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Palestinian demonstrators protest against the visit of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III to the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on Jan. 6, 2018. Palestinians have been demanding his resignation for allegedly selling church land to Israelis in sweetheart deals. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Greek Orthodox Church faces Israeli homeowners’ ire after land sales

By Michele Chabin — January 15, 2019

JERUSALEM (RNS) — The secretive sale by the church, the country’s second largest landowner, to a group of investors has outraged residents and church members alike.

A vaccination shot for measles and mumps is prepared. Photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew Lotz/U.S. Air Force/Creative Commons

Is it OK to blame ultra-orthodox Jews?

By Jeffrey Salkin — January 13, 2019

When did it become OK to generalize about the Jews?

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center left, attends a closed-door synod of three Ukrainian Orthodox churches to approve the charter for a unified church and to elect leadership in the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, on Dec. 15, 2018. Poroshenko has told the crowd

Official recognition for Ukrainian church roils Orthodox world

By Nikolia Apostolou — January 2, 2019

ATHENS, Greece (RNS) — Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew’s decision to recognize an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church has led to fears of a schism among Orthodox Christians.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko  speaking to the media during his news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Ukraine’s leader orders Orthodox Church to change its name

By The Associated Press — December 23, 2018

(AP) — Ukraine’s president on Saturday signed a bill that orders the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name to reflect its ties to Moscow.

Many of the Israelis affected by a recent measles outbreak have been ultra-Orthodox Jews. Although Israel has an overall vaccination rate exceeding 95 percent, in isolated communities within ultra-Orthodox society only half the children are vaccinated. RNS photo by Michele Chabin

Measles outbreaks hit ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel and US

By Paul O'Donnell — November 9, 2018

JERUSALEM (RNS) — In Israel, several prominent rabbis have signed a document that reads, “Whoever isn’t vaccinated is a murderer.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, center right, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, sits with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, center left, prior to their meeting at the Patriarchate in Istanbul on Aug. 31, 2018. Orthodox Patriarchate’s Metropolitan Emmanuel of France says

Eastern Orthodoxy risks split over independence for Ukraine’s church

By Tom Heneghan — October 31, 2018

(RNS) — The political significance of the decision was immediately clear. ‘The (Russian) empire is losing one of the last levers of influence on its former colony,’ Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow leaves after his meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, at the Patriarchate in Istanbul on Aug. 31, 2018. Bartholomew I is debating whether to accept a Ukrainian bid to tear that country's church from its association with Russia, a potential split fueled by the armed conflict between Ukrainian military forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Russian Orthodox Church issues warning to Orthodoxy’s leader

By Vladimir Isachenov — September 28, 2018

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Orthodox Church warned Friday that it would sever ties with the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community if he grants autonomy to Ukraine’s Orthodox Church.

The Israeli radio station Kol Barama was fined for refusing to let women speak on its programs.  Photo courtesy Pixabay

Israeli court fines ultra-Orthodox radio station for banning women from the air

By Michele Chabin — September 21, 2018

JERUSALEM (RNS) — After a lawsuit was filed, the station began permitting women to speak during limited hours, “and only on stereotypically female topics like recipes or education,” said an activist. 

In this May 4, 2004, file photo, a full moon rises above the golden domes of the Orthodox Monastery of the Caves in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine is lobbying hard for a religious divorce from Russia and some observers say the issue could be decided as soon as September 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

Nothing sacred: Russian spies tried hacking Orthodox clergy

By Raphael Satter — August 27, 2018

LONDON (AP) — The Russian hackers indicted by the U.S. special prosecutor last month have spent years trying to steal the private correspondence of some of the world’s most senior Orthodox Christian figures, The Associated Press has found.

In Israel, ultra-Orthodox women have seven children on average and, if their husbands study Torah full time, which is a communitywide ideal, women may also be their family's sole breadwinners. RNS photo by Michele Chabin

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox women win partial victory in fight to run for office

By Yonat Shimron — August 24, 2018

JERUSALEM (RNS) — The demands for representation from a growing number of religious women come amid a seismic shift in Israeli ultra-Orthodox society in which more religious women are entering the professions.

In this July 18, 2018, photo, Pesach Eisen poses in front of a yeshiva he attended as a child in the Borough Park neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. Eisen, now 32, left his Orthodox community in his late teens. Complaints that schools like Eisen's run by New York's strictly observant Hasidic Jews barely teach English, math, science or social studies have fueled a movement to demand stricter oversight by state and local educational authorities.  (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Questioning real-world learning at ultra-Orthodox schools

By Karen Matthews — July 22, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Complaints that some schools run by the city’s strictly observant Hasidic Jews barely teach English, math, science or social studies have fueled a movement to demand stricter oversight by state and local educational authorities.

The Graduate Theological Union's Flora Lamson Hewlett Library in Berkeley, Calif. Photo courtesy of GTU

Orthodox rabbi chosen to lead multifaith California theological center

By Yonat Shimron — June 28, 2018

(RNS) — Daniel Lehmann, an Orthodox rabbi and the president of Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Mass., was picked to lead the Northern California consortium that includes graduate and doctoral degree offerings in Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

An El Al flight at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, in September 2017. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

El Al vows to end practice of moving women to accommodate ultra-Orthodox

By Paul O'Donnell — June 26, 2018

JERUSALEM (RNS) — Responding to growing pushback from Israeli feminists and human rights advocates, Israel’s national airline announced that it will no longer ask female passengers to move in deference to ultra-Orthodox men’s religious modesty. Anyone refusing to sit next to other passengers, El Al’s chairman said, will immediately be removed from the aircraft.

People on a boat hold flares as they sail behind the effigy of Judas during the revival of an old Easter tradition of the

Greek town ritually burned Judas as Orthodox celebrated Easter

By Jerome Socolovsky — April 9, 2018

ERMIONI, Greece (AP) — The tradition dates back centuries in some places. In the Greek town of Ermioni, it has been observed the past 25 years.

Onufriy, left, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, and Filaret, center, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate, take part in celebrations to mark the adoption of Christianity in Kiev, Ukraine, on July 28, 2016. Orthodox Christians in Ukraine are divided between one church that is part of the Russian Orthodox Church and a splinter church under a Ukrainian leader that neither Moscow nor other Orthodox churches recognize. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

Ukrainian Orthodox switch allegiance from Moscow to Kiev-linked churches

By Jerome Socolovsky — April 4, 2018

KIEV, Ukraine (RNS) — The church’s ties with Moscow, which date back to the 17th century when Ukraine became part of the Russian Empire, started to cause problems in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.

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