Seven centuries later, Knights Templar still looking for Holy Grail
A group of Knights Templar—yes, they still exist centuries after the Crusades—are using ultrasound and thermal imaging to seek the Holy Grail in the vaults beneath the 15th-century Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh, Scotland. "We know many of the Knights are buried in the grounds and there are many references to buried vaults, which we hope this project will finally uncover," John Ritchie, Grand Herald and spokesman for the Knights Templar, told the London Independent. "The machine we are using is the most sophisticated anywhere and is capable of taking readings from the ground up to a mile deep without disturbing any of the land. … Rosslyn is an amazing building. It is a book in stone but, because the symbolism which is written into the chapel is in a medieval language, we haven't even cracked the introduction page yet."
Legends place several other lost relics in the chapel's vaults, including early copies of the gospels and even the Ark of the Covenant. Which is exactly why the Knights Templar shouldn't mess with it, says an Independent editorial. "Ever since the Turin Shroud was carbon-dated to the 13th or 14th century, the spoilsports of modern science have been looking for more legends to disprove," the paper says. "We say: leave the Holy Grail alone. Finding it could mess up an awful lot of good stories."
Fugitive murder suspect's religion highlighted
Edward Paul Morris is accused of murdering his pregnant wife and three young children, whose bodies were found December 21 in Oregon's Tillamook State Forest. And a major part of the story is Morris's religious background. It became even a larger part of the story when Morris used the alias "Jim Elliott" in checking into a hotel while on the run from authorities.
"Elliot's story is well known among evangelical Protestants in Portland," The Oregonian explained. "Morris has been a member of St. Johns Wesleyan Church, part of an evangelical Protestant denomination. His gray 1993 Dodge Caravan also displayed evangelical Christian stickers [for the Promise Keepers]."
Portland forensic physiologist Tony Farrenkopf told the paper that Morris may have associated himself with the Portland-born missionary killed in Ecuador in 1956. "He would be a martyr if he dies for the mission," he said before Morris's capture. "That's not a far step. If he is on a mission to save this family from a bad life, he might have been feeling there is a better life after death and, 'I'll do this as a gesture of good faith.'"
Paul Morris, the fugitive's father, said he doubted that his son thought himself too much like Elliott. "It's just a name," he said. But there's no denying that Morris was deeply religious, he said. "He was a devout Christian," he told the Associated Press. "He believed that the word of God was the centerpiece of his life. His family was second."
Despite Farrenkopf's guess that Morris "would commit suicide if he were trapped or cornered," police arrested Morris without incident Saturday.
"We are thankful he was found alive. I would love to see him," Morris's pastor, Philip Hawk, said after Sunday's service at St. Johns Wesleyan Church. "God's grace is there for all repentant hearts."
Missions and ministry:
- Tragedy led to renewed faith, evangelist says | A man who survived serious injury in Vietnam says God gave him a second chance, and he's spreading the word (St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times)
- Mission couple prepare next trip | Ministering to poor children living in a shantytown isn't your typical way to start the new year—unless you're George and Mae Louise Zeise (The Orlando Sentinel)
- Australian Christian radio station launches broadcasts to Pacific | The weekend broadcast ended a five-year battle for the group, called Heralding Christ Jesus's Blessings, which is based near the town of Kununurra in Western Australia (Financial Times)
- Christian tattoo artist claims world record | Texas man who uses tattoos to spread the Gospel believes he set a new world record during the weekend by adorning the skin of one of his friends—non-stop for more than 30 hours (Reuters)
- Orthodox churches reviving missionary tradition around the world | While vastly outnumbered by Protestants and Catholics on the mission field, Orthodox missionaries from the United States serve from Guatemala to India (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod recalls 28 overseas missionaries | One-fourth of the overseas missionaries of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are being recalled to the United States at month's end because of a shortfall in donations (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
- Faith in their work | Risks not deterring US Christians who labor overseas (The Boston Globe)
- Missionaries under fire | Danger, restrictions force many into undercover mode (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Kin mourn missionary alain in Yemen | Kathleen Gariety remembered in Wisconsin hometown (Associated Press)
Billy Graham schedules two more crusades:
- Graham returning to Oklahoma City | The crusade is tentatively scheduled June 12 through 15 (Edmond Sun)
- Billy Graham to hold revival in San Diego in May | Mission San Diego with Billy Graham is set for May 8-11 (San Diego Union-Tribune)
