On 18 July, 2019, the International Community of the Holy Sepulchre and the Hudson Institute’s Working Group on Christians and Religious Pluralism in the Middle East co-organised an event titled “Christian Holy Sites & Holy Places in the Middle East”. The event highlighted the challenges Christian communities face in the region while also illuminating how churches use these holy spaces to serve their wider communities. This event ran on the side of the US State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, a gathering of religious and civic leaders from around the world.

The event was opened by Lord David Alton, from the House of Lords Select Committee on International Relations. Representative French Hill of Arkansas and Kristina Arriaga of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom both introduced the speakers and provided brief remarks on the importance of holy sites and places to Christians in the Middle East and around the world. 

Other speakers included Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, Fr Ramzi Sidawi OFM from the Custody of the Holy Land, Fr Dr Alexi Chehadeh from the Patriarchate of Antioch, and Fr Salar Kajo from the Chaldean Archdiocese of Al Qosh. 

Father Ramzi Sidawi OFM of the Custody of the Holy Land speaks about the Franciscans’ mission in Jerusalem at our event titled “Christian Holy Spaces & Holy Places in the Middle East”

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