Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 330

=31 9854=4/.5 ;851 82 =31 9.=;4.

;/3 47 =31
/87=1698;.;@ 640051 1.<=, .7 1?.647.=487 82 =31
/89=4/ 8;=3808? .70 6.;874=1 =;.04=487<
2INMA 6C/AKKSL

. =HEQIQ <SBLIRRED FNP RHE 0EGPEE NF 9H0


AR RHE
>MITEPQIRW NF <R$ .MDPEUQ

(&&*

2SKK LERADARA FNP RHIQ IREL IQ ATAIKABKE IM


;EQEAPCH-<R.MDPEUQ,2SKK=EVR
AR,
HRRO,%%PEQEAPCH#PEONQIRNPW$QR#AMDPEUQ$AC$SJ%

9KEAQE SQE RHIQ IDEMRIFIEP RN CIRE NP KIMJ RN RHIQ IREL,


HRRO,%%HDK$HAMDKE$MER%'&&()%(++*

=HIQ IREL IQ OPNRECRED BW NPIGIMAK CNOWPIGHR

=HIQ IREL IQ KICEMQED SMDEP A


/PEARITE /NLLNMQ 5ICEMQE

The Political Role of the Patriarch in the


Contemporary Middle East: An
Examination of the Coptic Orthodox and
Maronite Traditions

Fiona McCallum

Submitted for the degree of PhD on 7thAugust 2006

I, FionaMcCallum, herebycertify that this thesis,which is approximately93,821words


in length,hasbeenwritten by me, that it is the recordof work carriedout by me andthat it h
not beensubmittedin any previousapplicationfor a higherdegree.

lNo
0-+j.
)%
C.
date
.

signature of candidate ....

..................

I was admitted as a researchstudent in September2002 and as a candidate for the degree


of PhD in September2003; the higher study for which this is a record was carried out in the
University of St. Andrews between 2002 and 2006.

date Q'dPVA

signatureof candidate...

...................

I hereby certify that the candidate has fulfilled the conditions of the Resolution.and
Regulations appropriate for the degreeof PhD in the University of St. Andrews and that the
in
is
to
this
thesis
submit
candidate qualified
application for that degree.

-.. Em,

date

signature of supervisor

In submittingthis thesisto the University of St. AndrewsI understandthat I am giving


in
it
be
for
for
to
made
available
use
accordance
with the regulationsof the
permission
UniversityLibrary for the time being in force,subjectto any copyrightvestedin the work
beingaffectedthereby. I alsounderstandthat the title andabstractwill be published,and
a copy of the work may be madeandsuppliedto anybonafide library or researchworker.

date

signatureof candidate

Mr.
-.Mp.................

Acknowledgments

I would like to thankmy supervisorProfessorJohnAndersonfor his adviceandsupport


throughoutthis study. I am surethat he cannow addthe Christiancommunitiesin Egypt and
Lebanonto his list of specialities. The commentsofferedby ProfessorRay Hinnebuschwere
greatlyappreciated. I would alsolike to thankDr. Anthony Lang andDr. Anthony
O'Mahony for agreeingto form my examinationcommittee,makingthe processasenjoyable
aspossibleand suggestingimprovementsto this thesis. The field trips undertakento Egypt
have
been
These
have
Lebanon
this
visits
would
work.
not
enhanced
and
significantly
from
Carnegie
for
The
Trust
financial
the
the
contributions
generous
possiblewithout
Universitiesof Scotland,The ScottishInternationalEducationTrust andthe University of St.
Andrews. Many peoplein Egypt andLebanonhavecontributedto this studywhetherthey
impossible
be
but
face.
To
friendly
the
them
formally
interviewed
all
would
name
a
or
were
following deservea personalmention. Many thanksto GuitaHourani,ElianeFersan,
CornelisHulsman,all at NEST andmy generousEgyptianhostsAmal, Farid, Mena, Sarah,
Lili andRamy. Also thanksto Wagih andMargaretAntonios,FatherMark andNabil Ramzi.
This studywould neverhavebeencompletedwithout the constantsupportof my family. I
hopethat it hasbeenworth it. Lastly, I would like to dedicatethis work to threeindividualsI
from
have
been
taken
during
trips
away
us.
cruelly
who
my research
met
In memoryof Mona, GeorgeHawi andGibranTueni

List of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction and Theoretical Framework

