Welcome back to Faithful Friday, our weekly look at religions and the faithful around the world. This week join us as we take a tour of Kyrgyzstan, where ancient tombs from the past lie in wait, to South America where Pope Francis confronts the historical misdeeds of the Catholic Church, and Ukraine, where we examine the rise and fall of a Pagan military unit. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Fertility is a chief concern for many religion, perhaps unsurprisingly considering it's central role in both the life of an individual and the cycle of an ecosystem. Hinduism is no different. Writing for Patheos, Hindu writer Ambaa discusses her own issues with fertility and how she's struggled to come to terms with them.

The Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan is perhaps best known today as just one of several former Soviet republics in the region. But in the past, Kyrgyzstan was along an important corridor of trade, the Silk Road, and harbored a prosperous civilization. The Smithsonian Institution's online magazine takes a look at some of the ruins the ancient people of Kyrgyzstan left behind, including some impressive tombs.

Pope Francis has become known for many things since his inauguration, chief among them perhaps being the Church's new outreach towards the poor and disadvantaged. Part of that outreach would now seem to include acknowledging the faults and sins of the Church and during his visit to South America, Francis made it clear that he considered the Church's actions during colonization "grave sins."

One of the most widely celebrated festivals around the world is the annual feast known as Eid al-Fitr which brings an end to the month-long fast of Ramadan. Over at The Guardian writer Steven Morris takes an inside look at the festival's celebration in Birmingham, England by Britain's substantial Muslim minority. Learn more about the festivities after the link.

The Ukrainian Civil War, which began last year after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, has now been waging for over a year and has claimed over 6,000 lives. The national tragedy has brought to question the identity of the Ukrainian people, an identity highlighted in part by the rise of Slavic reconstructionists to national attention. This article from Vice takes a look at one such group, which participated in the fighting.

Top image by Boryslav Javir