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Christianity in the Middle East Today

Christianity in the Middle East Today

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Location: Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square Oxford

A day school jointly hosted by the Centre for Eastern Christianity, Heythrop College, University of London,  and Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford.

The Middle East is the place of origin of Christianity. Middle Eastern Christianity, despite being a small part of Global Christianity, less than one per cent, has significance and importance for the wider Christian  tradition. The ecclesial context is one of great complexity.

The churches of the Middle East can be grouped into five families - Oriental Orthodox; Eastern Orthodox; ‘Assyrian’ Church of the East; Oriental and Eastern Catholic; Anglican and Protestant. Today Christianity in the Middle East faces numerous challenges – civil war, interreligious conflict, migration and exile. This is only part of the story. Middle East Christianity is a lively and rich spiritual community which is creating new theological and political thought, ecumenical conviviality and monastic revival.

This study day begins with an introduction to the main historical, political and religious currents which provide the context for Christianity in the Middle East today; engages with Armenian Christianity in Western  Asia; Eastern Christianity in Iraq; the theological and political context for Christians in the Holy Land; and the growing presence of Middle Eastern Christians in Europe due to displacement and conflict in the region and the challenges and opportunities it provokes.


Saturday 19 September 2015

9.45am Registration

10.00am Christianity in the Middle East: an introduction and overview

10.30am The Armenian Church: modern history and contemporary situation

11.30am Coffee/tea

11.50am Eastern Christianity in modern Iraq

1.00pm Lunch

2.00pm Middle East Christians in Europe today – migration, diaspora and new beginnings

3.15pm Tea/coffee

3.45pm Christianity in the Holy Land: political and theological challenges

5.00pm Course disperses


Full booking and payment details can be downloaded here.


Binns, J. An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Rassam, S. Christianity in Iraq (Leominister: Gracewing 2005)

A.O’Mahony, A. et al. (eds) Eastern Christianity in the modern Middle East (London, Routledge, 2010)

A.O’Mahony, A. Christianity and Jerusalem: Studies in Theology and Politics in the Modern Holy Land (Gracewing Press, 2010)

A.O’Mahony, A. & Flannery, J. (eds) The Catholic Church in the contemporary Middle East: Studies for The Synod of the Middle East (London, Melisende 2010)

A.O’Mahony A. Et. Al. (eds) Christian Responses to Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations in the Modern World (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008)


PETER COLWELL is Deputy General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Researcher at Heythrop College, University of London.

KRISTIAN GIRLING is a Researcher at the Centre for Eastern Christianity, Heythrop College, University of London.

FIONA MCCALLUM is lecturer in Religion and Politics, Department of International Relations, at the University of St. Andrews.

HRATCH TCHILINGIRIAN is a Faculty Associate at The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford

Course Director & Speaker:

ANTHONY O’MAHONY is Reader in the History of Christianity, Heythrop College, University of London and a Research Fellow at Blackfriars, University of Oxford.

Director of Studies:

REVD DR ROBIN GIBBONS Director of Studies in Theology and Religious Studies, OUDCE.