Religion

Believers pray around a cross-shaped platform covered with candles placed in jars of honey during a ceremony marking the day of Saint Haralam

Nikolay Doychinov/AFP

Believers pray around a cross-shaped platform covered with candles placed in jars of honey during a ceremony marking the day of Saint Haralampi, Orthodox patron saint of bee-keepers, at the Church of the Blessed Virgin in Blagoevgrad, eastern Bulgaria

A young Nepalese boy recites from holy scripts as he takes his lessons to become a Hindu priest at a holy school in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Hinduism is the major religion of Nepal with over 80 percent people identifying themselves as Hindus according to a 2011 census. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Niranjan Shrestha/AP

A young Nepalese boy recites from holy scripts as he takes his lessons to become a Hindu priest at a holy school in Kathmandu, Nepal. Hinduism is the major religion of Nepal with over 80 percent people identifying themselves as Hindus according to a 2011 census 

Kashmiri Muslim devotees pray outside the shrine of Sufi Saint Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Thousands of devotees thronged to the shrine, where the Kashmiri Muslim head priest displayed the relics of the Sufi Saint. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

Dar Yasin/AP

Kashmiri Muslim devotees pray outside the shrine of Sufi Saint Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Thousands of devotees thronged to the shrine, where the Kashmiri Muslim head priest displayed the relics of the Sufi Saint 

Devotees offer prayers as they stand on the bank of the Hanumante River during a month-long Swasthani Brata Katha festival in Bhaktapur...Devotees offer prayers as they stand on the bank of the Hanumante River during a month-long Swasthani Brata Katha festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal, January 27, 2016. During the month long festival, devotees recite one chapter of a Hindu tale daily from the 31-chapter sacred Swasthani Brata Katha book that is dedicated to God Madhavnarayan and Goddess Swasthani, alongside various other gods and goddess and the miraculous feats performed by them. The devotees also go on pilgrimages to various temples, perform religious rituals, take a holy bath in the rivers and fast for a month, especially among women who believe fasting helps in their family's well-being or in getting them a good husband. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

Devotees offer prayers as they stand on the bank of the Hanumante River during a month-long Swasthani Brata Katha festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal 

A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in an ice water in a pond to mark Epiphany outside Simferopol, Crimea, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. The Russian Orthodox Church follows the old Julian calendar, according to which Epiphany falls on Jan. 19.  (AP Photo/Alexander Polegenko)

Alexander Polegenko/AP

A Russian Orthodox believer bathes in a pond to mark Epiphany outside Simferopol, Crimea. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year’s celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing

A river police patrol pulls out men who swam in the icy water of the river Sava in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. Serbian Orthodox Church followers plunged into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark the upcoming Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day. Water that is blessed by a cleric on Epiphany is considered holy and pure until next year's celebration, and is believed to have special powers of protection and healing. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Darko Vojinovic/AP

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with imam Qari Asim, and Shabana Muneer, a member of the mosque’s women’s group, as he visits the Makkah Masjid Mosque in Leeds 

A woman burns incense sticks as people gather for morning prayers at Longshan temple in Taipei, Taiwan January 12, 2016.

Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A woman burns incense sticks as people gather for morning prayers at Longshan temple in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday

Devotees raise their hands next to a replica of the Black Nazarene in Manila ahead of the annual religious procession, during which hundreds of thousands of barefoot Catholic devotees will honour an ebony statue of Jesus Christ, which they believe has miraculous powers

Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images

Devotees raise their hands next to a replica of the Black Nazarene in Manila ahead of the annual religious procession, during which hundreds of thousands of barefoot Catholic devotees will honour an ebony statue of Jesus Christ, which they believe has miraculous powers

Greek Orthodox faithful wait for the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to throw a wooden crucifix into the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey...Greek Orthodox faithful wait for the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (not pictured) to throw a wooden crucifix into the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey, January 6, 2016. Greek Orthodox faithful swam to retrieve the wooden crucifix thrown by Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I into the Golden Horn in Bosphorus during Epiphany Day celebrations.

Murad Sezer/Reuters

Greek Orthodox faithful wait for the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to throw a wooden crucifix into the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday. Greek Orthodox faithful swam to retrieve the wooden crucifix during the Epiphany Day celebrations

Nuns pray during an early morning Rorate mass in Frnaciscan church in Bratislava on December 17, 2015.   Rorate Mass which is traditionally celebrated in Advent, in honour of Holy Mary, in the dark of the morning before sunrise, by candlelight.

Vladimir Simicek/AFP

Nuns pray during an early morning Rorate mass in Frnaciscan church in Bratislava on Thursday. Rorate Mass which is traditionally celebrated in Advent, in honour of Holy Mary, in the dark of the morning before sunrise, by candlelight

An Iraqi Muslim woman walks past Christmas decorations for sale in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Thursday

Haidar Hamdan/AFP

An Iraqi Muslim woman walks past Christmas decorations for sale in the Shia holy city of Najaf on Thursday

Children gasp as they watch a Kenyan Police helicopter fly overhead, while awaiting for the arrival of Pope Francis at the St. Joseph The Worker Catholic Church in the Kangemi slum of Nairobi, Kenya Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Pope Francis is in Kenya on his first-ever trip to Africa, a six-day pilgrimage that will also take him to Uganda and the Central African Republic.

