Religion News: Women violate monks' ban

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Women set foot in monastic community

About a dozen Greek women violated a 1,000-year ban on the male-only monastic community of Mount Athos during a protest over disputed land.

The Greek Orthodox community of 20 monasteries on the Mount Athos peninsula in northern Greece has been off limits for women since it was set up more than 1,000 years ago and is regarded as Orthodox Christianity's spiritual home.

The demonstrators were opposing claims by five of the community's monasteries to some 20,000 acres of land on the nearby Halkidiki peninsula, among the most popular tourist destinations in Greece.

Get to Know … Martin Luther

Martin Luther (1483–1546) was a German monk, theologian, and church reformer. Luther's theology challenged the authority of the papacy by holding that the Bible is the sole source of religious authority and that all baptized Christians are a general priesthood. According to Luther, salvation was attainable only by faith in Jesus as the Messiah, a faith unmediated by the church. These ideas helped to inspire the Protestant Reformation and changed the course of Western civilization. –

Survey Says

Roughly three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans who are familiar with Pope Benedict XVI have a favorable opinion of him. Catholics view the pope most favorably (86 percent). But large majorities of other religious groups, including more than seven-in-ten white evangelical Protestants (72 percent), mainline Protestants (75 percent) and black Protestants (70 percent), also are favorably inclined towards Pope Benedict. Among the religiously unaffiliated, however, 57 percent have a favorable opinion of the pope. – Pew Forum

Quote of Note

"We talked about everything we're thankful for in each room, but we didn't talk so much about objects. … We prayed about things I hadn't thought about until we went through each room in the house and thanked God for how that room facilitates our life as a family."

Shawn Lutz, whose family recently blessed their home during Eucharist. House blessings, a ritual included in the Episcopal Church's "Book of Occasional Services," have ancient roots and were designed to protect inhabitants from evil spirits. They date to the earliest days of Christianity, when Christ instructed the disciples to extend peace to homes they entered. –

Good Book?

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be taking a look at some religious classics that you might want to include on your “to-read” list this year.

“Paradise Lost” by John Milton (Oxford University Press): Paradise Lost tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle ranges across three worlds - heaven, hell, and earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, motivated by all too human temptations, but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love. –

The Word

Karma: The integrated collection of good and evil that a person accumulates during their present and former lives. Hindus, Buddhists and some others believe that the amount and type of karma will determine a person's state when they are reincarnated in their next life. Similarly, the sum total of one's acts in previous lives determines one's current life. --

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Switzerland:

Roman Catholic 41.8 percent

Protestant 35.3 percent

Muslim 4.3 percent

Orthodox 1.8 percent

Other Christian 0.4 percent

Other 1 percent

Unspecified 4.3 percent

None 11.1 percent

- CIA World Factbook

GateHouse News Service