Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center is pleased to publish the proceedings of “The Monastic Heritage in the Middle East” conference convened by the “Centro Culturale Francescano” in Cairo on January 12-14, 2017. The event was held at the Saint Joseph Church in the center of the Egyptian capital with participants hailing from Egypt, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Lebanon. The opening session began with a welcoming address from the event’s rapporteur, Father Milad Shehata, director of the “Centro Culturale Francescano”, followed by a speech by Hungary’s Ambassador to Egypt, Dr. Peter Kveck, and a representative from Germany’s Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Dr. Joachim Braum.
The event’s organizers sought to cover diverse aspects of the heritage of monasticism in the Middle East. Papers presented included works on Syriac, Maronite, Armenian, and Coptic history. Other papers offered insights on monastery liturgy and culture, as well as Egyptian Coptic icons and scriptures.
“The Monastic Heritage in the Middle East” was the second international conference convened by the Centro Culturale Francescano. The first, on Nubian Christian history, was held in February 2015.
This book comes at a troublesome time for all religions and Communities in the Middle East. Christians continue to flee their historic homelands in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. Political and religious violence have escalated due to the negative ramifications of the seismic shifts in the Arab world over the past decade.
Al-Mesbar Center is dedicated to publishing a series of books that address the management of pluralism, tolerance, and coexistence with religious and ethnic minorities in Arab countries. Our prior books include “Religious and Ethnic Minorities after the Arab Spring”, “Copts after the January 25th Revolution”, “Christians of the East”, “Pluralism in the Gulf and Neighboring States: Realities and Prospects”,”Sectarian and Religious Diversity in the Gulf”, “Pluralistic Societies: Problems in Integration and State Policies”, and” Turkey: Terrorism and Influential Minorities”. Our latest book, “The Monastic Heritage in the Middle East”, continues along the same trajectory.
We would like to thank the “Centro Culturale Francescano” and all the conference participants, especially our colleague Rita Faraj, who coordinated and reviewed the content.