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History of Modern Christianity in the Holy Land

The Baptism site of Jesus Christ

Jordan is often described as one of the success stories of the Middle East.

More liberal than most of its neighbours, it is a peaceful, and increasingly developed country. And a tolerant one.

Jordanian Christians said they felt completely integrated. A Muslim told me Christians sometimes call their sons Mohammed, while Muslims will occasionally choose the name Jesus.

"We greet each other at Christmas and Ramadan," he told me, "because above all, we're Jordanians." Martin Buckley BBC News


الهوية الأردنية المسيحية

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"Jordanian Christians are Fully Integrated" by His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan bin Talal

This item is available on the Middle East Forum website, at

"Jordanian Christians are Fully Integrated"

by Prince El-Hassan bin Talal
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2001

His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan bin Talal is the uncle of King Abdallah II of Jordan. Born in 1947, he counts himself a forty-second-generation descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He attended schools in England and received degrees in Oriental Studies from Oxford University, then served as crown prince from 1965 to 1999, during which time he served as his brother Hussein's closest political advisor, confidant, and deputy, and established many organizations in Jordan. The recipient of five honorary degrees and decorated by over twenty governments, he has been particularly active in the promotion of interfaith dialogue, especially among the followers of the three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and other ecumenical and humanitarian issues. In 1994 he founded the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, an Amman-based institution that engages in the interdisciplinary study of religion and religious issues, "with particular reference to Christianity in Arab and Islamic society." Prince El-Hassan has written four books including one on this subject, Christianity in the Arab World.1 (For more information, see Daniel Pipes and Hilal Khashan interviewed him in Madrid, Spain, on October 28, 2000.

Middle East Quarterly: Please comment on the state of Christian-Muslim relations in Jordan.

Prince El-Hassan bin Talal: All of us living in Jordan and sharing the Jordanian experience are never really aware of there being an issue about Christian-Muslim relations. We do not normally speak in terms of personal identity; rather, we prefer to talks in terms of human rights or democracy or other ideals. I feel that our ethos in Jordan is very much a pluralistic one throughout the century. This is not a recent development, for the Hashemite movement itself has based its consensus on pluralism. You can see that this is a tradition by looking at such examples as the Sharif Husayn of Mecca's treatment of the Armenians in 1911; or look at the continuous references to the Covenant of ‘Umar when the Hashemites deal with the churches, the Orthodox church in particular.

MEQ: How did this come to be?

El-Hassan: Jordanian Christians (and Jordanian Muslims for that matter) are part of a society with a long tradition of mutual respect. In the twentieth century, this respect has been renewed and extended thanks to An-Nahda, or as it is known in English, the renaissance movement, which is the basis of Hashemite political thinking. The Nahda movement is based in the Enlightenment tradition of the 1700s in Europe, a tradition to which Christians not only in Jordan but in other parts of the Fertile Crescent look with much admiration.

The Nahda movement was very much a sharing of Arab Muslim and Christian identities in expressing a vision. The Ba‘th have taken the slogan of "a nation with an eternal message," but it was very much an Arab Nahda slogan in the first place.

MEQ: And today, how do things stand in Jordan?

El-Hassan: The recent visit of Pope John Paul II to Jordan clearly indicated how Jordanian Christians—I'd like to put it that way because that's how they perceive themselves—are fully integrated into the national life of the country. In common with many other countries, Jordan has a concept of the traditional churches—of fourteen traditional churches in our case—with whom the modus vivendi is very clear. A steady conversation between them exists, as well as one with the larger society around them. The interaction between the churches of the Christian community is very much a part of the dynamic of Jordanian Christianity.

MEQ: Are there problems?

El-Hassan: Occasionally, issues come that require creative solutions, which we have over the many years been able to supply. For example, when the question of education arose, we resolved it by granting freedom of education to the church schools to develop a Christian syllabus; similarly, synods for young people are held regularly.

Although the interaction between Christians and Muslims is very much a part of a long-standing dialogue, I have been associated with efforts to make it more formal and to extend it into new areas. I can therefore speak with some confidence about these conversations and report to you their successes. At the same time, I would not want to tell you that they proceed without problems. Fears do exist, especially at the fringes of the respective communities—fears whose legitimacy I do not challenge, not just in Jordan, but in many countries in the Arab world and in the world at large.

MEQ: How would you compare Christian-Muslim relations in Jordan with those relations in nearby countries?