Introduction

Key Definitions

Approaches to the Study of Christianity

in the Middle East

Background to the Study

10

Approaches to the Study of Religion and Politics

13

Theoretical Framework

15

Theory One - The Secularization Thesis

15

Theory Two
State" Thesis
The
"Crisis
of
-

23

Theory Three - The Globalization Thesis

28

Theory Four - The Rational Choice Thesis

34

Summary of Theories

44

Methodology

and Plan of the Study

45

Chapter Two : Patriarchal Authority in the Coptic


Orthodox and Maronite Traditions

53

Introduction

53

TheOriginsof thePatriarchin theCopticOrthodoxandMaronite


Traditions

54

Patriarchal
AuthorityandConstraints

60

in theMiddleEast
TheHistoricalExperiences
of theChurches

66

Summary

76

Chapter Three : The Twentieth Century Nationalist


Alternative to Political Representation by Religious Leaders

82

Introduction

82

in theMiddleEastandChristian
TheEmergence
of Nationalism
Involvement

83

TheEgyptianContext

89

Context
TheLebanese

92

in
TheShortcomings
of Nationalism
asa Strategyfor Christians
Era
theIndependence

94

TheEgyptianContext

97

Context
TheLebanese

99

TheChallenges
to Nationalismsincethe 1970sandtheimpact
104

onChristians

107

TheEgyptianContext
Context
TheLebanese
Concerns
TheContemporary
of theCopticOrthodoxand

113

MaroniteCommunities
in Egypt
ChristianConcerns

114

in Lebanon
ChristianConcerns

121
126

Summary

Chapter Four : The Political Role of Patriarch Shenouda


111, Coptic

Orthodox

Patriarch

of Alexandria

Africa
All
and

135

Introduction

135

A Brief Biography of Patriarch Shenouda

137

The Early Years as Patriarch (1971-198 1)

138

The Coptic Renewal Processand Church Governance

142

The Political Role of Patriarch Shenoudain the Mubarak Era

154

The Responseto the Political Role of Patriarch Shenouda

159

The Consequencesof the Political Role of the Patriarch and


Future Prospects

165

Summary

170

Chapter Five : The Political Role of Patriarch Nasrallah


Boutros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the
Maronites

177

Introduction

177

A Brief Biographyof PatriarchSfeir

178

TheEarlyYearsasPatriarch(1986-1989)

179

ThePost-WarSpiritualRenewalof theMaroniteChurch

181

ThePoliticalRoleof PatriarchSfeirin Post-WarLebanon

186

TheResponse
to thePoliticalRoleof PatriarchSfeir

201

TheConsequences
of thePoliticalRoleof thePatriarchand
FutureProspects

209

Summary

214

Chapter Six : The Implications of Global Expansion


on the Political Role of the Patriarch

218

Introduction

218

A Theoretical
Framework
of theDiaspora

219

TheHistoricalFormationof theDiaspora

219

ThePoliticalActivitiesof a Diaspora

220

The Existence of a Religious Diaspora

221

Theories Concerning the Political Role of Religion and the Diaspora

223

The Responseof the Churches to Emigration

224

The Global Expansion of the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite Churches

226

The Challenge of tmigr6 Groups to the Political Role of the Patriarch

232

The Impact of Global Expansion on Identity

240

Summary

242

Chapter Seven : Conclusion

247

Summary

247

Thesis
TheoryOne TheSecularization

263

TheoryTwo The"Crisisof State"Thesis

265

Thesis
TheoryThree:TheGlobalization

268

TheoryFour- TheRationalChoiceThesis

270

Study
for
Future
Suggestions
Conclusion
and

273

Bibliography

278

Books

278

Journal Articles

304

Ph.D Theses

313

Newspapers and Magazines

314

Electronic Sources

315

Interviews

317

Appendix I The Effect of the Variables on the Case Studies

320

Chapter One - Introduction

and Theoretical Framework

Introduction

The objective of this study is to analyse the contemporary political role of Christianity in the
Middle East. This will be achieved by focusing on the office of the patriarch. In most of the
Eastern Christian churches, the patriarch is widely acceptedas the spiritual head of the
community and, throughout the centuries, this authority has often been translated into
temporal power. Although other communal actors have challenged the dominant position of
the patriarch, this dual role as spiritual and civil leader provides resourceswhich can be used
to strengthen the claim to be the political representativeat the expenseof lay rivals. The case
studies selected for this project - the Coptic Orthodox and the Maronite churches - share
several key characteristics. Firstly, both evoke a distinct identity on the basis of faith yet are
directly linked to a specific homeland - Egypt and Lebanon respectively. In contrast to
spiritual leaders of communities which are not concentratedin one particular country, the
Coptic Orthodox and Maronite patriarchs have the potential to become involved in national
affairs if desired. Secondly, both communities have pressing if different concerns as
indigenous Christians in a turbulent regional environment dominated by another religion
Islam. The vast majority of these relate to the position of the community in the homeland.
Thirdly, both communities have recently experiencedwidespread expansion outside the
traditional territory in the Middle East. This allows an examination of the impact this growth
has had on both the church and community at home and abroad. Fourthly, since becoming
the head of each church, Patriarch ShenoudaIII, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and
all Africa and Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the
Maronites, have proven to be charismatic and influential figures in church and national

affairs. They have clearly played significant parts in relations between the community and
statein the decadessince their election to office. Finally, the two case studies have been
selectedas they best representthe potential of Christian communities to have a political role
inthisregion.

