Who Are the Christians in the Middle East?

By Betty Jane Bailey; J. Martin Bailey | Go to book overview

The Catholic Family

An Introduction to the Catholic Family

The Roman (or, as it is known in the East, the Latin) Catholic Church has had its own history in the West, but it is the relationship with the East that is important for understanding the Catholic church family in the Middle East. After the founding of Constantinople as the “New Rome” and the civic split between the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, the religious traditions grew apart with the development of separate liturgies and the use of different liturgical languages. Roman Catholic theology emphasized the Pope’s (bishop of Rome’s) worldwide jurisdiction while the Eastern churches believed that each patriarchal jurisdiction should be able to choose its own leader.

Although the Patriarchate of Rome and the various Greek Orthodox patriarchates agreed on the key issues at the Council of Chalcedon, there were numerous other events that eventually led to the schism. Certainly some of the non-Chalcedonian churches maintained contact with Rome, but the Oriental Orthodox family of churches worked more closely with the Eastern Orthodox than with the Western Catholics. When the Emperor of the West, Charlemagne, was crowned by the Pope of Rome in 800, it signaled an end to a single tradition of Empire.

By the ninth century, the controversies over how a creed could be modified also had become divisive, so that in 1054, when the mutual excommunication occurred between Rome and Constantinople, there was already a coolness to the relationship. The Crusades followed only fifty years later, originally with the encouragement of Constantinople.

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Who Are the Christians in the Middle East?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • More Praise for This Book i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Our Love Affair with the Middle East- An Introduction xi
  • Part I - The Churches of the Middle East 1
  • A Western Christian Appreciation of Eastern Christianity 3
  • The Future of Christians in the Arab World 12
  • The Churches of the Middle East Now Work Together 22
  • The Importance of Jerusalem to Christians 32
  • A Timeline of Christianity in the Middle East 37
  • A Word about Numbers 44
  • Part II - Profiles of the Churches 47
  • The Origins of the Diversity of Christianity in the Middle East 49
  • The Eastern Orthodox Family 56
  • The Oriental Orthodox Family 69
  • The Catholic Family 82
  • The Evangelical (Protestant) Family 101
  • The Assyrian Church of the East 134
  • Part III - Church and State in the Middle East 139
  • A Brief History 141
  • Cyprus 145
  • Egypt 148
  • The Holy Land- Israel and Palestine 154
  • Iran 164
  • Iraq 168
  • Jordan 173
  • Lebanon 178
  • The Maghreb (North Africa) 185
  • The Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia 189
  • Sudan 195
  • Syria 199
  • Turkey 204
  • Annotated Bibliography 210
  • Index 214
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