Near East is the geographical region covered by the Patriarchate of Antioch. Trying to foresee the future in this region is not an easy exercise considering how much the political scene has been changing in this region starting with the first decades of the 20th Century. This region has known, since the 7thCentury the co-existence of the three Abrahamic religions while its political profile was and is forever changing. Churches of the region had to live under different regimes and the political links that some confessions had with the rulers influenced a lot the inter-religious dialogue and the peaceful co-existence of the believers.
Trying to focus on the experience of Orthodoxy in the Near East is an important exercise because the Orthodox Church existed in the region since the 1st Century and has had a continuous presence since then. Focusing on the educational aspect of this presence is a means to underline how this Church tried, over centuries, to live its mission in the world, and to see how we can build on this experience to prepare for the future in a positive, open, and dynamic way. After a quick overview of the specificity of Orthodoxy in this region, and of the specific and broad understanding of the term education, this presentation will focus on the link between these two folders in preparing for the future, by answering this main question: How will Orthodoxy continue to witness in the Near East, bringing to the region peace, hope, and a message of love?
This presentation will answer these questions by stressing the fact that the future of Orthodoxy in the Near East, while the 21st century seems to be a turning point for the whole region, is not only a social presence of a confessional group in midst of other groups. It is the witness for specificity, a service to be rendered to all communities, a way to preserve God’s will.
Nahas, G. N. (September 10-12, 2010). Future of Orthodoxy in the Near East: An Educational Perspective. InOrthodoxy and Protestantism. Hofgeismar. Germany.