VAiile the Copts constitute only a small proportion (5-10% depending on the

identity of the source) of the Egyptian population, they are still the largest Christian
community in the Middle East, numbering around 5-6 million!

In contrast, the Maronites

are a small community in terms of size. It is estimatedthat there are no more than 600,000
Maronites in Lebanon. Yet within Lebanon, they still make up over 20% of the population,
2
have
impact
to
a significant
offering them a chance
on national affairs. This study proposes
that the patriarch exercisesa political role becauseof his position as the head of the
invoked
is
The
to reinforce this
tradition
the
constantly
community.
of
office
authority and
position. In the contemporary period, this can be attributed to the desire to fill the leadership
vacuum which exists amongst Christians in the Middle East.
In the twenty-first century, studies on Middle East Christians can offer a useful insight into
democratization,
in
issues
have
become
the
that
politics
e.
g.
world
priority areas
some of
development, security and terrorism. Although the Christian communities in the Middle East
may be small in size (especially relative to the Muslim majority), they still represent an ideal
in
to
the
towards
opportunity
examine
policies adopted
non-Muslims countries where Islarn is
the dominant religion. On the one hand, where conviviality is discovered, these examples
can provide lessons for communal relations between members of the two faiths in other
East
Middle
the
In
throughout
that
ages,
geographical areas.
particular, some argue
Christians have occupied a unique position in acting as a bridge between the Western and
Islamic worlds. 3 In the present climate of distrust and suspicion, global actors are in great
few
knowledge
The
academic
this
of policymakers and relatively
need of
service.
scant
be
for
highlights
to
this
type
the
undertaken.
these
of
work
need
contributions on
communities

Onthe otherhand,examplesof tenserelationsbetweenMuslims andChristiansdemonstrate


thatmisunderstandings
andignorancecaneasilydeteriorateinto a situationwhereviolence
andconflict is common. In turn, this leadsto instability in the specificcountry andoften has
both on the wider region andon internationalpolitics. In somecases,this can
repercussions
attractoutsideinterestin the fate of the Christiancommunities. Again, informeddecisions
arecrucial to ensurethat any interventionis not harmful to thesecommunitiesor interfaith
relations.
It is hopedthat this studywill complementthe few existingresourceson the political role of
the Christiancommunitiesin the contemporaryMiddle East. In orderto do so, an
interdisciplinaryapproachhasbeenadoptedin acknowledgement
of the contributionof
severaldisciplines,mostnotablypolitical science,internationalrelations,history, theology
andsociology. Oneof the key aimsis to adda new areaandcontextto the generaldebateon
therole of religion andpolitics in the twenty-firstcentury. The Middle Easthasfrequently
beenusedasa casestudyof the political role of Islam. By examiningnon-Muslim
communitiesin this environment,the researchhopesto indicateto what extentcenturiesof
Islamicrule haveaffectedthe ability of religiousleaders(of any faith) to influencepolitical
affairsin the region.
This studyis alsoexpectedto demonstratethe closelinks betweenthe political andcultural
rolesof the religious institutionsin this environment. In the Middle Eastregion,religious
identity is acknowledgedasan importantaspectof society. The churchescanbe considered
the
asthe guardiansof the faith andidentity of the community. In onesense,this emphasises
differencesbetweenChristiancommunitiesandthe Muslim majority. Yet, in many cases,a
senseof belongingto the individual state,in particularcloseattachmentto its history and
development,allows the churchto reinforcenationalidentity andloyalty to the
subsequent
state. Thus,it is necessaryto examinethe connectionbetweencommunalandnational

identity and the factorswhich contributeto the decisionof the churchhierarchyto promote

theselinks. Consequently,identity politics is a key researchareathat will be coveredin this


work.
Finally, it is hopedthat this studywill illustratethat Middle EastChristianscanbe

examinedwithout focusingon their statusasminorities. It is not intendedthat the research


shouldbe addedto minority studiesliterature. As will be detailedin the literaturereview
below, severalworks haveusedthis approach. While this may be useful in depictingthe
problemsfacedby someChristians,it doesnot allow an adequateexplorationof the
attachmentto the nation stateascitizenswhich is held by many Christians. Anothermajor
problemwith the minoritiesapproachis that the conceptis extremelycontroversialin the
on the definition. Chitham.
region. This is partly dueto difficulties in reachingconsensus
definesa minority asa "group of peoplewho arein someway different from anddominated
by the peoplearoundthem".4 This vaguedescriptionwould certainlyincludethe Christians
of the Middle East. However,the term tendsto havea moreovert political meaningin the