El-Hassan: Let me start by saying that I am not being judgmental and that certainly we in Jordan have no intention of proposing ourselves as a model. That said, I believe that religious and cultural rights are not only implicit in Jordan but find full expression there.

Christian-Muslim Dialogue

MEQ: What can Christian-Muslim interfaith dialogue achieve?

El-Hassan: It can achieve many things. First, in the absolute, it can achieve a sharing in the context of moving from a culture of existing to a culture of participation. By this, I mean that without dialogue, the two communities are there side-by-side but not really interacting. Only when the dialogue begins can they begin to participate in each other's lives.

Secondly, it can demonstrate to the world that the term "Arab" does not necessarily apply to Muslims and that it includes an important Christian population as well. Beyond this, remember that the very identity of Christianity is Levantine and Near Eastern. When our Scandinavian friends come to visit during the Christmas period, they ask, "Where are the reindeer?" To which I reply, "I don't know, but look just up the road, and you'll see Bethlehem a few steps away."

Thirdly, dialogue can develop a context of security and of human interaction that is essential if our region is not to go the way of the Balkans of the past decade. We have to recognize that ethnic and sectarian strife is a live danger and could afflict the region quickly and with terrible results. Let's hope that we can preserve the "good news" story we now have.

MEQ: Is there envy of Christians, due to their economic success? Is this as much a problem as the underlying religious differences?

El-Hassan: Christians across the region have done well, and any minority that has a successful record is looked at with a certain degree of envy. (There are other reasons, too, for discrimination, of course; note in Europe today, where the migrant workers face problems precisely because they have a less successful record.)

Horizontal inequalities—where some groups flourish and others do not—are the basis for any disaffection. I don't want to see those horizontal inequalities neglected. This is why I place an emphasis on the development of a social productivity package such as health insurance and social security; and why I see it as so essential to complementing the consensus of growth through market economics. In other words, it's not enough to build a nation's and a society's economic muscle; it is also important to recognize the cultural aspects of this, as well as freedom of expression, which should include, not only implicitly, but explicitly, religious rights.

MEQ: What specific results have emerged from such dialogue to date?

El-Hassan: I can't speak for the region as such but I can note that in Jordan we've had endless attempts at dialogue through the different associations and foundations in which I've been involved. For a concrete example, look at higher education and the Jordanian conversation with the Holy See. There have been results in terms of qiyas, or analogy, as opposed to competitive studies. It's important for us that we have taken a step in that direction; we do not regard religions as a rivalry but we see them as complementary to each other. We do not say, "My religion has all these qualities that are better than yours." Instead, we compare what my religion has and what yours has. Analogy is an important methodology that is really just now coming into its own.

MEQ: An example?

El-Hassan: Sure: The Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue in Geneva is about to produce the holy books of the three monotheistic religions—the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an— in a special millennial commemorative issue. That, I hope, will lead to an analytical concordance of the three volumes that will tangibly contribute to de-demonizing the image of the others. It will also have the practical benefit of providing a common terminology for the three religions.

The Dhimmi Status

MEQ: Please comment on the dhimmi status which gives Jews and Christian an assured but second-rate status in Muslim society. Is the dhimmi status completely dead or does it have some residual influence?

El-Hassan: I would prefer to speak more of ahl al-kitab [people of the book, a reference primarily to Jews and Christians], of the covenant of Noah, and of the covenant of Abraham; those seem to me more productive than addressing the concept of the dhimmi status. The dhimmi status is actually a product of a political system rather than a product of a basic attitude of Islam toward Christianity. It was designed essentially to provide protection for religious minorities under Islam. Under the Ottomans it was given its fullest expression culminating in the millet system which granted the various religious communities autonomous status under their ecclesiastical leaders. In fact, that system has long intrigued me. I sometimes think that the Ottoman state began to collapse when the millet system was dismantled, and with it a recognition of the right of the other. If I look around today, I conclude that any cosmopolitan city that co-exists or inter-exists, is essentially practicing a millet-type system under somewhat different pluralistic norms.

MEQ: So the dhimmi status as such is finished? We note that some Muslim religious figures have called for re-establishing the dhimmi status on Christians living in Muslim countries—collecting a special tax from them (jizya), keeping them out of the armed forces and political leadership positions, restricting their places of worship, and so forth. What is your view on this?

