Thousands of Hindus take holy dip in India, defying COVID surge

A Hindu devotee takes a ritualistic bath

Hundreds of thousands of Hindu worshippers have gathered on the banks of India’s Ganges river for a holy dip despite a 30-fold rise in coronavirus cases in the past month.

Hindus believe a bath in the frigid waters of the holy river during the Makar Sankranti festival, observed every year on January 14, washes away sins and frees them from the cycle of death and rebirth.

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Multifaith Leaders urge immediate release of refugees and asylum seekers still in detention – including those in the Park Hotel

Call for immediate release of refugees and asylum seekers still in detentionMultifaith leaders and faith communities in Australia have recognised the plight of those in long term detention – particularly those who have endured many years of enforced containment in detention centres and hotels. A plea for a merciful solution is raised for those who are held for more than 8 years in detention.
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Tasmanian Way to St James pilgrim walk attracts global audience as virtual event

Tasmanian Way to St James pilgrim walk attracts global audience as virtual event

People from all over the world are taking part in the virtual version of a Tasmanian pilgrimage this weekend.

The Way to St James from Mountain River to Cygnet was inspired by Spain’s Camino de Santiago.

COVID-19 has moved the Tasmanian event online, but pilgrims from around the world are connecting to share the experience.

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Walking the Camino ~ After the Pandemic

Martim Thomas
Martim Thomas, 41, from Switzerland, walks along a path during a stage of “Camino de Santiago” or St. James Way near Pamplona, northern Spain, Thursday, April 14, 2021. The pilgrims are trickling back to Spain’s St. James Way after a year of being kept off the trail due to the pandemic. Many have committed to putting their lives on hold for days or weeks to walk to the medieval cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in hopes of healing wounds caused by the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain (AP) — Committing to the pilgrim’s path has for centuries been a source of renewal for those willing to put their lives on hold and spend days, weeks or even months crossing Spain along the Camino de Santiago, a journey that takes hikers to the reported burial place of the apostle St. James.

But after a year of being kept off the Way of St. James due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, soul-searchers hoping to heal wounds left by the coronavirus are once again strapping on backpacks and following trails marked with a seashell emblem to the shrine in the city of Santiago de Compostela.

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Sikhs celebrate guru’s birthday

Sikhs celebrate guru’s birthday

The Sikh community in Shepparton will participate in a weekend of prayer and religious celebrations in honour of the birthday of the 10th and last human Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. “This is the day of the birth of the 10th guru, the last living guru,” Sikh Association secretary Gurmeet Singh said. Guru Gobind Singh became the last human guru when he passed on the guruship to the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.

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Care for Environment – Daoism

Dao Temple Cebu City

Daoism has existed as a tradition in China for at least 2,500 years. It takes its name from the Dao or “The Way,” as described in the Dao De Jing, “The Classic of the Way and Its Power,” attributed to the legendary Laozi, which means simply “the Old Master.” This work of great depth and beauty is one of the most translated books in the world.

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The oldest surviving Zoroastrian scriptures were found not in Iran or India, but in China

 The opening to chapter nine of the 'Videvdad Sadah'.
The opening to chapter nine of the ‘Videvdad Sadah’. | British Library (Public domain)
(Click to view full size)


In the United Kingdom, the British Library has an unrivalled collection of Zoroastrian manuscripts and therefore welcomed the opportunity to display three of its Zoroastrian treasures in the current exhibition “Epic Iran” organised by the V&A with the Iran Heritage Foundation in association with The Sarikhani Collection.

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Anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies aged 90

Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama

The Nobel laureate, often described as South Africa’s moral conscience, died in Cape Town on Boxing Day. Desmond Tutu, the South African cleric and social activist who was a giant of the struggle against apartheid, has died aged 90, prompting tributes from religious leaders, politicians and activists from around the world.

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Pope Francis calls for ‘dialogue’ to heal a divided world

Pope Francis gives his Christmas message

Pope Francis has used his Christmas message to decry increasing polarisation in personal and international relationships, saying only dialogue can resolve conflicts ranging from family feuds to threats of war. In his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message delivered on Saturday, Christmas Day, the head of the Catholic Church called on individuals and world leaders to talk to each other rather than dig in their heels, a distancing he said has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Christmas Messages from Church Leaders

voodoo-madonnaChristmas is with us once again. Church leaders remind us of that Jesus is the reason for the season, and not merry making and over-indulgence. It has been a year of challenges for churches – and indeed, for all faiths. Many religions – when Covid19 restrictions halted divine services – had to find new solutions to continue ministry and service to spiritual seekers. Here, we share two Christmas messages from Church leaders which bear witness not only to the Birth of Jesus, but also to the confrontations to the human situation we all face, together.
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Pope Francis at Christmas: Look beyond the lights and remember the poor

Christmas Night Mass at St Peter's Basilica

VATICAN CITY, Dec 24 (Reuters) – Pope Francis, leading the world’s Roman Catholics into Christmas, said on during the Christmas Night Mass at St Peter’s Basilica that people who are indifferent to the poor offend God, urging all to “look beyond all the lights and decorations” and remember the neediest.

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Interfaith Festivals – Christmas and New Year

Interfaith Festivals - Christmas and New YearAt this time, there are so many festivals centered around the time of Solstice, the Birth of Christ, the Death of the Prophet Zoroaster. Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Judaism are all represented with festivals at this time. In the New Year, there is the Shinto New Year observance, The Epiphany (Christmas for the Orthodox), the Rastafarian Christmas, the celebration of Guru Gobind Singh, the World Religion Day of the Baha’i and the Mahayana New Year of the Buddhists. Melkut shomain, the Reign of God is celebrated in many traditions.
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Respect Victoria

Respect Victoria

We know the holidays present different experiences for everyone. Some find it relaxing and fun, others may find it a stressful, lonely, and even dangerous time.

Preventing family violence begins with addressing inequalities at home, in relationships, in families, and in communities.

This year, we’ve all taken steps to support and care for each other during a difficult time – and we must take the same approach when it comes to stopping family violence before it starts.

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Stress at Christmas?

Stress at Christmas
Interfaith includes people of all faiths, and of no faith (for these are people who practice human values, that which upholds human flourishing.) Many people join in the Christmas festivities. Yet, this is a stressful time for many – some with a newly diagnosed Covid infection, others stressed by demands to put on a lunch that satisfies all, still yet others who are in poverty. Here is an article about meditation – Silence is religiously neutral – and letting go of stress at this Christmas.

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A Muslim convert’s reflections on Christmas

A Muslim convert’s reflections on ChristmasGod is on the side of the poor and downtrodden, those pushed aside and oppressed by the rich and the powerful. Christmas, celebrated by the Western Church on 25 December and the Eastern on 7 January, is a reminder to me of the links between Islam and Christianity and the important role of the mother of Jesus (a), Mary (a) in both faiths.
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International Migrants Day

International Migrants DayOn 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day. On that day, in 1990, the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Each year, 18 December is celebrated as International Migrants Day. The Theme for Migrants Day 2021 is Harnessing the potential of human mobility.
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