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Conference to address issues faced by Christians in the Middle East

June 17, 2011

GENEVA

The volatile situation facing Christians in the Middle East is a key topic of concern for members of the central committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), and will be highlighted at an upcoming conference to be held in Volos, Greece from June 20 to 22, according to a WCC press release.

With the diminishing presence of Christians in the region, the central committee said in a statement in February, the “conviviality among peoples from different faiths, cultures, civilizations, which is a sign of God's love for all humanity, will be endangered.”

The conference in Greece will explore the issue from a theological, ecumenical, cultural, and political perspective.

“The reality for the Christian community in the Middle East is quite stark as more and more stories in the public media tell of Christians fleeing the region or feeling increasingly threatened, even in the context of the recent democracy movements,” noted the WCC release. “In Iraq alone the Christian population has declined by nearly half during the past decade. In Egypt, there has been heightened violence between Muslims and Christians since the downfall of former president Mubarak.” Christians also face problems in Israel and Palestine.

“Christian churches in the Middle East have shown signs of decline despite their continuous historical presence in different countries in the region where many of them embody a heritage of ancient patriarchal jurisdictions,” said the release. “This has become a growing concern as the churches there struggle to maintain their presence and at the same time contribute to a culture of peace.”

The WCC central committee has also called for a major conference on this topic in 2012.

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