NEWS ANALYSIS: Orthodox ecumenical patriarch ends monthlong U.S. visit

c. 1997 Religion News Service PITTSBURGH _ After four weeks crisscrossing the nation, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew ended his U.S. tour here Monday (Nov. 17), having largely succeeded in his effort of making Orthodox Christianity more publicly visible and portraying it as a”living church”in step with the times, even as it holds fast to its ancient traditions. The 57-year-old Bartholomew’s 16-city tour took him from Washington, D.C., to California. He visited cities with large Orthodox communities _ Chicago and Boston _ and cities where Orthodox Christians are a rare breed, such as Des Moines, Iowa.

COMMENTARY: Open letter to an inner-city pastor

c. 1997 Religion News Service (Samuel K. Atchison is an ordained minister and has worked as a policy analyst and social worker to the homeless. He currently is a prison chaplain in Trenton, N.J., and a fellow of the Gallup International Institute.) UNDATED _ Dear Pastor, When I arrived home this evening after a long workday, I found the parking spaces near my inner-city dwelling had all been taken. It seems your normally empty church was the site of a rare evening worship service; all the parking spaces had been taken by the faithful. Usually I wouldn’t mind parking a few blocks from home, even if it does increase the likelihood that my car will be stolen.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 1997 Religion News Service Gunmen attack Mexican prelates, church blames government-backed militia (RNS) Gunmen late Tuesday (Nov. 4) attacked a convoy carrying two Mexican bishops, including Bishop Samuel Ruiz, the head of the diocese in Chiapas, the volatile state in which the government is trying to quell the rebel Zapatista guerrillas. Three men _ but neither prelate _ were injured in the attack, which the church Wednesday blamed on the government-backed militia. Ruiz, a longtime advocate of the poor, especially of Indian human rights, has been instrumental in peace talks between the government and the Zapatistas, a group of mostly peasant Indians who rose up on New Year’s Day 1994 to protest poverty and exploitation in Chiapas.