Catholic University of America
In 2014, Pope Francis appointed Ashur Soro as Titular Bishop of Foraziana at the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostle. Ashur Soro holds a doctorate in theology from St. Thomas Pontifical University in Rome and a master’s degree in systematic theology from the Catholic University of America.
On December 19, 2016, the Catholic University of America announced it had received a donation of Ethiopian manuscripts from Gerald and Barbara Weiner, two collectors in Chicago. The manuscripts date back to the 17th and 18th Centuries and include more than 215 Islamic manuscripts and 125 Christian manuscripts. The collection also includes more than 350 magic scrolls – personalized prayer scrolls designed to be rolled into amulets and placed on a person’s neck to help with specific ailments, such as fatigue and headaches.
Gerald Werner chose the Catholic University of America as the recipient of the donation as a result of its commitment to Ethiopian studies. To learn more about the donation, visit www.cua.edu/news/2016/ethiopian-manuscripts.html.
A bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, Bishop Ashur Soro later decided to join the Catholic church due to his overwhelming belief. In 2014, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Ashur Soro titular bishop of Foraziana. Bishop Ashur Soro resides in the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostle. Both the Assyrian Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church have experienced destruction of their cultural heritage in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.
In late November 2016, Pope Francis voiced his support for an international event held last December 2-3, 2016, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Conference was organized by the UAE and France under the patronage of UNESCO. The aim of the event is for the preservation and protection of mankind’s endangered cultural heritage from the devastation brought about by armed conflict.
In attendance at various sessions of the two-day conference were foreign heads of states, prime ministers, and UAE leaders. The worldwide gathering brought together more than 40 countries that have experienced heritage loss due to conflict as well as important figures involved in world heritage protection.
At its conclusion, the conference produced the Abu Dhabi Declaration, in which a statement included support for a $100 million international fund to help finance emergency and preventive measures to combat illegal trade of cultural artifacts. The fund will also be used to assist in restoring damaged cultural property.