From Der Spiegel:
Archeologists are studying the ruins of a buried Christian empire in the highlands of Yemen. The sites have sparked a number of questions about the early history of Islam. Was there once a church in Mecca?
Read the article here.
If Orthodoxy can take hold here, we have a bright future in this country! Thanks to Reader James for posting this link, produced by the Eastern American Diocese.
Thanks to Nelson Mitrofan Chin for posting this article showing the growing interest Russians have in promoting Christianity inside of China.
Originally published in Russian by DECR Communication Service
June 19, 2012
English translation by Katherine Ilachinski
Consultations took place in the Russian-Chinese group of contacts and cooperation in the religious sphere
On June 19, 2012 in the State Administration for Religious Affairs of the P.R.C. in Beijing were held the second consultation of the Russian-Chinese group of contacts and cooperation in the religious sphere.
Russian-Chinese group of contacts and cooperation in the of religious sphere established in accordance with the memorandum of understanding in the development of Sino-Russian contacts and cooperation in the religious sphere between the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations under the President of the Russian Federation and China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs. The Group operates in the mode of consultations. The first consultation took place on June 8, 2011 in Moscow.
On the Russian side the meeting was attended by the head of the working group on contacts and cooperation with China in the religious sphere, the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations under the Russian President, Board Member, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the members of the Working Group, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Muftis Council, Rushan hazrat Abbyasov, representative of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia in Moscow Gelong Sanger Lama and the member of Department for External Church Relations of Moscow Patriarchate, D.I. Petrovsky. At the negotiating table were Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Russia in China, E.J. Tomihin and other Russian diplomats.
Chinese participants were represented by the Deputy Head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) of the PRC Zhang Lebin, director of the Department of International Relations of SARA Mrs. Guo Wei, director of the Fourth Department of SARA, Mrs. Liu Jinguang and other staff members of SARA, as well as representatives of the European and Central Asia department, of China’s Foreign Ministry. Invited to participate in the meeting were the chairman of the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops of China, deputy chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the rector of the Beijing Catholic Seminary, Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin, deputy chairman of the Islamic Association of China Mustafa Yang Zhibo, Deputy Buddhist Association of China, Vice Chancellor of Buddhist Academy of China’s Zong Xin.
During the consultations held in two sessions, the parties discussed the current status of religious organizations in the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, including the complex issues associated with the position of Orthodoxy in China. The participants noted the importance of the development of relations between religious communities in Russia and China and noted the contribution of religious confessions in the strengthening and expansion of cultural ties between the two countries.
I normally enjoy writing apologias and testimonies as to why I converted, but David Withun of Pious Fabrications does a superior job of explaining Orthodoxy and our general position in his post.
The only difference I would add to this is that I was born Roman Catholic and raised Protestant (Lutheran and Baptist), and I see individuals as fellow Christians. I converted because I saw the fullness of the Christian faith in Orthodoxy, something I found lacking in the others. That being said, common ground should always be hunted for.