West Bank

"We are a forgotten faithful, but not by the Lord."

An Arab Christian community has existed in this land since the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2). Palestine and much of the Middle East were predominantly Christian during the Byzantine era. In spite of 2,000 years of wars and unrest, we see the faithfulness of the Lord in keeping for himself a living witness here.

By some estimates, the number of Arab Christians in the entire Middle East is 16 million, less than 7 percent of the total Arabic population. We are a forgotten faithful, but not by the Lord. An important head of state, also a Muslim, once put it this way: "It is important to keep the Arab Christians in the Middle East; they are the glue that holds the community together."

In the Holy Land, the situation is more precarious, with the percentage of Palestinian Christians today being less than 2 percent. This is a tragic drop from 17 percent at the turn of the century.

As a Christian who was born in the Holy Land and who can trace my ancestors back several hundred years, I don't feel that this land is only mine. People of all nationalities have deep spiritual, historical, and emotional ties to this land—the cradle of Christianity and Judaism. Pilgrims come from all parts of the world to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to see the empty tomb, and to revitalize their faith in their Lord and Savior.

A colorful spectrum of churches comprises the Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land. Members of the historical churches—namely, the Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and Latin Catholic—take pride in tracing their heritage back to the earliest church. Their monasteries, cathedrals, and churches stand as a physical timeline ...

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