El-Hassan: In Jordan at least, I don't think there has been any condescension of that kind. I cannot speak for other countries.

MEQ: Some Muslim countries persecute Muslims who seek to convert to Christianity but encourage Christians to convert to Islam. Your comments on this asymmetry, please.

El-Hassan: Yes, I suppose it is a form of asymmetry, but in the year 2000, winning new converts to Islam is just not the highest priority.

I was visited some years ago by a Muslim figure, an American Christian who had just converted to Islam. He sought my endorsement for this step. When I didn't comment on it, he complained that I had not responded. To which, I replied: "Your conversion may give you personal satisfaction, but basically, we have to concentrate on education and quality of life for all on a non-discriminatory basis."

MEQ: Isn't da‘wa, or winning new converts, inherent to the mission of Islam?

El-Hassan: Da'wa remains important to Islam and the Muslims. It must be conducted in accordance with the true spirit of the faith as well as a serious understanding of its religious, spiritual, and ethical tenets. There can be no coercion, and it must be based on free will and personal conviction in Islam and its essential message to mankind.

The Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies

MEQ: Please tell us what your institute is doing to promote equal citizenry for the Christians in the Middle East.

El-Hassan: The Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies is not a religious council but focuses very much on the perceptions of the layman. It doesn't pass religious judgments, but it tries to develop in a contemporary idiom an understanding of Christianity. Take East Africa, for example, where Muslim-Christian relations have been sensitive, particularly as one moves south of the equator. A case in point is southern Sudan, where a terrible war has been taking place for years. We have tried to emphasize the importance of crisis avoidance by exercising a deeper understanding of culture and religion. I cannot claim any breakthroughs there, but we continue to work on this issue.

I am happy to report that the institute has achieved a certain stature. Leading professors from the European Union and other countries have come to visit us on their sabbaticals and have made important contributions, as is reflected by their writings in the institute's bulletin.

MEQ: Have you felt that your efforts have reached the audience you hoped for and had the effect you sought?

El-Hassan: Not fully, and especially not in the dissemination of our materials. I have learned how very difficult it is to get information out. The free flow of information, I believe, should be a part of any self-respecting code of conduct. The media at large would be well-advised to look at the Erasmus model that has been so effective in post-war Europe.

The Christian Exodus

MEQ: What would you ascribe the Christian exodus to—the atmosphere of rising Islamist sentiments?

El-Hassan: That is one cause, but not the only one. Note that those who emigrate tend to be the most skilled. Their leaving is a form of brain-drain—not a wholly bad thing, by the way, for better brain-drain than brain-in-the-drain—as shown by the fact that these visa applicants to many of the Western countries get priority and find it easy to move about. In other words, we're talking not only about a Christian community, but a talented community. Also, there's a certain degree of preference, perhaps, among the Western embassies for accommodating Christian emigrants. This in part has to do with their religion and in part to their familiarity with Western ways, many of them, for example, having attended private schools run by Western institutions.

MEQ: Are the Christians of Jordan worried about their future?

El-Hassan: I cannot speak for them, but I can tell you that I am deeply worried by a Christian exodus from the region. I keep reminding myself that today there are more Christians from Jerusalem—I say Jerusalem because many of them are Jordanian card-holders or passport-holders—living in Sydney, Australia, than in Jerusalem itself. There is a deep concern about the emigration among the community of Arab Christians. On the other hand, let's hope that the Arab communities abroad can help the Enlightenment tradition to revisit our region; they can be an important means of transmission of the best of Western ideas to the Middle East.

MEQ: What steps can be taken by governments or other institutions to stem the exodus of Christians from the region and to encourage Christians to stay?

El-Hassan: Once you accept the principle of free movement, you cannot administratively put a stop to out-migration. The problem has to be addressed in a more profound manner. I prefer to think in terms of developing an inclusionist policy, meaning a recognition that the rights of every member of the community must be respected. I also advocate an intelligent system of proportional representation, which I believe exists to a very large extent in Jordan. Maybe it is even overstated in Jordan, where Christians have more seats in parliament than their population entitles them to. The fact is, the Jordanian parliament represents Christians in a—I won't say a generous manner—but in a correct manner.

MEQ: Does the Christian inclusion go beyond parliament?