- Going with God | As the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association prepares to move to new headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., loyal Minneapolis workers looked for divine guidance in their decision whether to move along too (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)
'Elvis Priestly' church opens:
- Elvis-impersonating preacher rocks Canada | In the Christ the King Graceland Independent Anglican Church of Canada, "Rockin' Reverend" Dorian Baxter presides with the sideburns and singing of Elvis Presley to attract the wayward to Jesus Christ (Associated Press)
- 'Elvis Priestly' forms church of Grace-Land | First service tomorrow: Anglican priest who imitates his idol falls out with Ontario diocese (The National Post)
- Rockin' reverend shakes up service | Elvis church's first service a hit 250 flock to hall in Newmarket (The Toronto Star)
- Churches turn up volume with big sound systems | Smaller and more conservative churches following trend set by charismatics and megachurches (The Washington Post)
- In rare rite, women pledge to live their lives as virgins | For the second time in a month, a Chicago-area woman has participated in an ancient and rarely used ceremony to consecrate a virgin in the Roman Catholic Church (Chicago Tribune)
- Ethiopian churches meet spiritual, practical needs | The needs and the assistance are more plentiful these days (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
- Yoga gains a Christian following | Richard Faulds prefers "yoga for Christians" to "Christian yoga" because it suggests an "invitation for people to share Christian fellowship and explore the practice of yoga" rather than "making it Christian." (Karen Garloch, The Charlotte Observer)
Southwest Community Church:
- Donor questions ministry's use of funds | David Moore: $1.2 million gift was properly handled (The Desert Sun, California)
- Records show Moores received money for car, home security | David Moore calls records inaccurate (The Desert Sun)
- Minister plans career shift | Desert clergyman who resigned under fire defends his reputation (The Press-Enterprise)
- Moore embarks on new path | Former pastor of Southwest tells 2,000 at polo grounds he won't start a new church (The Desert Sun)
- Church dispute spawns split | The ex-pastor will meet with supporters. Church leaders inspect finances (The Press-Enterprise)
- Birds of Pray | Many Eagles players share their faith, and look to the divine - not for intervention, but inspiration (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Soccer row over sign of the cross | Under controversial proposals designed to tackle sectarianism north of the border, MSPs are advising police to crack down on the religious gesture when it is used "provocatively" by players or fans to rile opponents (The Guardian, London)
- Also: Church in religious gesture warning | Any proposal to prosecute people for making the sign of the cross at football matches would be "absurd and unworkable", according to the Scottish Catholic Church (BBC)
- Ex-Gators lineman ascends to new pulpit | His says his youth as a ''big sinner'' and his ministry to farm workers and prisoners prepared him for a senior pastor post (St. Petersburg Times)
- Blair's holy war on the home front | The new archbishop is set to lead opposition to attacking Iraq (Mark Lawson, The Guardian, London)
- U.S.A. Churches delegation concludes visit to Iraq | American threats called illegal and unchristian (Arabic News)
- Pope 'deeply worried' amid possible Iraq war, Vatican official says | "Unilateralism is not acceptable," says Archbishop Renato Martino, prefect of the Council for Justice and Peace and the Holy See's former U.N. envoy (Associated Press)
- Catching the eye of the godless blinds the wise men | Western church leaders are opposing war against Iraq but some are going too far (Mark Steyn, The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Abortion rights group plans a new focus | The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League is planning a multimillion-dollar campaign to try to make abortion a critical issue in the 2004 presidential election (The New York Times)
- More calls to police cloning | Company's claims of a second cloned baby are renewing efforts to ban the practice in U.S. (The Christian Science Monitor)
- Cash offer to fertility clinics 'creates market in embryos' | The Medical Research Council (MRC), which is setting up the UK Stem Cell Bank to store cells for spare body parts, has written to selected IVF clinics offering them money to pay for a nurse co-ordinator who would encourage patients to donate their embryos for stem-cell research (Sunday Herald, Glasgow, Scotland)
Christmas and Epiphany:
- In pictures: Orthodox Christmas Eve | Christmas Eve is being marked in the former Soviet Union, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa by Orthodox Christians who follow the Julian calendar (BBC)
- Egypt makes Christmas a national holiday, highlighting uneasy Christian-Muslim relationship | Muslims complain, Copts rejoice (Associated Press)
- Taking up the cross | Greek Orthodox celebrate Epiphany with dive and dance (The Tampa Tribune)
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