Western Christian Missions in the Middle East: Aims, Identity, Impact

On Saturday, 4 November 2017 from 10.30am to about 4pm, the ecumenical St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality (at 2 Canterbury Rd) invites you to a study day on:

Western Christian Missions

in the Middle East: Aims, Identity, Impact

Prof. Dr Heleen Murre-van den Berg

Dr Chip Coakley, Dr Anthony O’Mahony

Prof Dr HeleenMurre-van den Berg, Director, Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, RadboudUniversiteit, Nijmegen, NL: ‘Differing aims of western missions to Middle Eastern Christians’. To think of mission in terms just of ‘conversion’ is too simple – and when working among fellow-Christians, it immediately becomes problematic. I will elaborate on these missions’ explicit and implicit aims and motivations.I distinguish three categories, still important today in the way Western Christians look at missions, but which also are part and parcel of how the ‘West’ looks upon the ‘East’ socially and politically. Dr Chip Coakley considersmissionary printing in the C19th Ottoman Empire, with Catholic and Protestant presses in Constantinople, Smyrna. Beirut, Jerusalem, Kharpert and Mosul; and one in Urmia, Persia.These all faced common problems: political (getting permission from hostile authorities); practical (acquiring type and presses); and ideological (avoiding proselytizing among local Eastern Christians). Were they successful? And was all that printing worthwhile?Dr Anthony O’Mahonyin “Mission and Identity a Church on the Frontier” looks at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (re-established in 1847) in the Holy Land and the wider Middle East. Mission and identity have been central elements in the evolution of this Patriarchate throughout its history. The Latin Church existed on the frontier with Eastern Christianity, and today this includes relations with Judaism and Islam. The Patriarchate is present across several post-Ottoman and colonial states – Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus – aware that its ecclesiological self-understanding is confronted by a profoundly challenging cosmopolitan religious and political environment.

Free for students with cards, others are asked for a donation of £5.

Lively, informative lectures and open discussion. Come for all or part of the day. Free tea and coffee are served from 10am. Lunch break is from 1 to 2pm (bring your own lunch, or buy it in the shops in nearby North Parade, or cycle back to College). St Theosevia House is 2 Canterbury Road (up the Banbury Rd, first turn left after North Parade).

The St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality runs two or three Saturday study days each term on subjects that draw on the spiritual, theological and cultural heritages of the Western and Eastern churches. Both present-day and historical topics are explored.

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Enquiries: Fr Tikhon Vasilyev, Assistant Director of Studies: tikhon.vasilyev@wolfson.ox.ac.uk, tel 310341; Revd Dr Liz Carmichael, Director:.liz.carmichael@sjc.ox.ac.uk

Best wishes,


Tikhon Vasilyev

Assistant Director

St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality,

2 Canterbury Road, OX2 6LU, Oxford, UK