El-Hassan: Certainly. In terms of involvement in public life, when a meeting takes place of the synods for young people, I hope that this conversation is inclusionist. And the same goes for private life because, unfortunately, the private realm does dominate the public realm. Things are going wrong when you find Muslims meeting in the context of Muslim political parties, and then Christians meeting in the context of their own parties. This increases apprehensions and leads to knee-jerk reactions. That's why participating in a national discourse along pluralistic lines is so extremely important. There is still much to do, however; in our region, we are basically talking about countries in which civil society still has to go a long way to develop and emerge.

MEQ: In an Islamist environment, what are your feelings about the future in terms of Middle Eastern Christians? Will they remain in their ancestral homes, or is Sydney their future?

El-Hassan: I deem the Muslim political movements' influence on parliamentary elections and their other influence really to be a political phenomenon of the moment, not something that will last. Essentially, it is my fervent hope that a culture of participation can be confirmed and consolidated and thereby lead to a clear understanding of the culture of peace in which we all share. By the way, you used the word "Islamist environment," but I regard this term as perhaps provocative of certain images, and so avoid it. I prefer to describe ours as an "Arab environment," meaning both Arab Muslim and Arab Christian.

MEQ: So you are an optimist?

El-Hassan: I can't afford not to be. I believe in continuing to salve my conscience, at least.

1 Amman: Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, 1994. The book has also appeared in Arabic and French.

This item is available on the Middle East Forum website, at

Inside St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Madaba.
Michelle Woodward

Some of the world's earliest known churches have been recently discovered in Jordan...

Jordan's Christians: An integral part of the national mosaic Jordan's Christians: An integral part of the national mosaic Jordan's Christians: An integral part of the national mosaic

Smakieh 22\5\2001 ,

Jordan Tourism Board , North America
Religious press Familiarization Trip of Biblical Jordan
May 20-27, 2001

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    Just days before the Pope's pilgrimage visit to the Holy Land, “Famiglia  Cristiana” had an interview with H. M. King Abdullah the 2d, and one of the  interesting questions was: What’s the situation of Catholics in Jordan? The  reply was: “The Catholics, and the Christians in general, form an important  part of our society and they are very respected. They participate in all the  political, economic and social aspects of the country, assume senior  positions and roles in the government and society at large, and play an  active role in parliament as both voters and members of parliament. They are  free to practice their faith and beliefs, without any obstacles from anyone, and freely build their churches. Jordanian Christians have always received  our appreciation. This is one of the things we are proud of in Jordan: we  feel that the mutual respect and understanding among Christians and Muslims  in Jordan is a fine model for the world. Some years ago Pope Paul VI chose  our country to be the place for his historical meeting with the Patriarch Athenagore because of the neutrality of Jordan." (FC n. 11 19march 2000.).

    “ The Catholic Church, without forgetting that its primary mission is a
spiritual one, is always eager to cooperate with individual nations and
people of goodwill in promoting the dignity of humankind. The church does
this in particular through its schools and education programs, and through
charitable and social institutions. Your noble tradition of respect for all
religions guarantees the religious freedom which makes this possible, and
which is in fact a fundamental human right. When this is so, all citizens
feel themselves equal, and each one, inspired by his own spiritual
convictions, can contribute to the building up of society as the shared home
of all”. (John Paul  II in Jordan, at the international Airport  20\3\2000).

Jordanian Christian Identity:

      Without any doubt, Christ Himself passed through Jordan during his  preaching and teaching in the Decapolis (Jerash, Philadelphia, Gedara…). The  first Christian Community  to flee Jerusalem during the first Jewish revolt  found refuge at Pella in the north Jordan Valley.
      The great patrimony of archeological and Biblical sites in Jordan is very strong testimony to the Christian Identity here since the earliest days of  Christianity. In fact, the church in Jordan and Palestine is  the  Mother-Church. Bishop Selim Sayegh , residing in Amman, has written a small book about the Christian archeological sites in Jordan, noting that in every  step in this land you can find plenty of history. Many Bishops from Jordan participated at the first Councils of the Church in the fourth to sixth  centuries AD, and inn many sites around the country you find inscribed the  words : “This people loves Christ”.
    Despite the harsh persecutions of Christians during the first 3 centuries (we have many martyrs in Jordan), the Church subsequently prospered and expanded from the 4th to the 7th century. Then following the Persian and the Arab Moslem conquests of the 7th century, the Church was gradually weakened.
The Christian community became smaller, and a minority, and has remained so over the centuries, including today. The old Arab Christian literature, though, is one of the jewels of Arab history and culture:

Latin Patriarcate:

    Diocese of Jerusalem. From the 5th century, dependent from Antioch with theBishop of Jerusalem Jovinalus , during the Clacedian Council.  The crusaders designed a Latin patriarch in 1099 till 1291.Having been restored in 1847, Patriarch Valerga was the first one elected by Pope Pie IX. The Actual Patriarch is the 8th, HB Michel Sabbah, is the first Arab patriarch. 2 Vicariates are to be mentioned: in Amman and Nazareth. In Amman since 1927. The local clergy has to pass by the Latin Seminary in Beit Jala.

