In just a few weeks, hundreds of clergy, religious and lay men and women will converge at the Vatican, where they will gather with Pope Benedict XVI. From 10-24 October, this Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops will meet and pray, discuss and debate the concerns and lessons to be learned from the Christians who live in — or originate from — the lands sanctified by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
To help readers grasp better the enormous challenges that beset Christians from Egypt to Iran, Turkey to Yemen, the editors of ONE magazine have compiled this special issue that focuses on the Christians in the Middle East.
It does not attempt to probe into every challenge impacting the daily lives of these Christians, nor do we believe it will end any debate — in fact, we hope it stirs some. But, we do hope this edition of ONE will offer some context, demographic, economic, religious and sociopolitical. If you want to learn more, or see for yourself the evolution of these communities of faith in the last few decades, we suggest you visit our magazine online —www.onemagazinehome.org — it is free and easy to navigate.
A note on how we organized the content: Rather than list alphabetically the profile of each country to be represented at the special assembly in the Vatican, we have grouped these countries as territories historically associated with their respective patriarchates.
• The territories of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople — Turkey.
• The territories of the Patriarchate of Alexandria — Egypt.
• The territories of the Patriarchate of Antioch — Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Cyprus.
• The territories of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem — the Holy City of Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula.
This special edition concludes with an essay by Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern, CNEWA’s secretary general, who has been invited to participate in the special assembly for the Middle East.
The editors of ONE magazine hope readers will find this special issue to be a valuable tool.