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Friday, October 5, 2012

Meanwhile, back in Antioch

(Actually, the See resides in Damascus, and the Synod usually meets in Beirut, which is what my mother Church did this week.)

From Notes On Arab Orthodoxy:

The Holy Synod of Antioch began the work of its 49th regular session at the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, October 2-4, 2012. His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius addressed a word to the metropolitans present in which he stressed the importance of the Christian witness in our countries and the world and the effort to strengthen the Christian presence in them in the face of the challenges facing the children of the Church in their countries.

...

The Christians of the Middle East are children of this region, which is the cradle of Christianity. They have given the Catholic Church some of her most important Fathers and teachers. Their history is a testimony to their openness and engagement in public life and they have enriched Arab civilization through their scientific, intellectual, and literary efforts. Middle-Eastern Christians, the children of various Christian churches, are called to commit themselves to the issues of humanity and of their countries, with faith in the teachings of the Gospel and the tradition of the Church. The Antiochian Orthodox Church, which is rooted in the Arab East, must play a leading role in revealing the authentic face of Christianity, which serves humanity without regard to ethnicity or religion.

The fathers see the increase in emigration, especially among the youth, to the countries of the diaspora as a danger that threatens the active Christian presence in our societies. For this reason they see it necessesary to invest in endowments and to support Church institutions for growing service to the faithful in order to solidify their existence in their homelands and to ensure the bases for their remaining in the countries in which God called us to bear witness.

Christians are leaving the lands which birthed the Faith, ahead of the second Mohammedan conquest. These issues have been building for decades and the Antiochian hierarchy now take their heads out of the sand long enough to call for what should have been done years ago. The Church did nothing to prepare her communities for what inevitably had to come, and the communities themselves remained in denial and decided to stop having children. Turkey wants Assad gone as do the peninsular Arabs, who want the Christians dispersed and the Shia in cemeteries. And oil-hungry US/NATO will lead the cheering section. The isolation of the Middle Eastern Christians is terribly apparent. Spengler at Asia Times suggests they move to Israel.

Syrian and Lebanese Christians seem to have assumed they could just bob along in the current of pan-Arab nationalism during the salad days of secular rule. (One of the founders of the Ba'athist movement, Michel Aflaq, was an Orthodox Christian.) Now that it turns out pan-Arab nationalism really means Peninsular Arab (i.e., Sunni) nationalism, we hear the pleas for organization, political engagement, staying put, don't-offend-anybody, etc.

A tragic situation--God protect His faithful in the Middle East.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I recently taught an Assyrian kid from Iraq. Wonderful kid and family. Grandparents speak Aramaic, very Orthodox, etc. He had gotten kidnapped by a gang in Baghdad that apparently preyed on Christians, as they tend to be overrepresented in the professions. The family sold everything they had to free him and get out. I suspect the region will experience a brain drain like France did when it lost its Hugenots.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The brain drain has been happening for the past century and yes, will likely accelerate. I am told prices for staple items are going thru the roof in Syria. There are no imports, and the government will eventually run out of diesel and ammo.

Then we'll see what happens.

toots said...

Turns out, Stevens was a strong Obama kind of guy. First thing he did at the mission in Benghazi was set up a visa office. Import Islam.

How can the West defend Maronites, Copts, Ethiopian Christians and Orthodox Christians when it won't defend itself?

The West is actively anti-Christian.

toots said...

"Spengler at Asia Times suggests they move to Israel."

They should.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

toots - you are correct that Sunni Muslims have no interest in maintaining a Christian presence in their polities. But then, neither do Zionist Jews.

elvisd said...

I don't know if you read Spengler that often, but what is your take on him?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I don't read him enough to have an informed opinion. I recall some good insights but I am not aware of anything that would give the impression the Israelis stand ready to grant residency to thousands of Syro-Lebanese Christians. The Jerusalem Patriarchate is under control of the Greeks. a whole other sad tale.