Fr. Boulos Wehbe – Christianity in the MENA Region

World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” (WPF – DC) – Rhodes Forum – 12th Annual Session

September 25–29, 2014

“CHRISTIANITY IN THE MENA REGION” PANEL

Fr. Boulos Wehbe – Moderator

Christianity in the MENA region is as old as Christianity itself. It is there where it was born and it is there where the apostles of Christ established the earliest Christian communities and churches, spreading out after that to the rest of the world. The Book of Acts in the New Testament says that it was in Antioch “where the disciples [of Christ] were called Christians first” (Acts 11:26), and my Patriarch still holds the title of “Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.” Christians have survived and often flourished under Islam, often helping and sharing in fashioning the different facets of its civilization, despite the turmoil and hardships they faced here and there. Continue reading “Fr. Boulos Wehbe – Christianity in the MENA Region”

How Should the Church Respond to the Arab Uprisings – An East European Perspective

Here, as I have promised, a summary of the presentation I made at the annual conference of IMES in Beirut, on the topic How Should the Church Respond to the Arab Uprisings: Challenges & Opportunities within the Emerging Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Region

I have started by saying that I agree with the three points made by Dr Martin Accad in the introduction to the topic. He highlighted the problems of the church in the MENA region under three headings:

1. Church siding with power
2. Minority complex
3. Scare of the future
In my presentation of the Arab Spring viewed from an Eastern European perspective, I have covered the following points:
1. I have started with a story. A number of years ago I was in Beirul for a conference of Evangelicals for Middle east Understanding, where a number of Iraqi church leaders spoke enthusiastically about how good and humane is then President Saddam Hussein to the church in Iraq, which reminded me of the way church leaders in communist Romania were praising Ceausescu, the dictatorial leader of the country, for the great religious freedom we/they had . One of the four, the head of the Protestant Church in Iraq at the time, was also a general in Saddam’s army. I have heard that after the war he published in the US a book on Iraq. I am sure his message there was radically different from what I have heard. This illustrates the first problem of the church in MENA as presented by Martin. Continue reading “How Should the Church Respond to the Arab Uprisings – An East European Perspective”