Christian Communities in the Middle East
Jerusalem University College
Dr. Petra Heldt
August 18, 2003
"Introduction to Christian Communities in the Middle East"

I.   Communities
A.   Copts
1.   Largest group of Christians
2.   Along the Nile
B.   Syrian-Orthodox Church
1.   Split 431
2.   Jacobites
3.   Nestorians - Until 7th cent the largest church
C.   Armenian Church - Eastern Turkey
D.   Byzantine Church - Greek Orthodox
II.   Denominations in the Ancient Middle East
A.   Greek Orthodox (Diophysites)
B.   Coptic (Monophysites)
C.   Catholic (Monophysites)
D.   Syrians (Diophysites)
E.   Armenian (Diophysites)
F.   Ethiopians (Diophysites)
III.   Terminology
A.   Monophysites (aka Non-chalcedonians) - One nature of Christ
B.   Diophysites (Chalcedonians) - Two natures of Christ
C.   There has never been any church in history that has been a monphysites
D.   Because a label us as propaganda in 451
IV.   The "First" Church
A.   The turth is there is no first church even though 6 different churches claim that
1.   Coptic (Mark)
2.   Ethiopian (Ethiopian Unich)
3.   Syrian
4.   Armenian
5.   Greek Orthodox (not a Greek national church, but rather just Greek speaking)
6.   Roman
B.   Initial capital of Christianity (Schools of Though)
1.   Alexandra (Coptic)
a.   Achieved "greatness" by 250 AD
b.   LXX, Philosophy
2.   Antioch
a.   Great history of exegesis
b.   Syrian, Ethiopian, Armenian
3.   Jerusalem
a.   Not technically a "school of though" as the other two
b.   Considered the center of all things
V.   The Ecumenical Councils
A.   1sst - 325 AD - Nicea
B.   2nd - 381
C.   3rd - 431
D.   4th - 451
1.   Chancledon
2.   Typically viewed by the west as the first split - but in actually it was never united
VI.   The Great Schism - 1054
A.   Roman catholic - Byzantaine Church
Rome - Constantinople
West - East
B.   The reason why the east wouldn't call this the Great Schism is because most of the east churches could careless
C.   Filioque - Father & the Son created the Holy Spirit
VII.   Other Dates
A.   1963 - Pope visits Greek Orthodox
B.   November 11, 1993
C.   Jan 2, 2000 - Holy Sceplecure dedicated to all churches of the world
VIII.   Demographics of Eastern Churches
A.   Population numbers have less to do with exact population but rather a scale to show how confident/insecure the church feels in there area
1.   High numbers means the church is free & unoppressed
2.   Lower numbers means the church feels oppressed & persecuted
B.   We don't know the population of the church in the Middle East
C.   The less "numbers" - not people we have the better it is for the church (mainly the Government won't feel they are a threat)
D.   Estimates
1.   Coptics: 12-15 million
2.   Ethiopian: 24 million
3.   Syria: No way to know
4.   Armenian: 50 million
5.   Greek Orthodox:
6.   Roman Catholic: HUGE
E.   Israel
1.   2.5% of Christians
2.   200,000 Christian Population
a.   Greek - 55,000
b.   Melchite - union between Orthodox & Roman Catholic - 45,000
c.   Roman Catholic - 20,000
d.   Maronites - 8,000
e.   Messianic Jews - no more than 2,000 to 3,000
3.   There are potentially 300,000 to 700,000 Christians that are Russian Orthodox that are claiming to be Jewish
F.   Palestinians Areas
1.   1% of Pop are Christians
2.   1967 - 30,000
3.   Today - not real sure
G.   18th century Ottoman Empire was 25% - today it is less than 1%