Modern Christianity in the Holy Land

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AuthorHouse, 2010 - History - 719 pages
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"Modern Christianity in the Holy Land" is a modest contribution to the documentation of the history of our country. In the nineteenth century, the structure of the Churches underwent change. Christian institutions developed in the light of the Ottoman Firmans and the international relations forged by the Ottoman Sultanate. At that time, the systems of the millet, capitulation, international interests and the Eastern Question were all interlocked in successive and complex developments in the Ottoman world. Changes to the structure of the Churches had local and international dimensions, which need to be understood to comprehend the realities governing present-day Christianity. At a local level, the first law governing the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was promulgated and the Orthodox Arab issue surfaced. Moreover, the Latin Patriarchate was re-established and the Anglican Bishopric was formed. Most of these events occurred in Jerusalem and their consequences necessarily extended to the various parts of Palestine and Jordan. This history is not restricted to the Churches and the study touches on public, political, social and economic life, Christian-Muslim-Jewish relations, the history of the clans and ethnic groups, the ties that neighboring countries forged with the Holy Land, and the pilgrimage to the Holy Places. This pilgrimage is one of the most prominent features of the Holy Land. Indeed, the Lord has blessed this land and chosen it from everywhere else in the world for his great monotheistic revelations as God, Allah, Elohim. The sources and references of this book are diverse in terms of color, language and roots. One moment they take the reader to Jerusalem, Karak, Nazareth, and Salt and at other times to Istanbul, Rome, London and Moscow.

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Modern Christianity in the Holy Land by Rev. Hanna Kildani, Ph.D.
Reviewed by Brent Strong, Ph.D.
Perhaps no region of the world fixes our attention and our concern as does the Middle East, and with good reason. We hear of revolutions, bombings, and missile attacks with terrible loss of life; we lament the contention between nations, religions, and ethnicities with economic and political disruptions; and we sympathize with refugees, injured, and children who are the innocents in these struggles. We know of antagonisms between Israelis and Palestinians, between Sunni and Shia, between Muslim and secular political factions, and between Eastern and Western cultures. All of these contribute strongly to the milieu of the current situation. But there are other important interactions and conflicts that are rarely considered and poorly understood yet they give foundation to the present day and reveal critical interactions between politics and religions. Father Hanna Kildani reveals these interactions in his study of modern Christianity in the Holy Land and gives an insightful historical perspective and a helpful current analysis that heightens our ability to understand and, perhaps, to contribute to the betterment of the Middle East in our day.
In the General Introduction, Father Hanna (as his parishioners lovingly refer to him) notes several key changes in the leadership and focus of the Christian church in Jerusalem over 2000 years. In the first and second century the Jerusalem church consisted mostly of Jewish converts , and yet, by the fifth century, the church had become infused with gentiles and had developed sufficient Roman authority that in the Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD, the Bishop of Jerusalem was named Patriarch of Jerusalem, thus creating the fifth patriarchate in the Old World along with Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople . The retention, renewal, and re-establishment of the title and authority of the Patriarch of Jerusalem are the concepts around which Father Hanna weaves his narrative.
The Jerusalem church preserved the Orthodox faith and prospered throughout the Byzantine period (330-638 AD) with converts from local Arab tribes, traders from throughout the Middle East, Bedouins, and Romans . The succession of Patriarchs during this period reflects this diverse church population, including several who were native Arabs. All were politically under the direction of the emperor in Constantinople and Greek was the language of the rulers while Western Syriac was the language of the masses.
In 638 AD Jerusalem was conquered by the Muslim caliph Omar who guaranteed religious rights to the Christians so long as they paid a special tax for non-Muslims (jizyah) . The former Byzantine leaders were accused of treachery and expelled so the linkage of the Patriarch of Jerusalem to Constantinople was severely restricted. The Jerusalem leadership became quite independent and the Greek language was replaced by Arabic as the church membership became ever more arabic. Over the next five centuries the membership of the Christian church declined in favor of the Muslims and so, when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099, the Christian church was a “weak and exhausted minority” .
During the Crusader period the Orthodox Patriarch, who was considered by the Crusader kings to be from a different church (the schism between the Roman Latin Church and the Greek Orthodox Church having occurred in 1054 AD), retreated to Constantinople and a Latin Catholic Patriarch was installed in his place. Several Catholic-affiliated orders entered the Holy Land to care for pilgrims, protect and care for the holy places, and perform other monastic duties. The Franciscans, in particular, became custodians (Custos) over several of the most important holy sites and became the legates of the Roman Pontiff in Jerusalem after the Latin Patriarch departed with the fall of the Crusader kingdoms.
During the early centuries of the Ottoman rule (1517-1800 AD), the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem was restored as the


General Introduction
Part One The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Chapter One Independence of the Jerusalem Orthodox
Chapter Two Legislation at the Jerusalem Orthodox
Chapter Three The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society
2 Goals of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society
4 Schools of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society
Chapter Ten The Anglican Church in Jerusalem in
2 The British and Prussian motives behind
3 The London talks between Britain and Prussia from
The Jerusalem Bishopric Act 6 October 1841
1 The life of Bishop Michael Solomon Alexander
4 The bodies and persons with which Bishop
5 The pastoral institutions of the Anglican Church
6 Jewish projects parallel to the projects of

5 Cultural and intellectual impact of the Russian
6 Building and restoration of churches
Chapter Four The Orthodox Arab Issue in the era
Part Two The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Chapter Five Custody of the Holy Land
Chapter Six Reestablishment of the Latin Patriarchate
Chapter Seven Patriarch Giuseppe Valerga 18471872
Chapter Eight Patriarch Vincenzo Bracco 1873 1889
Chapter Eleven Bishop Samuel Gobat 18461879
Chapter Twelve The Anglican Bishopric at the end of
Part Four Eastern NonChalcedonian and Eastern Catholic
Chapter Thirteen Eastern NonChalcedonian Churches
Chapter Fourteen Eastern Catholic Churches
General Conclusion

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