region.The minority discourseis oftenperceivedasharmful to nationalinterestasemphasis


on religiousidentity canundermineothercollectiveidentitiesandalsoinvite interference
from outsideinterests. Furthermore,many Christianswould alsoreject the minority term

becauseit doesnot give adequaterecognitionto their historicalinvolvementin the region and


senseof belongingto the nationstate. Consequently,in this work, the Christiansof the
selectedcasestudiesaredescribedas"communities"not "minorities". This indicatesthat
they aredifferent from the group(s)in the countryor regionwhich canbe consideredthe
majority but work within the nationalframeworkto attaintheir political rights ascitizens,
ratherthan seekingdistinctiverights asminorities.

Key Definitions

Before commencing this study, it is necessaryto clarify key definitions. Firstly, one must
determine what Eastern Christianity means. Initially, these churches were created
as a
consequenceof the spreadof the gospel from Jerusalemafter the death of Christ. The
division of the Roman Empire in 395 into two parts had a similar effect on the universal
5
church. The See of Rome was recognised as the head of the church in the Western Empire.
In the East, three seeswere influential - Alexandria, Antioch and Constantinople, the latter
becoming predominant as it was also the seatof the emperor. Consequently, the term Eastern
Christianity refers to the numerous branchesof the Christian faith that can be traced from the
churches formed within the historical borders of the Byzantine Empire. This includes
denominations on both sides of the theological divide after the Council of Chalcedon in 45 1.
Two of the communities associatedwith specific Eastern Christian rites are the focus of this
thesis - the Coptic Orthodox and the Maronites. Although the historical origins of these
groups will be traced in the next chapter, it is helpful to provide a brief overview of the
contemporary situation. The term Copt merely refers to the national identity of this
community as it is derived from the Greek for Egypt - aigyptos.6 According to the
government census,roughly 8% of the Egyptian population are Copts (five - six million).
This issue has proven controversial as academicresearchsuggeststhat they are only % of the
population while expatriates claim probably inflated statistics of 15-20%. Regardlessof the
exact amount, there is no doubt that the Copts are the largest Christian community in the
Middle East. They reside in all of the Egyptian regions and although there is a high
concentration of Copts in Assiut and Minya provinces in Upper Egypt, they are not a majority
in any area. Copts are still located in rural areasbut many have been affected by the trend in

Egyptian society of migration to the cities. Furthermore, Copts are found in all social
classes. Hence, in these ways, there are no obvious differences between Egyptian Copts and
Muslims. However, a distinct Coptic identity remains strong. According to Pennington,
"being a Copt is a characteristic virtually nobody who is born one casts aside'.97 This identity
is often accentuatedby using obvious Christian names and the tattooing of a cross on the right
wrist. There is only one communal institution which includes the entire Coptic community
and that is the subject of this study- the Coptic Orthodox Church. Itcanbetermeda
national church in the sensethat the vast majority of Egyptian Christians belong to it and
there are few adherentsoutside the country who are not of Egyptian heritage.
As with the Coptic community, there is wide debate over the actual size of the Maronite
community in Lebanon. The only official figures available for all the Lebaneseconfessions
are from the 1932 census. It is estimated that the Maronite community has declined to
8
largest
is
longer
in
(around
600,000)
Lebanon.
22%
the
confessional group
and no
around
Yet due to the historic relationship between the Maronites and Mount Lebanon, it would be
expected that they will continue to have a significant interest and influence on national affairs.
Unlike Egypt, there are areasin Lebanon that can be identified as predominantly populated by
members of specific groups. This was reinforced by events during the civil war which led to
the division between so-called "Muslim" West Beirut (although Lebanesefrom all faiths
continued to live there) and "Christian" East Beirut. While Maronite Christians can be found
in many parts of Lebanon, they tend to be concentratedin residential areassuch as Achrafiyeh
including
Mount
Lebanon
in
in
Gemmayze
Beirut
traditional
the
towns and
of
refuge
and
and
Metn.
Similar
Copts,
Jbeil
Kesrouan,
in
following
districts
to
the
the
and
villages
Maronites can be found in both rural and urban areasand arc spreadover a wide range of
is
based
In
the
on religious affiliation, it is
political system
a country where
social classes.
Church
Again,
Maronite
is
identity
the
the
that
strong.
confessional
remains
unsurprising

only credible institution which can unite the entire community. Although it is intricately
linked to Lebanon, it does not enjoy dominance over the vast majority of the Lebanese
Christian population as exercised by the Coptic Orthodox Church. Instead, several other
Christian communities of varying strengths, are found in Lebanon e.g. Greek Orthodox,
Greek Catholic and the Armenian Apostolic Church. However, the Maronite Church has
long been the defender of the community and it is this role which will be examined in later
chapters.

