DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> The Middle East Council of Churches

The Middle East Council of Churches

Nearly a year ago, while in Beirut, Lebanon, I visited the Middle East Council of Churches. It was there that I listened intently to a presentation re: Christianity in the Middle East given by the leader of the organization. I also signed onto the organization’s mailing list. The contents of these mailing list messages sound so apostolic, or “New Testament” (for lack of a better descriptor). Here is an example, taken from the latest mailing (do remember to pray for the Christian Church in the Middle East. They are going through serious trials): H.H. Pope Schenouda II, Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, H. H. Patriarch Zakka Iwas, Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church held their annual meeting from November 22-24, 2006, at the St. Mark Center, Nasr City, Cairo. H.H. Catholicos Aram I, Head of the Armenian Orthodox Church canceled his scheduled trip to Egypt for the meeting due to the latest events in Lebanon. However, the two spiritual leaders remained in contact with H.H. Aram I throughout the meeting, exchanging views on a variety of issues. At the end of the meeting, the three Heads of Churches condemned the ordination of an individual as bishop by schismatic and non-canonical bishops who claim to be Orthodox and emphasized the necessity of strengthening cooperation between primates and communities of the three Oriental Orthodox churches. On the agenda, the Middle East Council of Churches, which called for the presence of Mr. Guirgis Saleh, MECC General Secretary, who joined the meeting at a later stage.

One Comment

  1. Posted December 5, 2006 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    American intervention in the Middle East hurts these Christians. Since we are considered a Christian nation, Moslems take out their frustrations on the Christians nearest at hand. My Egyptian friend’s brother converted to Islam under torture, and we kept him incarcerated 8 years when he sought asylum. These things continue. I can hardly even bring myself to look at the atrocities in Darfur, since there would seem that there is little we can do actively. We can pray; that moves mountains. But in light of the fact that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church (Tertullian, I believe) one must reflect on how to pray. Orthodox Christians tend to leave the details in God’s hands with “Lord, have mercy.” But St. John of Krondstadt encourages us to add our prayers to the Church’s. Even if we don’t know what’s best, God’s perfect will, in such cases, he loves to hear what’s on His childrens’ heart.
    Pope Shenouda’s Christian Living Books, by the way, are outstanding. (Life of Faith, Return to God, The Sermon on the Mount, Calmness, ones I’ve read) Coptics and Chalcedonian Orthodox are coming to see their differences as only semantic. But Pope Shenouda’s argument for one will in Christ on the Coptic website just doesn’t convince me in light of Christ’s prayer on Gethsemane. “Not my will, but Thine be done.” In the final analysis, though, Christ always did what was pleasing to the Father. It’s just that “Whatever is not assumed cannot be healed.” (St. Gregory the Theologian) Just some reflections on Christians under Islam and Oriental Orthodoxy.

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