Global Church: August 2006 Archives

Christians in the Holy Land

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This week, The Tablet has coverage of Christians in the Holy Land suffering from the violence.

  • Lebanese Christians
    Food, clean water, milk and medicine were urgently needed and, despite the destruction of roads, bridges and power lines, the bishop was confident that the Church's infrastructure would enable him to get emergency aid through to villages in some of the most remote areas.

    According to Aid to the Church in Need, Lebanon has for many years been seen by church leaders as a sanctuary for Christians in the Middle East, and the clash between Hezbollah and Israel has prompted fears that an exodus of Christians from the region could spell disaster for the survival of the Church in the whole region. The director of a centre east of Saida run by the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Lebanon described the situation as "tragic and catastrophic".

  • Iraqi Christians
    Half OF Iraq's Christian population has left the country in the last five years, according to Bishop Andreas Abouna of Baghdad.

    In an interview with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which supports persecuted Christians around the world, Bishop Abouna said that the number who have fled Baghdad could even be as high as 75 per cent.

    Speaking during a visit to London last week, the bishop described how the state of anarchy in Iraq was driving away his flock. "What we are hearing now is the alarm bell for Christianity in Iraq. When so many are leaving from a small community like ours, you know that it is dangerous - dangerous for the future of the Church in Iraq," he said.

    The bishop estimated that 600,000 Christians had left since 2002 - most of them going to Turkey, Jordan and Syria, where they sought sanctuary, initially on a temporary basis. The signs of them returning in the near future, however, were "increasingly bleak".

  • A general look at the situation of Christians in the Middle East
    A profound series of crises has overtaken Middle Eastern Christianity in modern times. Displacement by war, genocide and interreligious conflict, leading to loss, emigration and exile are the main experiences of its followers. Some observers have even suggested that there is a "Christian barometer" that provides the world with an accurate measurement of the political atmosphere in the Middle East, according to how the Christian minorities are treated.

    The theory goes that as the Middle East becomes more free and prosperous, linked to the West and hospitable to minorities and women, the higher the probability that the Christians will continue to live there. The most highly educated and multilingual Christians, who are part of a large diaspora in Europe and North America, may even return. But if Christians sense that things are getting worse, if the Arab countries they live in lose their commitment to political, economic and religious freedom, they tend to emigrate from the Middle East.

Catholic News Agency also picks up this beat with a sketch of the efforts of Catholic Relief Services to help all Lebanese people displaced by the violence.

If you want to donate to the relief efforts, here are two links:
Catholic Relief Services
Aid to the Church in Need

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Global Church category from August 2006.

Global Church: July 2006 is the previous archive.

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