Chinese forces detain 300 Tibetan Buddhist monks for a month – sources

By Reuters Staff
May 23, 2011

(A young Tibetan monk walks around the courtyard at the Namo Monastery on the outskirts of Kangding in Sichuan province February 23, 2009/David Gray)

Security forces have detained about 300 Tibetan monks from a monastery in southwestern China for a month amid a crackdown sparked by a monk’s self-immolation, two exiled Tibetans and a prominent writer said, citing sources there. Tension in Aba prefecture, a heavily ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province, have risen to their highest levels since protests turned violent in March 2008, ahead of the Beijing Olympics, and were put down by police and paramilitary units.

China says everything normal at restive Tibetan temple

April 20, 2011
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(A Tibetan in Nepal on a 24-hour hunger strike in Kathmandu April 18, 2011, to express solidarity with victims of a Chinese crackdown last month/Navesh Chitrakar)

Orthodox Christians flock to once-banned holy site in Turkey

August 15, 2010

sumela 4 (Photo: Orthodox Christians at Sumela Monastery, 15 August 2010/Umit Bektas)

Europe Papadopolous’s grandparents were children when they fled their village in northeast Turkey and settled in Greece almost 90 years ago, yet she still felt she was in exile.

Cannes film follows French monks killed in Algeria

May 18, 2010
beauvois Xavier Beauvois at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2010/Vincent Kessler

The unsolved murder of seven French monks in Algeria during the brutal civil conflict of the 1990s is recounted in “Of Gods and Men,” a sombre and reflective entry at the Cannes film festival.

Burmese monks who fled to the U.S. are a vanishing breed

May 13, 2010
buddhist burma

Monks sit in protest as riot policemen and troops block access to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon on 26 Sept 2007/Adrees Latif

Pupils “sadistically tormented” at German Catholic monastery

April 12, 2010
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Ettal monastery, March 3, 2010/Johannes Eisele

Children were “sadistically tormented and also sexually abused” at a Catholic monastery in Pope Benedict’s native Bavaria, according to a new report commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church.

Germany says Catholic Church covered up sexual abuse

By Reuters Staff
March 9, 2010
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Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger at the chancellery in Berlin March 3, 2010/Thomas Peter

Vietnam’s not-so-simple eviction of Buddhist monks and nuns

October 5, 2009

thichA government-backed mob in Vietnam about a week ago booted nearly 400 Buddhist monks and nuns out of a monastery in the centre of the country, bringing an apparent end to an ugly standoff with complicated origins. The incident has raised questions about the ruling Communist Party’s commitment to progress on religious freedom, but the Bat Nha Monastery narrative is much more complex than simply an “authoritarian government cracks down on the faithful” story.

Serbian Orthodox bishop extols the virtues of quality wine

By Adam Tanner
September 22, 2009

trebinjeThe Serbian Orthodox Church’s Bishop Grigorije of the diocese of Zahumlje and Herzegovina is not only a prominent figure in the Church who’s seen as a possible candidate for Patriarch. He is also a major vinter whose operations have earned praise and good money for quality wines.His Tvrdos Monastery, located in Trebinja in southern Bosnia, produces 500,000 bottles of wine per year and exports it to Serbia, Montenegro and even further afield to Germany, the United States, Switzerland and other countries. “It is a very good business, but it is very difficult,” he said during the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God late last month. “It is good, but it is very difficult because we have wine from Italy, France, Spain.”
(Photo: Bishop Grigorije leads service at Trvdos Monastery, 28 Aug 2009/Adam Tanner)

The Trvdos Monastery also has a minority partnership with a Serbian-American investor who owns 440 hectares of Trebinje land, of which 200 are now vineyards, an unusual tie up between the Church and profit-seeking investor (click here to see that story).The monastery’s wine, which they sell for six euros a bottle but can retail for 30 euros in a restaurant, was available in ample amount during a late morning feast of fish and vegetarian dishes. Believers from Trebinje, Bosnia’s southernmost town of about 30,000 people, crowded onto benches around long tables to enjoy the meal.Although other Serbian Orthodox monasteries and churches grow wine (and monks and priests privately say food and wine is one of the few indulgences afforded them), Bishop Grigorije said the Tvrdos operation is the largest.  “Wine, it is very good for people, it is so good,” said the bishop, who as a boy picked grapes in this largely Serbian region of southern Bosnia. “If you drink wine, and you don’t drink too much, you will be so happy and so healthy.”treb2“If you drink bad wine, you are going to feel bad.  All the southern people, Italians, French, Spanish are so much happier than the Germans, the Czechs, as they are drinking so much wine!”The Trvdos Monastery wine production came to a halt in the 1990s Bosnian war and restarted a decade ago. Every year they are boosting production by 15,000 bottles and they recently took out about a two million euro loan to buy a series of shiny new Italian Defranceschi 30,000 litre wine storage tanks, Grigorije said. After some time in those tanks the wine goes into hundred-year old barrels to acquire the wine’s hardy, full-bodied flavour.In grape-growing and wine-making, you have to have a little faith, Grigorije said, because so much depends on uncontrollable factors such as the weather: “The most difficult thing is if we won’t have grapes – it is in the hands of God.”
(Photo: Lunch at Tvrdos Monastery, 28 Aug 2009/Adam Tanner)

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Shock cover-up charges about slain French monks in Algeria

July 6, 2009

monks-graveThe 1996 murder of seven French Catholic monks in Algeria, called the Martyrs of Atlas because of the Atlas mountains where their monastery was located, was not the work of Islamist militants as officially stated at the time, according to testimony by a retired French general to an inquiry into the killings.