Actual situation of Christians in Jordan:

    Before the 2d World War, estimated number is 25, 000 persons. From 455,000 (5%). In the 1960s,  160,000 from 1.7 million (9%). But due to large numbers  of refugees arriving from Palestine, this number has decreased to  less than 3% today, and is not more than 180,000 persons.

The Christians in Jordan are:

   1) Traditional, who follow the tribal, village, and Beduin customs and popular traditions.
   2) From an ecumenical viewpoint, every Christian follows his denomination. We have a council of Bishops working in Jordan, but achieving full unity in the Church remains a big challenge and hope.
   3) The Christian is a good citizen, and being an Arab Christian is not a weak aspect of our lives. Our Arab landscape and society is our fate and also our salvation. We are very conscious of the fact that we Christians in the Holy Land continue the tradition of human morality, identity and faith that started with the baptism, teachings, life, death and resurrection of
Jesus, which happened in our area.
    The Christian in Jordan is always a good citizen, very faithful to his or her country, work, family, and society… always helpful. In the parliament 8 of 80 deputies are Christians. Always we have one or two ministers in the government and 2 in the economic consultative council…  We are deeply rooted in the ancient history of the land and in the modern institutions of statehood and society.  We are not looking for another space in the world where we can live our faith; The Incarnation of the Lord is our strategy to incarnate our faith in the society of today, in the Arab society or the
western one…
      I should mention some initiatives related to the Church's work in society (hospitals, Caritas …), in order to try to resolve the problem of unemployment ( 16 %) and poverty (27% persons = 65,000 families) but the problem remains much bigger than our possibilities and modest means.

4) The church in the world of culture:
      Many schools in Jordan and Palestine are run by the Catholic Church and other churches (the Roman Catholic Patriarchate runs 43 schools with 19,000 students of whom two-thirds are Christians). Our dream is greater than our possibilities. The Patriarchate is always supported by the Knights and Ladies (Order) of the Holy Sepulcher. Our families can’t pay for all the expenses of education. So the schools are PASTORAL and not at all COMMERCIAL, above all, good catechism is always
presented in these schools. We have many other educational institutions for adults, and we still dream to have a Catholic university in our country. Many writers and newspaper columnists (the most read) are Christians.

5) The mass media tools in the church and Christian information:
      The laymen and women are not able to promote such means within the church. The church has 2 modest monthly magazines. No possibilities in the TV or radio except for some personal initiatives from some determined priests, with some other writers who affirm their Christian values. Our  dream and hope here is to open an official Christian information center, like the one in Jerusalem. We are in great need of such a center of mass media and many priests are working to open it, but we are still far from succeeding.

6) Inter-religious dialogue:
    Christian-Muslim dialogue is well rooted in Jordan, and much more dynamic than in many other Arab countries, in part because of the patronage of the royal family. Several official institutions have been established for this purpose, such as the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. the Aal Al-Bayt University focuses on interfaith and cultural research. However,  the dialogue is still largely at the official and formal level, and has not yet reached the street level, where some dogmatic and rigid views are in
need of deeper dialogue in order to eliminate misunderstandings or misperceptions. The good relationship between neighbors (Christians and Moslems) is a distinctive and positive aspect of Jordanian society.

