390 News


1 Million Devotees Flock to Saint’s Remains


In India, an estimated one million people have flocked to witness the remains of the 16th Century saint, Francis Xavier, on display in the Goa State.  Widely regarded as the greatest historical figure in Asian Christianity, the Jesuit saint arrived in Goa in 1542 and, according to Roman Catholic records, went on to minister in the rest of India and Asia.  The body is normally kept on a high alter in the Basilica of Bom Jesus, but every ten years it is put on display in a glass-topped silver casket for six weeks.  Church leaders expect “millions more” devotees to visit the remains, which are on display until January 2.



German Lutherans Protest Against Belarus Travel Ban on Children


Church organizations in Germany are protesting a recent Belarusian ban preventing child victims of Chernobyl from visiting Western nations.  According to Ecumenical News International, Belarusian President Alexander Lukaschenko claimed he wished to keep the children away from the influences of Western society.  In recent years it had been a common practice for certain Lutheran Churches in Germany to host Belarusian children who suffer from pollution caused by the 1986 Chernobyl accident.  Burkhard Homeyer, Chairman of the Children from Chernobyl in Germany, has said that the travel ban violates a 1994 agreement between Germany and Belarus regarding such rehabilitation visits.



ADRA Philippines Responds to Three Typhoons


In the Philippines, over sixteen thousand people affected by three recent typhoons are receiving aid from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.  The project, valued at forty-three thousand U.S. Dollars, targets three specific areas in the Northern Philippines and provides victims with food, blankets, clothing and building supplies.  The project is in coordination with the Social Welfare and Development Office of the Philippines as well the Non-governmental organization Network for Disaster response.



Spiritual Britain Worships Over 170 Different Faiths


Citizens of the United Kingdom follow over 170 different faiths, this according to recently-published official numbers collected during the 2001 census.  Over seventy percent of Britons claimed to be Christian, with Muslims following far behind as the second largest group.  A rather surprising discovery was that nearly 400 thousand people claimed to be Jedi Knights, the science-fiction warriors of the Star Wars films.  Also revealed by the census was the growing influence Spiritualism and Paganism in the Britain, with Spiritualism ranking as the eighth largest religious group.  Experts say that while the numbers do reveal a broad spirituality growing across the UK, an overall attachment to Christianity remains the norm.



Adventists Support UN Celebration on Human Rights Day


Leaders from governments and organizations around the world, including the Seventh-day Adventist Church, met recently at the United Nations for a special celebration commemorating the 56th annual Human Rights Day.  During the celebration, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, met with Dr. Jonathan Gallagher, UN liaison for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to thank the Adventist Church for its continued support in speaking out against discrimination and violations of human rights.  The highlight of the celebration was the unveiling of an exhibition at the UN recalling the atrocities of the transatlantic slave trade and the fight to free enslaved Africans.


And finally,…


Trappist Monks Win Praise for Fruitcake


It’s a classic Christmas treat, and every year countless people around the world buy over 21 million fruitcakes for the holidays.  And the fruitcake widely acclaimed to be this year’s best is made at by Trappist monks at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Lafayette, Oregon in the United States.  Trappist monks have developed a reputation for making fruitcakes of exceptional quality, and Trappist monastery bakeries across the U.S. have been named numerous times as making the best fruitcake.  Reviewers described the fruitcake from Our Lady of Guadalupe as “nutty, rich and not too sweet.”  Proceeds from fruitcake sales account for twenty-five percent of the monastery’s annual income.