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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Kayla Koslosky

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

A Muslim family risked their lives to save two ancient Christian texts from destruction by the Islamic State in Iraq.

According to The Christian Post, the official press agency of the Roman Catholic Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions shared the story of how two ancient Syriac Orthodox manuscripts evaded destruction for three years while ISIS controlled the city of Mosul, Iraq.

Reportedly, ISIS has destroyed numerous cultural and religious relics in the area and has burned hundreds of Christian texts

One family who wished to remain anonymous for their safety, however, was determined to keep the texts safe despite threat of being killed if caught.

In an interview with AsiaNews.It Father Paulos Thabit Mekko recalled the story noting that he is now temporarily in possession of the manuscripts until they can be returned to their rightful owners. The priest told Asia News that he believes that the manuscripts were stolen from the Syriac Orthodox Church of the Immaculate, a church that was demolished by ISIS.

Mekko explained, "Recently a Chaldean from Mosul contacted me saying that he had a Muslim neighbor from the time he lived in the city 20 years ago.”

He continued, "One day the man saw a lorry dump some rubbish," Mekko explained. "He was in the area looking for some wood to cook and heat his home. Among the refuse, he found a couple of manuscripts in ancient Syriac script and thought they might be of some value."

The man then reportedly decided to take the manuscripts home understanding it could cost him his life.

The Muslim man then went to visit his former Christian neighbor in Kurdistan and brought the documents with him. The man handed them over to his friend and according to Asia News, asked his former neighbor if he knew a pastor or a religious scholar who could be trusted to keep the manuscripts, discover their rightful home and not sell them.

"The latter entrusted me with the two tomes. They contain the offices of the morning and evening prayers in Syriac Antiochene Orthodox rite," Mekko was quoted as saying.

Mekko also came bearing a message from the manuscripts’ keeper. Mekko said, "[T]he Muslim man wanted to give me a message: 'not all Muslims are with IS.’” 

He continued, "Many consider Christians like brothers and are ready to put their lives at risk to save a Christian text. What great courage!"

Photo courtesy: Aaron Burden/Unsplash

Over the weekend it was announced that American author, scholar and pastor Eugene Peterson, 85, had entered hospice care

Peterson’s son Eric shared a message with his father’s friends and family on Friday, informing them of Peterson’s declining health. According to Christianity Today, Eric sent out an e-mail which was then posted to Facebook by Robert Creech. 

In the message Eric explained that on Tuesday of last week Peterson was admitted into the hospital for his declining health which “took a sudden and dramatic turn” in the wrong direction caused by an infection. Peterson is suffering from heart failure and dementia and according to his son, both are “advanced and progressing.”

Eric goes on to say, “He will come under the care of hospice and his medical care will be primarily palliative. As of now it looks like it will be 1-3 more days before he returns home, depending on when all the support systems are in place.”

The author of over 30 books, Peterson is famously known for his writing of his contemporary translation of the bible, The Message. Peterson has been a highly influential Christian scholar, Relevant Magazine even calling him “one of the most recognized Bible scholars in America.”

Peterson is also known for founding Maryland’s Christ Our King Presbyterian Church where he was the pastor for nearly 30 years before he retired in 2006.

Photo courtesy: Aaron Burden/Unsplash

A Toronto children’s hospital proposed policy says that in some cases for physician-assisted suicide for children, parents may not be notified until after the child has died.

"Usually, the family is intimately involved in this (end-of-life) decision-making process,” according to the British Medical Journal's J Medical Ethics paper from doctors at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

“If, however, a capable patient explicitly indicates that they do not want their family members involved in their decision-making, although health care providers may encourage the patient to reconsider and involve their family, ultimately the wishes of capable patients with respect to confidentiality must be respected,” the doctors said.

The doctors created a flowchart of scenarios showing how medically induced death could occur at the Toronto hospital.

The province of Ontario does not require parents to sign off if a “capable” minor decides to refuse treatment. The proposed policy says because minors can refuse treatment there is “no legal reason” for parent involvement in assisted suicide.

“The fact is medical assistance in dying is now legal, and it’s legal in many places around the world,” said bioethicist Bridget Campion. “Now that it is legal, many practitioners are saying, ‘How do we do this?’”

A 2017 survey of more than 1,000 Canadian doctors found that about 33 percent of them believe assisted suicide should be illegal for minors. Half believe “mature” minor should be able to ask for assisted suicide.

The pro-life group Live Action said the proposed policy from the hospital is “sickening.”

Photo courtesy: Pixabay/Pexels