   7) Toward a better future:
    Fears: Economic Hardship: is affecting everyone. Besides this common difficult situation, the “minority” is sometimes feeling desperate. There is the dangerof self-marginalisation, negligence of the faith, fusion… that means forgetting the specific faith in order to have a good place in society. Here we can talk about the remedy initiatives and first of all it’s the negative one in emigration which is not at all a result of any act “of  persecution”.
This is not at all present but because of the degradation of material income  for both families and individuals. It’s a danger for both Christian and Moslem, but because of the small number of Christians the symptoms are worse for Christians. In fact, the phenomenon of emigration has reduced the number of Christians in the Holy Land to a fraction of what they were in years
past. However, few of us share the opinion of some pessimists who say that the Christian community of Palestine is disappearing. The Holy Land still has a vibrant Christian Palestinian and Jordanian community.
    The Christian Community in Palestine has reduced and most of them emigrated outside , not always by their own chance, because of the bad and increasing situation of violence. The Church , especially with HB Patriarch Michel Sabbah who  is always calling for an end to the circle of violence and He calls his con-citizens, Christians and Muslims alike, to remain in their
homeland where they have their roots.

Just a just peace can put the serenity in both people: Palestinian and Israeli. (for more information about the role of the Local Church in the situation in the Holy Land, please have a look on whose editor is Fr Raed Awad , chancellor of the Latin Patriarcate, Jerusalem,  and pass it to your friends).
    For the first time, the believers from the Middle East living abroad are more than those who are still in their countries. The greatest fear is that they may forget any connection with their homeland.

Fr. Labib Kobti, send by Patriarch Sabbah to serve the Arab-Americans in California has created since 1994 a website that speaks on behalf of the Arab-American Catholics. His website:   is an encyclopedia of things related to the Middle East. was the first to broadcast LIVE the midnight Christmas mass and Easter through the Internet in the world. Fr. Labib Kobti created also a website related to Jerusalem and another one to Behtlehem and a third to Nazareth, . Al-Bushra has a special page that deals with the situation of Christians at: Christians in the Middle East

Fr Rafiq Khoury , a leading man of culture in the Patriarcate, is always talking about ‘choices “ for our Arab Christian communities. There are 4 principles to keep in mind:
    1) Choice of faith specially in the cross and Resurrection of Christ but also of Christianity.
    2) Ecclesial Choice: to get involved in the Church’s spiritual and pastoral life.
    3) Ecumenical Choice: to be Christians together in the face of many challenges.
    4) Social choice: to be involved in all the aspects of our society.

8) Pastoral Plan:
    After the closure of the Diocesan Pastoral Synod (1995-2000), the resulting Pastoral Plan is the Hope for our Christians to be always awakened and looking to a better future. Being an Arab Christian remains a demanding life and a challenge, almost a Via Dolorosa; but also it’s the road toward salvation. We are still the proud, direct sons of the first Christian community, and we will always be faithful to this Mission, by being honest and trustworthy in our society and in our church.


    The Church of the Holy Land has a special vocation and mission (ref. Fr William Shomaly , general director of Finance Committee in the Latin Patriarcate, from a Lecture in London for the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher 2000).
      1) Our vocation is to remain, despite our small numbers, in the Holy Land, where Jesus was baptized , preached, redeemed humanity, and founded the Church.
    2) Our mission is to be witnesses of Jesus Christ amidst a Moslem majority.This involves an important interfaith dimension. We have many things in common with our Muslim compatriots, including language, history, and destiny. This richness of the Arab Christian community living in the Holy Land qualifies us to be a bridge between Oriental and the Occidental cultures, without negating our origins and identity as Arabs, Jordanians and Christians.

Fr Rif'at Bader

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The trip south from Amman along the 5,000-year-old king’s Highway is one of the most memorable journeys in the Holy Land, passing through a string of ancient sites. The first city to encounter is Madaba, Known as the City of Mosaics. Best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaic, the city is also home to the famous sixth century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. With two million pieces of colored stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta. Other mosaic masterpieces found in the Church of the Virgin, the Church of the Apostles and the Archaeological Museum depict a vivid profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Literally hundreds of other mosaics from the fifth to seventh centuries and scattered throughout Madaba’s churches and homes.


Ten minutes to the west is the most revered site in Jordan: Mount Nebo, the memorial to Moses and the presumed site of the prophet’s death and burial. A small church, built on the hill in the fourth century to commemorate the sacred spot, was expanded substantially about 200 years later and contains a stunning collection of Byzantine Mosaics.

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أنـــــــــــا الأردن اســــــــــــــــــــم وهويــــــــــــــــــة

أنــــا اسمـــــــــــــي بالكتـــب السمــــــــــــــاوية

أنــــا ولادي اردنــــــــي واردنيــــــــــــــــــــة

أنــــــا تاجـــــــي مملكـــــــــــــــة هاشميــــــــــــــــــــــة