes are hooked-up to a tap and the tap is turned on.

This sprays the area around the pipe with a fine, rain-like mist.  This will also help in the fight against the Red Spider Mite mentioned earlier in the post.  The Spider Mite thrive in a low humidity environment.  Using these sprinkler pipes helps to keep the humidity high and create a hostile environment for the Spider Mite.

 Br Alfonso Maria, F.SS.R. is transferring seedlings into the ground.

 The Strawberry bed has also had a sprinkler hose put on it.  The strawberries are a little out of control this year, but their fruit still tastes great!
 The peaches are still young.

 One of two apple trees.

 The plums are still green and thus quite difficult to distinguish from the leaves.  However once you start to see them, you'll see that it's going to be a bumper crop.

The Nectarines have a while to go yet before they are ready for eating.

Therefore, neither he that planteth is any thing, nor he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 1 Cor, 3:7

Thursday, June 12, 2014

FSSP Priest Murdered

Of your charity please pray for the soul of Fr Kenneth Walker, FSSP who was shot dead last night. Requiescat in Pace.

Our students studied with Fr Walker in the FSSP seminary in Nebrasca, USA, and assisted at his ordination. We are very sad to hear of his tragic death. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Latin Mass Society Conference

Last Saturday, 24th May, the Latin Mass Society (LMS) held their conference in London.  The theme of the conference was "The Traditional Mass and Evangelisation", and included such speakers as Bishop Athanasius Schneider and Very Rev Fr Michael Mary, F.SS.R.  Thanks to the LMS chairman, Dr Joseph Shaw, and to Mr Martin Gardener for the use of their photos. 


 Arriving in London early on Saturday morning meant that Father could celebrate Holy Mass in the Lady Chapel of St James's, Spanish Place before the conference. (Photo: Dr Joseph Shaw)

 (Photo: Dr Joseph Shaw)

 (Photo: Dr Joseph Shaw)

 Bishop Athanasius Schneider delivering his address at the LMS conference in London. (Photo: Mr Martin Gardener)

 Fr Michael Mary spoke on the need to pass on the Catholic traditions to the next generation.

 Father spoke not only of liturgical tradition, but also traditional devotion and doctrine, especially of the eternal truths: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.

Listen To Fr Michael Mary's conference right here on our blog!

Alternatively you can listen and download from the LMS's podcast page.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider brought the conference to a close with his blessing.

Very Rev. Fr Michael Mary and Br Martin Mary pictured with Bishop Schneider after the conference. (Photo: Mr Martin Gardener)

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