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Christians in the Muslim World

Arab Churches, Living Churches. But only if United

After millenary divisions, Christians in the Middle East are growing increasingly aware that the instances of persecution hitting them today can also constitute a providential opportunity to advance towards the unity that has been so long awaited. Patriarch Sako’s shock proposal to re-unite the Chaldean Church, the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East is a step in this direction. As is the idea of establishing a shared feast day for all the martyrs from the Churches of the East.

Published in August 1991 with the title Arab Churches, Living Churches,1 the first pastoral letter written by the new ecclesial body set up by the Catholic Patriarchs of the East stated significantly, “In the East, we Christians will either be united or we will not be.” That is to say, either the Christians will survive together or they will not survive at all. Since then, this cry of commitment and hope has often been echoed at inter-Christian conferences in the Middle East and on the Middle East, being quoted, together with comments and updates, in various documents. The entire Region’s Christians are growing increasingly aware that the tragic moment they are currently going through – particularly in Syria, Iraq and Libya – can become a propitious and providential opportunity to emphasize the essential matters that already unite them and lay aside the inessential ones that are still separating them and, in this way, take the steps that lead to unity.

 

 

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1Published in Italian in “Il Regno” 36 (1991), pp. 590-593

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