Approaches to the study of Christianijy in the Middle East

Researchmaterial on this field can generally be divided into the following categoriesthose which addressthe church from a historical and/or theological aspect,those which look
at the community in the context of Christian-Muslim relations, often set within a minority
discourse and finally, a small but growing proportion which analyse the political role of
Christian institutions in the region. Three important sourceswhich mostly fulfil all these
categoriesby providing a general survey of Christianity in the Middle East can be identified.
Jean-PierreValognes in Vie et Mort des Chr6tiens d'Orient (1994) provides an in-depth
discussion on the general situation facing Christians in the region by using a helpful structure
which allows him to focus not only on the different denominations but also on the
communities in each country. The edited volume by Andrea Pacini, Christian Communities
in the Arab Middle East: the Challenge of the Future (1998) offers an overview of the
Christian communities in the entire region, identifying several challenges including the
political situation, socioeconomic developments and emigration. Another edited work by
Anthony O'Mahony, Eastern Christianily: Studies in Modem HistoIL Religion and Politics
(2004) accentuatesthe need for an interdisciplinary approachto this subject in order to

achieve a true understanding of the situation of contemporary Christianity in the Middle East
today.
Material from the first category mentioned above focusesprimarily on the history, faith and
rite of the different churches within Eastern Christianity. On the Coptic Orthodox Church,
the numerous works authored by the late Otto Meinardus cover in great detail the life of the
church and its members e.g. Christian Egypt: Faith and Life (1970), Christian Egypt:
Ancient and Modem (1977) and Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christiani1y (1999). Matti
MoosainTheMaronitesinHisto

(1986) presentsa detailed account of the relationship

between the church and the community throughout the ages. The second category examines
the attempt of Christian communities to participate in the politics and society of the region.
The Copts in EMtian

Politics (1986) by B. L Carter depicts the various approaches

full
Muslim
their
Coptic
to
this
by
the
aim
of
equality
with
achieve
community
employed
Nationalism:
The
Rise
Fall
Christian
in
Lebanese
Phares
Walid
and
of an
compatriots.
Ethnic Resistance(1995) explores the activities of the Maronites - the only Christian
demise
from
their
to
in
the
to
until
political
state
power
the
access
region achieve
community
Christian
literature,
In
the
communities are perceived as
some
civil war period onwards.
minorities living in a region dominated by another religion - Islam. For example, the study
in
State
Minorities
Gabriel
Ben-Dor,
the
the Arab World
by
Ofra
Bengio
and
and
edited
(1999) includes a chapter each on the Coptic Orthodox in Egypt and the Maronites in
Lebanon.
The final category examines the relationship between the churches and their relevant
hierarchy
in
the
that
exercise temporal as well as
church
some cases,
communities, suggesting
CentuOL-Lon
in
Eg3mt:
Modem
Muslims
the
In
Christians
versus
spiritual authority.
Struggle for Coptic Egualit (2003), SS Hasan provides a fascinating account of the
by
influence
Church
illustrating
the
Orthodox
Coptic
the
enjoyed
church
contemporary

hierarchy, especially Pope Shenouda,over the community. The unpublished Ph.D thesis by
David Kerr, The Temporal Authori! y of the Maronite Patriarchate 1920-1958 :A Study in the
Relationship of Religious and Secular Power (1973) makes crucial observations about the
political role of the Maronite patriarch which are still relevant today. While works on these
issuesare increasing, this area of study is still severely under researched. The majority of the
literature on these communities in the present day tends to focus on specific aspectse.g.
communal relations in Egypt or the consequencesof the Lebanesecivil war on the Maronites.
On the whole, referencesto the role of the church hierarchy in the community dwell on the
spiritual dimension. Due to the sensitive nature of the subject area, some sources lose
credibility as a result of partiality towards a certain group or vision of the future situation of
the Christian communities.
This study aims to redresssome of these gaps. Firstly, it is hoped to achieve an accurate
depiction of the situation of Christian communities in the Middle East, specifically the Coptic
Orthodox and Maronites. In order to do so, the role of the church hierarchy must be
analysed. This work seeksto develop further the contributions of the literature placed in the
third category, focusing primarily on the political role of the patriarch in these Eastern
Christian traditions. Recognition of fundamental changessuch as emigration and the growth
in
has
been
Furthermore,
little
be
diaspora
there
this
the
context.
also
examined
must
of
attempt to connect this example of politicised religion to the wider issues concerning relations
between religion and politics. By using this as a theoretical framework, it is hoped that
Christianity in the Middle East can be rightfully introduced in to this ongoing debate.