Ben Curtis/AP

Children gasp as they watch a Kenyan Police helicopter fly overhead, while awaiting for the arrival of Pope Francis at the St. Joseph The Worker Catholic Church in the Kangemi slum of Nairobi, Kenya on Friday

Newspapers carrying headlines about Pope Francis' visit to Africa are displayed at a news stand in Nairobi on Wednesday. On the streets of the Kenyan capital Nairobi huge billboards have been erected to welcome the pontiff during his visit to Kenya,Uganda and the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) on a six-day trip. Vast crowds are expected to turn out to see his motorcade pass. Kenya's government has declared November 26, 2015, the first full day of his visit, in which Francis will hold a giant open air mass in central Nairobi, a public holiday and a "national day of prayer and reflection. Authorities plan to deploy over 10,000 police in the capitals of Kenya and Uganda during the pope's visit. Nairobi and Kampala are both targets for Al-Qaeda's East Africa branch, the Shebab, because they have troops deployed in Somalia

Jennifer Huxta/AFP

Newspapers carrying headlines about Pope Francis’ visit to Africa are displayed at a news stand in Nairobi on Wednesday. On the streets of the Kenyan capital Nairobi huge billboards have been erected to welcome the pontiff during his visit to Kenya,Uganda and the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) on a six-day trip

The Wider Image: Catholicism in Africa...A woman walks past a section of Mogadishu Cathedral that was built by Italian authorities, in Mogadishu, Somalia, November 3, 2015. The church was attacked during the 1989 civil war that saw its last Bishop, Salvatore Colombo, killed by armed insurgents while giving mass in the cathedral. Pope Francis makes his first pontifical visit later this month to Africa, where Catholicism has grown rapidly over the last few decades but now faces serious competition from Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, as well as Islam. The pontiff's trip to Africa, where an estimated 1 in 5 people is Catholic, takes in Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic. His visit to that country is fraught with security concerns after months of clashes between Christians and Muslim gangs in which dozens of people have been killed.    REUTERS/Feisal

Feisal Omar/Reuters

A woman walks past a section of Mogadishu Cathedral that was built by Italian authorities, in Mogadishu, Somalia. The church was attacked during the 1989 civil war that saw its last Bishop, Salvatore Colombo, killed by armed insurgents while giving mass in the cathedral. Pope Francis makes his first pontifical visit later this month to Africa, where Catholicism has grown rapidly over the last few decades but now faces serious competition from Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, as well as Islam. 

Vultures come from skies over ethnic Tibetans gathering for a sky burial near the Larung valley located some 3700 to 4000 metres above the sea level in Sertar county, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province...Vultures come from skies over ethnic Tibetans gathering for a sky burial near the Larung valley located some 3700 to 4000 metres above the sea level in Sertar county, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, China October 31, 2015. In early afternoons, on a hill near famous Larung Wuming Buddhist Institute, relatives and onlookers gather for sky burials in which bodies of deceased people are offered to vultures to prey upon it. Such burials are practiced by some Tibetans and Mongolian in China as an extreme type of Buddhist's "self-sacrifice almsgiving". It is believed that feeding vultures with decomposed corpse of relatives on top of a mountain is a respectful to pay tribute to their passed-away beloved ones. Picture taken October 31, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Vultures fly, as ethnic Tibetans gather for a sky burial near the Larung valley, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province. Relatives and onlookers gather for sky burials in which bodies of deceased people are offered to vultures. Such burials are practiced by some Tibetans and Mongolian in China as an extreme type of Buddhist’s “self-sacrifice almsgiving”. It is believed that feeding vultures with decomposed corpse of relatives on top of a mountain is a respectful to pay tribute to their passed-away beloved ones. 

A Ukrainian serviceman visits an abandoned church in the Pisky village near Donetsk

Anatolii Stepanov/AFP

A Ukrainian serviceman visits an abandoned church in the Pisky village near Donetsk

Samaritans pray on top of Mount Gerizim near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday during Sukkot (Tabernacles) celebrations. The Samaritans are a community of a few hundred people living in Israel and in the Nablus area, who trace their lineage to the ancient Israelites Moses led out of Egypt.

Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP

Samaritans pray on top of Mount Gerizim near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday during Sukkot (Tabernacles) celebrations. The Samaritans are a community of a few hundred people living in Israel and in the Nablus area, who trace their lineage to the ancient Israelites Moses led out of Egypt

Turkish tourists are seen trying to take shelter during clashes between Palestinians protesters and Israeli police near the entrance of al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalems old city on Monday. New clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli police who stormed Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, as an expected increase in Jewish visitors to the site over the Sukkot holiday boosted tensions.

Ahmad Gharabli/AFP

Turkish tourists are seen trying to take shelter during clashes between Palestinians protesters and Israeli police near the entrance of al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalems old city on Monday

A man collects coconuts and other items thrown as offerings by worshippers in the Sabarmati river, a day after the immersion of idols of the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in Ahmedabad, India, September 28, 2015.

Amit Dave/Reuters

A man collects coconuts and other items thrown as offerings by worshippers in the Sabarmati river, a day after the immersion of idols of the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in Ahmedabad, India

Indian Muslims offer prayers to mark Eid al-Adha at Bara Imambara in Lucknow, India, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.  Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, which commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham as he is known in the Bible, to sacrifice his son in accordance with God's will, though in the end God provides him a sheep to sacrifice instead

Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

Indian Muslims offer prayers to mark Eid al-Adha at Bara Imambara in Lucknow, India, Friday