Christians in the Holy Land Mosaic variety of components communities.
First, there is an impressive variety of different Christian communities. Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic (or Greek) (they are the majority of Christians in the Holy Land), the Latin Catholics (or Roman), Maronites, Armenians, Syrian Orthodox and Catholics, Copts, Ethiopians, Anglicans, Lutherans and various evangelical groups.
Secondly, there is diversity in terms of the origin of the Christian and social-cultural contexts and linguistic where the Christian life:
- Local Christians rooted in the Holy Land are mostly Arabic speaking and their combined Arab Palestinian society or Jordanian society.
- A small but important group of Christians is a migrant who live in the Holy Land and most of them serve in church institutions, orders and ecclesiastical organizations. Most of the leaders of the various churches and communities are from this group.
A large number of refugees from Syria and Iraq in Jordan.
The tendency of Palestinian Christians to emigrate to other countries is rooted in history. Emigration from the Holy Land began in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Immigration causes early period included political and economic conditions in poor Ottoman Empire.
The most dramatic migration of Palestinian Christians in the modern era began with what the Palestinians call "Al Nakba" (which means: catastrophe) in 1948: evictions preceded the declaration of independence of the State of Israel and continued thereafter. For months the war of 1948, which occurred during the creation of Israel, Palestinian Christians fled or were expelled from their homes and not allowed to return after the war.
In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, although there was no massive population migration at the same time, Christian emigration has never ceased.
As a result, the percentage of Christians in the population of the Holy Land has dropped dramatically from 10% of the population in Palestine before 1948 to about 2% of the population in the Holy Land today. Immigration continues while Christians observe a situation in which the peace process at an impasse, the Israeli occupation continues, thriving radical Islamic movements and social and economic situation continues to worsen.
Christian emigration is one of the most important issues facing the Church in the Holy Land. Many Christian youths, often the most educated, exploring the possibility to migrate and thus achieve their dreams and aspirations at the current situation in their country interfered with the lives and futures.
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Christians in Palestine are part of the Christian population in the Holy Land. They make up about -1.25% of the Palestinian population (50 thousand Christians of 4 million). Of course Muslims are the majority in Palestinian society.
Relations between Christians and Muslims in Palestine a very long history. Through the ages, they have learned to live this special history were peaks and lows. They share the same Arab Palestinian identity, her language and culture, common history and that belonging to Israel.
Although they are a minority, Christians have played in the past and even today continue to play an important role and sometimes unique in many fields such as education and health systems, cultural life (literature, art, film), journalism and social action. Palestinian Christians are often used as a bridge between the Arab world a Westerner.
Muslim side, Palestinian Christians experience the daily suffering and humiliation resulting from the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the occupation that began in 1967. They suffer from economic, social and psychological of this injustice, and often face the temptation to abandon their homeland and migrate to other countries.
Milk Grotto Church, Bethlehem - Holy Land
They're watching with anxiety the situation of Christian Arabs throughout the Middle East, facing the radical Islamic movements which refuse to recognize Christians as citizens who enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities and fulfilling their obligations as other citizens civil.