Diodoros I, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, died December 20 of complications from diabetes. He was 77. Diodoros was born on the Greek island of Chios in 1923. Ordained in 1947, he became patriarch in 1981. Last year, Diodoros met with Pope John Paul II during the pontiff's visit to the Holy Land.
The World Fellowship of Reformed Churches and the International Reformed Fellowship have merged as the first global fellowship of evangelical Presbyterian and Reformed Christians. The new body is called the World Reformed Fellowship. Representatives from five continents and 23 countries took the step during an October meeting in Orlando, Florida.
The first complete New Testament in the Kazak language has been completed. The Bible League (South Holland, Illinois) announced the arrival of the Kazak Holy Book, which now includes all of the New Testament. Translation of the New Testament into the Central Asian language took ten years.
Some 950,000 visitors passed through the whale-shaped "Pavilion of Hope" exhibit at the recent World Expo in Hanover, Germany. The exhibit, a joint venture of the German YMCA, the Evangelical Alliance, and World Vision, presented a biblical message of hope based on the Book of Jonah. It was voted the official landmark of the exhibition, which closed October 31.
In December, police in Turkmenistan evicted Protestant Christian pastor Shokhrat Piriyev, 27, his wife, and two children from their home near Ashgabad, confiscating their deed and sealing their gate, according to Compass Direct. Piriyev and three other Turkmen Christians had been threatened and tortured for three weeks. Two other Christian families were forced from their homes as well.1