Monday, September 17, 2012

Syrian Christianity between the Revolution and Facts

In the previous days, a set of controversial questions have been raised by many who do not have background about the role and position of Christians in Syria, this country which produced a great human civilization and now turned into a mass of blood, its became land for death.

Unfortunately, the great media did not care because they adopted different directions and far from reality, while their preview on "Fact" inconsistent with the trends of financiers. They are creating "reality" which suit their interests.

Today I would raise a question which is: how we can understand the thought of Christians in Middle East generally and in Syria precisely?

In fact we cannot reply to such questions arbitrarily, while the issue is not just a something in transient nor an issue of group’s live on the margins of normal society.

I fact , the issue is deeper than some imagine!

From this standpoint, I’ll try, briefly, to commentary depending on documented studies and research.

In the beginning, we must address some of definitions that will lead us to interpret the situation of the Christians in Syria.

In fact we cannot understand the reality of these societies without raising foundations which contributed to the building of an Eastern Christian figure .

Foundations tell us that Christians in the Middle East have a privacy, they belong to Patristic Oriental Christianity, which constitute their essence.

They follows the direction of Patristic Faith, I mean the Fathers of the first church, following to the Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and after them, the Fathers of which adopted the same approach in the faith.

One of the main Foundations says that Patristic approach is a revolutionary approach par excellence, it was based on maintaining the righteousness of the faith which leads inevitably to probity in every detail of life, including the ethics of dealing within the community.

This exactly applies to the Eastern Church in general and Orthodox in particular.

And this is the basis on which characterized the oriental Christianity in " historical's Syria" in which became constitutes all of their identities and personalities.

It is an approach who based on the words of Jesus Christ, such as His warning to the oppressors leaders of this world :

"Woe to you, O blind leaders ...."

Thus, this approach is revolutionary and reformist inherently. Seeks to respect the human being. Moreover, this approach aim to develop humanity's renaissance to the higher levels.

This is what constitutes the nature of Eastern Christians thinking and crystallized their understanding to the events through the Ages.

As for the questions which argued about the fact of the relationship between Oriental Christians with popular movements, we can refer to that:

Oriental Christianity distinct from the other where it is a revolutionary in nature, a revolutionary at all-dimensional and metrology.

But the revolution for Eastern Christian generally and the Orthodox in particular is not linked to armed action, contrary to the Crusades wars, for example.

The revolution at Oriental's Christian is a spiritual acts lead to intellectual freedom and dignity and coexistence with the community with ensuring that their faith is maintained.

Thus, the current controversy about Christians in Syria, their role and their positions, cannot be understood without this framework " their faith".

While, their directions in life based on the faith which is not stranger to Islam, their partners in land, where Islamic's direction is based on actions which absolutely linked to what came in the Quran, Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence such as Sunni's faith.

This is exactly the situation of the Oriental Christianity in Syria, which in the forefront Orthodox and Syriacs, who constitute the vast majority of Christians in Syria.

They are revolutionaries instinctively because their faith, and if there was a revolution, they constitute one of the pillars of this revolution.

Eastern Christianity was and still forming the basis of the liberation and revolutionary movements as the case in the Orthodox , Syriac and the Assyrian Churches.

For more interpretation, I want to mention to a one of existing directions has been appeared in the seventies of the last century, within the Orthodox Church in Syria, it’s one of libertarian approach who still to these days, with followers who constitute more than 60% of the Orthodox,

This approach launched by a great man in every sense of the word, He is the Patriarch Elias Mouawad IV.

This Patriarch granted a title of the Patriarch of Al Arab, while the Saudi Arabia was granted him this title,

He carried Arabism issues in his being and his conscience, and his tendency was for the freedom from tyranny ,

Patriarch of Al Arab “Patriarch Elias Mouawad IV” expressed the depth of the relationship with Islam, that when He has insisted to attend the first Islamic Conference in Lahore "1975" , He represented the voice of Arabian Christians, so He began his speech in the following words: "In the name of Arabian Christians......", He confirmed that Arabian Christians constitute the heart of the East with Islam.

Patriarch Elias Mouawad IV formed style that still exists strongly, through positive and effective participation in the liberation movements.

This is not new to Christianity, while the teacher of Orthodox Church in Syria, which was based in the city of Antioch, "St. John Chrysostom" has faced the oppression made by Emperor and Empress because they were dictators and oppressed the people, "St. John Chrysostom" issuing a revolution of the poor in Antioch which spreaded to all churches in Syria because he was Patriarch of poor and righteousness.

Thus, Church does not support the political regimes, but monitored and rebuff them when needed and in a timely manner.

Regarding to the situation in Syria, I would like to confirm that, all these attempts to sow discord through bombing churches , killing and intimidation people would not work because the history exposed and known by all, that the Christian people in East is a faithful people, their faith rooted in their souls, Not affected by variables, And all attempts to change it are doomed to failure.

Thus, Eastern Church especially the faithful people in Orthodox Church, are a people living in faith which is not subject to the change and amendment and cannot fall into sedition nor into political or factional interests.

If we speak about the effective of Orthodox Church, we can confirm that the church leads humanitarian revolutions, as happened in Russia, for example, the Russian revolution in 1905 led by an Orthodox priest

And now they are preparing to second reformist revolution.

Therefore, with love I warn anyone who tries to put the church outside it direction which established by Jesus Christ himself, he is hurling himself in matters as he cannot afford.

So the church repeat what Jesus Christ said: hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Editor: Rev.Spyridon Tanous Orthodox Patristic Church- Sweden Ἐκκλησία τῶν Γ.Ο.Χ