AP PHOTOS: Worldly concerns bleed into the spiritual realm

A figure of a saint consumed by flames after protesters storm a church in Chile. In Armenia, a nationwide prayer for peace. A women’s protest against abortion restrictions outside a Polish house of worship.

Around the world, Associated Press photographers captured moments like these in the past month showing how secular conflicts, disputes and worries inevitably intersect with the spiritual realm.

An international dust-up sparked anti-France protest in Istanbul after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, needed mental health treatment because of his attitude toward Islam and Muslims.

In the United States, President Donald Trump visited a Las Vegas church while on a campaign tour to Nevada as the politically polarized nation barreled toward the hotly disputed November election. With Trump, a rare churchgoer, sitting in the front row, the pastor proclaimed that God told her that morning he would secure a second term.

And amid the latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces, two volunteer doctors, one of them wearing military fatigues, prayed with a priest in a church in the separatist Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Azerbaijan territory but under control of ethnic Armenian forces.

Traditionally, pets are blessed the first week in October for the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. In the Philippines, a Roman Catholic priest sprinkled holy water as a dog poked its head out of a car window in a socially distanced drive-through blessing.

These and more are among the AP’s top faith-related images published in October.

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