Backaround to the Stud

The discussionconcerningthe "appropriate"placeof religion in the political spherehas


ragedfor centuriesyet still fails to provide a clear-cutansweracceptableto all. Views are
variedanddivergent. Following the ideasinherentin the Enlightenmentwhich blamed
religiousinstitutionsfor the ruinousEuropeanwarsof the past,somestressthat religious
beliefsprove only to be destructive. Religion hasbeenrelegatedto the private sphereby
thosedeterminedto keepit fully separatefrom politics. In contrast,believersof many faiths
arguethat their religion providesguidancefor all aspectsof life including the political arena.
In somecasese.g. Islam,this is in the form of lawswhich mustbe adheredto. They also
in
involvement
loss
that
the
political affairs leadsto a growing tendency
suggest
of religious
to focuson individual gainsratherthanthe welfareof the entirecommunity,resultingin
inequality,violenceandlack of respectfor others.
Accordingto the main tenetsof the secularizationthesis,the socialsignificanceof religion
was expectedto declinewith the adventof modernization. As the modernizationprocesswas
regardedasuniversal,secularizationwould affect all countriesandregions. Yet, a glanceat
globalpolitics from the late twentiethcenturyonwardsdoesnot appearto correspondto this
view. A few selectexamplesincludethe 1979IranianIslamic Revolution,the US Christian
Right movementin the United States,the Hindu nationalistBharatiyaJanataPartywhich
formedthe Indian governmentfrom 1999until 2004andIslamic andJewishmilitants in the
Middle East. Thosewho hold that interactionbetweenreligion andpolitics leadsonly to
in
War
During
find
the
destruction
this
era.
post-Cold
of
evidence
plenty
can
violenceand
Northern
Ireland,
had
the Middle East,
have
g.
e.
connotations
religious
period,many conflicts
9
in
frequently
Sudan.
Actors
Kashmir
these
Bosnia,Kosovo, Chechnya,
conflicts
use
and
The
institutions
legitimation.
beliefs
useof an absolutemessage,
as
a
of
and
means
religious

10

the identification of the enemy as evil and the ability to motivate adherentsby appealing to a
divine authority can lead to prolonged conflict, justify inhumane acts and provide severe
obstaclesto lasting peace.
Yet not all involvement of religion in politics leads to conflict. Bruce suggeststhat moral
authority, lack of self-interest, use of symbolism and the ability to be "honest brokers", allow
10
They can
religious actors to make a positive contribution to the political environment.
inspire and in some caseslead the opposition against repressive and authoritarian states.
Liberation theology can be deemedan "extreme" illustration. A less controversial but
equally significant example is the Zimbabwean Bishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube who speaks
out publicly against the policies of PresidentRobert Mugabe. Hence in recent times,
religious institutions have clearly been involved in campaigns for democracy e.g. Catholicism
in Latin America and Poland while individuals have played key mediating roles including
11
Jnr.
Dr
Luther
King
Thegrowing
Mahatma Gandhi, Archbishop Tutu and
Martin
significance of human rights and social justice in the international arena- important elements
in many faiths - also ensuresthat religious actors feel compelled to participate in these
matters. Islamic movements stressthe importance of social justice and highlight the
suffering of fellow Muslims in conflict zones such as Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir, West Bank
12
Gaza.
Statementsfrom the Vatican, World Council of Churches and various national
and
issues
from
ranging
globalization to
political
churches offer a critical voice on contemporary
conflict. Although there is no guaranteethat other political actors will heed these appeals,
this still illustrates the willingness of religious institutions to undertake one of their traditional
it
discussion,
is
From
this
the
the
the
clear
weak.
concernsof
political roles articulation of
that the political role of religion is "double-edged" - it can be the source of division or in
13
integrate
contrast, serve to
society and uphold values. Casanovasummarisesthe
face,
its
Janus
"religion
as the carrier not only of
contradictory attributes of religion,
showed

11

exclusive, particularist, and primordial identities but also of exclusive, universalist, and
transcending ones".

14

In the geographical area selected for this study the Middle East the social significance of
religion remains strong in the twenty-first century.
Islarn remains influential

As the region is predominantly Muslim,

in the political systems of many states. In several countries, the

sharia (Islamic law) is enshrined in the constitution as a key source of legislation while in
Iran, clerics occupy several key positions in the political system. Islamist movements such as
the Muslim Brotherhood aim to participate in the electoral system while almost all political
actors emphasise their Islamic credentials in order to gain legitimacy.
also the birthplace of two other world faiths - Judaism and Christianity.
to be intricately linked with national politics in Israel.

Unsurprisingly

The Middle East is


Judaism continues
in a state which was

founded as a homeland for the Jewish people, religious parties have an influential role.

