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The community of Arab Christians is dwindling in the Holy Land
Post Gazette ^ | April 16, 2006

Posted on 04/16/2006 7:47:33 AM PDT by NYer

Jerusalem. Bethlehem. Nazareth. The Galilee. These are the places where Christianity began. They're where the story of Jesus took place.

But for the Arab Christians who live there now, the story is coming to an end.

Once as much as 8 percent of the population of what is now Israel and the Palestinian-administered territories, Arab Christians now make up 2 percent or less of the population, and the number is growing steadily smaller.

What's happened is a familiar tale. Tens of thousands of Palestinian Christians -- along with many more thousands of Muslims -- left their homes in 1948 when Israel became a state.

Thousands more left after the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, which put the West Bank and Gaza under Israeli control.

The two Palestinian uprisings of the last 10 years and the violence and economic disruption that followed have led to even more emigration.

The result is that towns like Bethlehem, long a Christian stronghold with a strong tourist business, are now battle-scarred and economically bereft.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; Israel; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: arabchristians; christian; christianarabs; galilee; holyland; jerusalem; muslim; nazareth; palestine

Hader Youwakim, a taxi driver in Bethlehem, kisses the Christian icon he wears around his neck.

SLIDESHOW: The Believers

1 posted on 04/16/2006 7:47:37 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
First the Jews were expelled and now the Christians are targeted. Of course the squishy Christian leadership in the West welcomes dhimitute with open arms.
2 posted on 04/16/2006 7:51:26 AM PDT by JAWs (Ytringsfrihed er ytringsfrihed er ytringsfrihed. Der er intet men.)
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
What's unsettling -- though clearly not surprising given the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict -- is that there's so little agreement on just what is driving the exodus. Every side -- and that includes religious groups of all kinds as well as Israelis and Palestinians -- colors its accounts with how it would like things to be, not with how they really are.

Because there's been no census, an accurate count of Palestinian Christians is nonexistent.

Maher Turjman, Regional Director for the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, in his Jerusalem office.

Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 22 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:

"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).

Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.

To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:


The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).

To locate an Eastern Catholic Church in your community, follow the following link:

Eastern Catholic Churches in the U.S.

A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his of her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.

Catholic Ping List
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list

Eastern Catholic Ping List
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3 posted on 04/16/2006 7:52:08 AM PDT by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking the keyword or topic Israel.


4 posted on 04/16/2006 9:35:39 AM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do!)
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To: Lucretia Borgia

FYI bump

5 posted on 04/16/2006 10:35:31 AM PDT by brbethke
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To: NYer

Most of the Palestinian Christians are Eastern Orthodox, not Eastern Catholic.

6 posted on 04/16/2006 11:40:01 AM PDT by Holden Magroin
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To: Holden Magroin

We have a sizeable Melkite community though. A large percentage of my Melkite parish are Palestinian emigres who have fled both the Intifada and the occupation.

7 posted on 04/16/2006 5:08:16 PM PDT by pravknight (Christos Regnat, Christos Imperat, Christus Vincit)
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To: JAWs
‘Serious’ threats made against 31 churches in Indonesia[Catholics and Protestants
Saudi Arabia arrests Eastern-rite Catholic priest for celebrating Mass
Catholic Priest Arrested and Expelled from Riyadh
Ramallah: Islamic violence targets Christians
Moslem Terror Chasing Out 1,000 Christian Arabs a Year

INDIA: VIOLENCE SCARS EASTER WEEK (Pastors beaten, churches vandalized by Hindu extremists)
GFA Urges Prayer as Hindu Extremists Intensify Anti-Christian Persecution
Persecution of Catholics still alive, oppression’s face fanatic, traditional
The community of Arab Christians is dwindling in the Holy Land

8 posted on 04/19/2006 8:44:26 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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