The Synod of Bishops Special Assembly for the Middle East called by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome in 2009 is a significant event for the Catholic Church in the Middle East. The Synod is also, however, an important event for the wider Christian Church (both in the region and in the West) and for the Christian tradition as a whole. The Conference, ‘The Synod for the Middle East: Catholic Theological and Ecclesial Perspectives', 9-11 June 2010, held at the Centre for Eastern Christianity, Heythrop College, University of London, from which the papers in this volume originated, was organized with the intention of making a fraternal engagement with the preparations for the Synod, seeking to honour the importance of the event.
As stated by Archbishop Louis Sako in his Foreword: ‘The Middle East is the cradle of Christianity; Christianity was born in Palestine and rapidly spread to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt. The Churches of the Middle East are repositories of ancient Christian traditions: Syrian, Copt, Greek, Armenian, Latin and Arabic. Their liturgy, spirituality, monasticism and ecclesiastical discipline and canons have great importance for the whole Church. ... In time Christians in the diaspora will lose their Eastern identity through integration into Western society and culture, and this is a significant challenge for all the Eastern Christian Churches.'
Archbishop Louis Sako John Flannery Anthony O'Mahony Antoine Audo SJ Frans Bouwen M.Afr Sebastian Brock Najla Chahda Michel Cuypers LBJ Robin Gibbons Sidney H Griffith David Neuhaus SJ Leonard Marsh Suha Rassam Fadel Sidarouss SJ Constantin Simon SJ Dominique Trimbur