The

future of important Jewish sites such as the Temple Mount area has an impact on the peace
process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Regarding Christianity in the Middle East, any

in
holy
Jerusalem.
issues
is
the
to
places
concerning
political role
normally confined

In the

These
by
Vatican
Western
the
these
states.
and
several
past,
were addressed exclusively
in
denominations
different
joined
by
the
have
been
the
situated
of
representatives
actors
now
Holy Land.

However, the political role of Christianity in the region does not need to be

in
in
different
indigenous
the
Christian
The
states
to
this
communities
aspect.
restricted
region also interact with political actors.

By focusing on the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite

Christianity
demonstrate
intends
of
to
role
communities, this study
an alternative political
the Middle East. Before the political role of the two patriarchs can be explored, one must
examine theoretical approaches to the relationship between religion and politics.

12

in

Approaches to the study of Religion and Politics

The secularization thesis has long been the dominant theory in the social sciences in
conceptualising the relationship between religion and politics.

This approach can be divided

into two strands. According to the Weberian perspective, the exposure of religion to reason
erodes the power and influence of religious institutions.

My thesis concentrates on the

second strand which explains secularization as a consequence of functional differentiation.


Originating in the work of Durkheim, the loss of the social role of religious institutions due to
the fon-nation of specialized organizations would eventually lead to the decline of mass
participation in organized religion.

Karol Dobbelaere tenris this process "laicization" and

explores the impact this had on religious institutions in his article, "Secularization :A MultiDimensional Concept" (1981). While remaining a proponent of the functional differentiation
approach, he stressesthat laicization will not necessarily follow a uniforin pattern but may
Steve
has
Bruce
depending
the
context.
authored numerous books on
vary
on
cultural
secularization.

In Religion and Modernization (1992), he suggests that the social significance

of religion declines due to three aspects of the modernization process. These are social
differentiation, societalization and rationalization.

Similar to Dobbelaere, Bruce is also

willing to accept that in certain circumstances namely cultural defence and cultural transition,
religious institutions may retain short-term relevance. Expanding on this, Jose Casanova in
Public Religions in the Modem World (1994) examines the different sub-theories of the
secularization thesis, demonstrating that the deprivatization of religion is a recurrent theme
despite the secularization process.
However, traditional secularization theories have recently come under attack in the social
sciences. Global events highlight that religious values and organizations are still prominent
in many societies. Thus, several propositions have been developed to provide an explanation

13

for the continued role of religion in politics. The crisis of state thesis provides an explanation
for the apparent absenceof the secularization process in parts of the developing world.
Several stateshave delivered neither economic development nor meaningful political
participation.

In some cases,governmentshave failed in their basic duty to provide security

to their citizens. These problems are consideredto allow religious institutions to remain at
the heart of society. Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart in their influential contribution to this
field, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (2004), argue that there is a direct
correlation between feelings of insecurity and the significance of religious beliefs and
institutions. The effects of the globalization processon the developing world have also raised
questionsregarding the role of religion. It is argued that globalization stimulates local
identities and can revitalize religious institutions which are seento be the main representatives
of indigenous culture. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1998)
by Samuel Huntington is renowned for its claims that culture has become a major feature of
the post-Cold War era, leading to the predominance of civilizations primarily identified by
religious values at the potential expenseof the nation state. The economic rational choice
model can also contribute to this debate. Proponentsof this theory propose that the
modernization process is irrelevant concerning religious vitality.

In "A Supply-Side

Reinterpretation of the "Secularization" of Europe" (1994), Rodney Stark and Laurence


lannaccone argue that instead of a decline in demand, the significance of religious beliefs and
institutions varies due to changeson the supply-side. All four theories will now be examined
in relation to the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite communities. However, it is suggestedthat
this study will demonstratethat the crisis of state theory provides the most accurate
explanation for the political role of the church, symbolised through the office of the patriarch.

14

Theoretical Framework

Theojy One - The Secularization Thesis

In the social sciences,the secularizationthesishaslong beenregardedasthe predominant


