Lebanon Archives - Crux



  • Middle East’s well-kept secret revealed when Jihad met the Virgin

    Middle East’s well-kept secret revealed when Jihad met the Virgin

    It’s a well-kept secret of societies where Christians and Muslims rub shoulders that conversions from one faith to the other happen with sometimes surprising frequency. Muslims who embrace Christianity face special challenges, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, as a story from Lebanon about the time Jihad met the Virgin illustrates.

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  • Despair, joy, defiance, and resignation all abound in unique Lebanon

    Despair, joy, defiance, and resignation all abound in unique Lebanon

    In many ways, Lebanon is unique in the Middle East. Christians are a robust 35 to 40 percent of the population, and the country has long had a tradition of power-sharing to make co-existence possible. The country is also, however, surrounded by chaos, and right now the strain of a very large refugee population is pushing both the government and the Church’s resources to the breaking point, which could unleash consequences no one can foresee.

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  • Refugees say life is hard, but without the Church it would be impossible

    Refugees say life is hard, but without the Church it would be impossible

    Talking to Syrian Christian refugees in Lebanon, it’s obvious that life is hardly a walk in the park. However, to a person they also say that it would be infinitely worse without the assistance of the local Church. The Greek Melkite Archdiocese of Zahle, for instance, is spending roughly $2 million per year to provide housing, food, medication, schooling, and other basic necessities, as Lebanon copes with the world’s largest per capita refugee crisis.

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  • In Lebanon, Catholics can’t afford the Church’s culture wars

    In Lebanon, Catholics can’t afford the Church’s culture wars

    Moving around the Catholic world, it’s often striking how the culture wars in the Church over matters such as liturgy and “Amoris Laetitia” are products of affluent and basically stable societies, while places with real wars to worry about have more existential concerns. A visit to a Catholic hospital in Lebanon confirmed the point, where the CEO found questions about its Catholic identity almost impossible to fathom.

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  • Lebanese Church pioneers integration amid mounting native/refugee divide

    Lebanese Church pioneers integration amid mounting native/refugee divide

    Faced with a stunning influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees in a country whose population was only a little over four million to begin with, Lebanon is struggling to avoid fracturing along native/refugee lines. In the campaign to promote integration between the two groups, few social forces are as active as the Catholic Church, as both a school and a free meal service in the city of Zahle illustrate.

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  • Meeting Middle East Christians is where Western stereotypes go to die

    Meeting Middle East Christians is where Western stereotypes go to die

    Many Westerners express sympathy for Christian victims of the genocide conducted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but might find actually listening to them a surprise. They’ll challenge Western stereotypes on at least three fronts: Syria’s Assad is a bad actor and must go; Hezbollah is part of Jihadism Inc. and a threat to Christians; and today’s most profound refugee crisis is in Europe.

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