Who Are the Christians in the Middle East?

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

Iraq

Once known as Mesopotamia — the “land between the rivers” — the Republic of Iraq was the site of ancient Babylon and Assyria. The valleys and tributaries of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were the cradle of one of the earliest civilizations. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world was Babylon’s hanging gardens; as significant were Hammurabi’s first-known code of laws and the development of cuneiform writing. Modern Iraq is home to 27.5 million people, 80 percent of whom are Arabs. About half of the population are Shiʿite Muslims, nearly all of whom live in the south. The Sunni are about equally divided between scattered Arab communities and the Kurds, who live in the north. The Kurdish desire for self-government has been the source of long-standing conflicts and at least one massacre, during the authoritarian and ruthless rule of President Saddam Hussein. In the violent instability that has followed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 the ethnic Kurds have been among the targets of insurgent bombers and various forms of intimidation and political pressure. UN refugee agencies estimated that more than two million Iraqis have fled their country; of these between 250,000 and 500,000 are estimated to be Christians.


Christian Communities

The Eastern Orthodox family of churches is represented in Iraq by communicants of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Three Oriental Orthodox communities have parishes in Iraq: the

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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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