Dr. Lyndall Herman, who holds a PhD in Middle Eastern and North African studies from the University of Arizona, is preparing an article for Orthodoxy in Dialogue on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She hopes to have it ready some time this weekend. As a preface to her article she suggests that we draw our readers’ attention back to Murray Watson’s Jerusalem: A Helpful Decision? (12/7/17), Benjamin Amis’ The Promised Land? An Orthodox Response to Christian Zionism (1/12/18), and Giacomo Sanfilippo’s article below which appeared as an op ed in The Milwaukee Independent (12/13/17).
American Evangelicals do not represent Christianity in America. Much less do they represent Christianity in Israel.
For 2,000 years, Christianity has had an uninterrupted presence in what is now Israel. The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem traces its roots to the New Testament book of Acts. It has functioned as a patriarchate in fact from the 5th century, and in name from the 6th century until the present. Theophilus III serves as the current Patriarch of Jerusalem, and his Christian flock consists mainly of Palestinian Arabs.
Several decades before the birth of Christ, the Jews lost control of what we now call the Holy Land to the Romans. From the time that the Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century, the region remained under Christian control until the Islamic conquest of the 7th century. Beginning in the 11th century, the Roman Catholic West launched a series of Crusades in a protracted attempt not only to wrest control of the Holy Land from Muslim hands, but even Constantinople from Orthodox Christian hands.
Muslim control of the Holy Land ended definitively with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and the establishment of the British Mandate. Yet the Orthodox Church, and later other Christian Churches, had a continuous if uneasy existence in the Holy Land through 1,300 years of Islam. Only in 1948, a full 2,000 years after the Roman conquest, did Jews regain control of the Holy Land and name it the State of Israel. Read More