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Black smoke billows over the skyline as a fire at the oil depot for the airport rages out of control after being struck in the crossfire of warring militias battling for control of the airfield, in Tripoli, Libya in July (PA)

The Church west of Egypt has long been plagued by heresy, piracy and persecution

Fighters from the Islamist Misarata brigade fire towards Tripoli airport in July (AP)

Government flee after militants seize Tripoli and Benghazi

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople embrace during an ecumenical celebration in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in May (CNS)

Meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and visit to Turkey-Iraq border could take place

'Philip Trower came to see that all converts become Catholic for the same reason' (CNS)

Philip Trower’s recollections of his spiritual journey shows that a belief in God can be taught and caught in many different ways

Cardinal Seán Brady (CNS)

The cardinal will be replaced by Archbishop Eamon Martin who has served as coadjutor since early 2013

Pro-Russian separatists stand guard at a checkpoint near Donetsk, Ukraine (CNS)

‘People should realise what’s happening here has worldwide implications,’ says Bishop Dzyurakh

South Koreans at a Mass for peace and reconciliation in the city of Paju (PA)

The Church is growing fast in South Korea

The Confucian kingdom sought to exterminate Catholics but now the whole country admires the Church

Former megachurch pastor Ulf Ekman

It caused uproar in Sweden when I left my Protestant ministry and became a Catholic

The flag of St George, the flag of Scotland and the Union flag fly on the border (PA)

Despite historical fears of sectarianism, some former Catholics have become Scottish Nationalists

Pope Paul VI offers a blessing to the faithful in Rome before flying to Istanbul in 1967 (Photo: CNS)

Despite severe challenges, the Church did not enter a steep decline the end of the pontiff’s reign