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Intervention of Mons. Francis Némé BAÏSSARI, Titular Bishop of Arado, Auxiliary Bishop and Syncellus for Joubbé (LEBANON)



The Near East was in great part Christian. Christ had left a message. Christianity was persecuted. With the Council of Nicea, the long series of excommunications began: Arius, Nestorius, Eutyches, Photius. The rupture was achieved in 1054. The legate of the Pope excommunicates the Patriarch Michel Cérullaire. And he in turn excommunicates the Pope. Christianity is jostled about by invasions by the Persians, the Arabs, the Mongols, the Ottomans. The Islamic fighters begin their conquest of the world. All of Syria is theirs. Then they conquered Egypt. The yoke of the Byzantine Empire had been so heavy that the invaders were welcomed with relief. To finance “the Jihad”, Christians were taxed with “la jizya”, the high burden of this inciting thousands of them to opt for the conquering religion.
In fact, the real situation varies according to the eras and the personalities of the leaders. Evil had been done, even if the Christians and Muslims continued to work to save threatened tolerance and democracy.
John Paul II said: “At the threshold of the third millennium, Christianity is still well anchored in the Near East”.

[00101-02.03] [IN077] [Original text: French]




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