PARABLES OF THE ORIENT. Christianity ant the challenge of the New Millennium
The conditions of the Christians in Middle-East have recently came back to the attention of the media and of international politics thanks to the pleas of Pope Francis that highlighted its dramatic nature. The latest bloody war that plunged the region caused a major exodus of the Christians, in this case from Syria, which reduced the scarce presence of Christianity in the area of its original diffusion. Many Churches are present in the area that goes from the Caucasus to Egypt, from Iran to Cyprus.
The Christians of the three main branches, i.e. Catholics, Orthodox and Oriental Christians (Armenians, Copts etc.) are divided in their turn in a huge number of sub-denominations. This polycentrism shows the historic complexity of this region, and the long-lasting strategies of survival thanks to which it was possible to preserve the Christian heritage and its linguistic, liturgical and artistic richness till the 20th Century.
But during the last Century, the rules of the historical coexistence of peoples and faiths in Middle-East have gradually changed. The Christians decreased from 25% (recorded at the beginning of the 20th Century), to a current 6%.
The diaspora of the Christians from Middle-East to Europe and to America has increased, stressing the importance of memory and of the physical connection to one’s homeland.
More and more often, what’s left of this memory in the homeland are the places of worship, houses, schools, abandoned buildings that, in the best scenarios, are left to small communities that cannot afford their maintenance. Nevertheless, these communities are still alive, and they need to be protected.
The double goal of this exhibition is, on the one hand, to testify the actual situation of Christianity in Middle-East, arising a reflection about the future of these communities and about their role in the Middle-East societies of the 21st Century. On the other hand, we aim at focusing the attention of the international community back to the protection of the rich architectural and artistic legacy that, from centuries, represents a fundamental part of the Christian culture.
The exhibition will be itinerant. After the Meeting, it will be brought to Rome, Bruxelles, Paris and other European capitals.
Promoted by the Embassy of the Armenian Republic to the Holy See.
General Organization Zona.
Curator: Renata Ferri.
Photographic exhibition about the Christian communities of Middle-East, with a monographic work by Michele Borzoni and a selection of Images by press agencies.
Texts by Andrea Milluzzi