Near east year 2000: will the Christms disappem?
‘The Christian presence in those countries where Christianity originated is al a turning point. In view of the phenomenon which has worsened in recent decades – of emigration and the age-old problem of emargination, a fresh impul-se is required to foster the rebirth of Christianity in the Middle-East, impulse which can or fly come from a mission movement supported by the Christianity of Europe. The exhibition itinerary will be marked by photographic documents, panels with captions, scale models and precious artifacts aimed at undersco-ring the statistical data and details of the Christian presence in the countries of the Near-East, term which the organizers consider more suited to the area than “Middle-East”, inasmuch as, both geographically and historically, it gives back original value to the old bonds that have always united the region to Europe since the bird of Jesus Christ. Only a few months after a conflict which risked seriously threatening an atmosphere of age-old enmity and lack of trust predominant in the area, it is fundamental to rediscover how, on the other predominant in hand, these lands, which are the home al those ancient symbols of prestige, the seven oldest patriarchates of Christianity, born out of the first preaching of the Apostles, represent a wealth of culture to be defended at all costs and mosaic of peoples who must be allowed to live together in a state of peaceful coexistence. What is it that the Christian of the Holy Land want? That the world understand that the very existence of the Church is threatened. The Rimini exhibition, in an attempt to make visitors more aware of the dramatic problem and re-echoing the cry of alarm of Paul VI to stop the Holy Land be-coming a museum, takes them might become acquainted with the Christians of those parts, their current distribution, the historical vestiges that continue to make them so mysteriously fascinating. To prevent however the visit becoming a mere experience in exotism, the organizers have tried to provoke an impact with places, events, people and the contradictions of countries such as Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Armenia, the Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Israel, similar to a first-time pilgrimage – an invitation to go the Holy Land and tread the road which from Christ encounters mankind. The “Terrasanta” Europe – Near East Centre is an international association which promotes the rediscovery of the strong bonds that unite the faith of Abraham – the Near East, called in the middle ages, “Holy Land”, and Europe. The centre is located in Molfetta, near the Hospital of the Crusades. It works in favour of the development of cultural ties and soli-darity with the Christians, churches, peoples and nations of the Near East.’