theoryin explainingthe relationbetweenreligion andpolitics in modemsociety. Sincethe
1970s,confusionover the centralclaimsof this theoryhasresultedin strongcriticism.
However,it is by no meanscertainthat thereis a sharedconsensus
on what secularization
the dangersof approachingthe debateon the
theoryactuallyentails. Wilson emphasises
15
key
concepts. Casanovaattempts to distinguish
assumption that all participants agree on
between the concept of "secular" and the actual theory of secularization. He traces the
historical meaning from Canon Law where a religious person who returned to the world was
deemedsecular. Secularization was first used to describe the process of state control over the
money, land and wealth of the church after the Protestant Reformation. According to
Casanova,the term is now used when referring to the transferral of something from its
16
in
to
traditional position the religious sphere the secular sphere.
In his work exploring if one secularization paradigm exists or if there are several,
Tschannenconcludes that the key feature uniting all proponents of the theory is the belief that
differentiation of institutions has occurred.17 This proposition rests on the assumption that
in
involved
in
institutions
society e.g.
all
activities
almost
originally
were
religious
Due
health
to modernization, a
labour,
matters.
as well as spiritual
education,
governance,
form
institutions
to
laicization
and provide
secular
occurred which allowed new
process of
institution
field.
in
This
the
that
was left solely
as
an
church
meant
services one particular
with its primary duties i. e. attending to the spiritual needsof society rather than material ones.
According to Dobbelaere, "As a consequencereligion became an institution among other

15

institutions, and the Church an organisation among others".' 8 According to the Weberian
view, scientific knowledge in conjunction with industrialization and the modernization
processoffered the massesalternatives to the other-world explanations of events given by
religious leaders. Furthermore, Berger suggeststhat the Judeo-Christian religious tradition,
particularly Protestantism, actually encouragedthe secularization process as these faiths
distinguish the sacredsphere from the secular.19 The Protestant Reformation can be viewed
as extremely destructive to the political power of religion. This process undermined the unit,
destroyed
Church
the medieval Christian
the
the
and
as
a
result,
and
one
universal claims of
system. This desacralisedidea of the world allowed the two main spheresof modem society
20
The
Westphalian
dominance
the
to
of
religion.
at
expense
states
gain
and
markets
Settlement of 1648 aimed to end the destructive religious wars by adopting the principles of
21
The rise of the
state sovereignty and endorsing the separationof religion and politics.
from
local community to
the
of
social
relations
structure
modem capitalist economy changed
society where emphasiswas placed on the individual rather than collective. Bruce argues
that as religion draws its strength and resourcesfrom the community, the eclipse of the
22
in
Europe
By
has
the
century,
nineteenth
at least,
on
religion.
community
effect
an adverse
religious institutions were perceived as having lost their dominance in the economic, political
due
to this process of
Thus,
thesis
that
the
claims
core
secularization
and social spheres.
in
has
declined
the
authority
modem society.
of
religious
modernization,
social significance
Several other propositions are also associatedwith this theory. Casanovacategoriscs these
ideas into two subtheories- the decline of religious beliefs and practices and the privatization
belief
in
that when confronted with
Enlightenment
Inherent
the
thought
was
of religion.
rationalism, religion would lose its appeal to the individual. A combination of scientific
breakthroughs and mass education would provide alternative explanations for events rather
than those offered by religious institutions which tended to concentrateon mystic elements.

16

Following this approach, an accusation frequently levelled at the secularization approach is


that it assumesthat if religious beliefs remain at all, they will be extremely peripheral. There
is a notion of a so-called Golden Age that existed in medieval Europe when society could be
perceived as "religious" in contrast to today. An explanation given for this decline is the
close connection between church and statewhich adversely affected the legitimacy of the
religious institutions. The contrasting religious vitality in the United Statesis ascribed to the
historical separation of church and state. It is clearly difficult to find an agreed method to
measurethis apparent decline of religious beliefs and practices. Membership, Sunday School
attendanceand financial contributions are often used but there is no consensuson a ranking
system. It would appearthat, particularly in Western Europe, secularization has occurred in
what Bruce calls visible terms i. e. there has been a decline in involvement in religious
institutions, the influence of these institutions and the popularity and effect of religious
beliefs.23 Yet, a senseof religious identity still appearsto exist. However, as explored
earlier, in order for the secularization thesis to be valid, it is not necessaryfor religious beliefs
to become extinct, merely that religious institutions no longer have significant influence on
other spheres.
Casanova's final category is the privatization of religion i. e. its relegation to the private
sphere. Beyer defines this "to mean that traditional religion was now primarily the concern
24
its
"public"
This theory of
individual
lost
had
therefore
relevance".
much of
of the
and
by
by
has
been
the
of
a
public
role
apparent
resumption
religion.
challenged
privatization
Casanovasuggeststhat deprivatization is an equally valid possibility, where religion has
25
it.
A
to
to
the
major problem with the privatization
role
allocated
marginal
refused accept
theory is the assumption that the correct place of religion is in the private sphere. Drawing
freedom
because
is
Enlightenment
thought,
of conscience
religion seenas a private matter
on
is viewed as the first fundamental freedom immune from government intervention. The idea

17

of a clear separation between public and private is also a contentious issue. While this may
be possible in theory, it is much more difficult to attain in reality. Instead, all the spheres
tend to influence and affect each other, often sharing a symbiotic relationship. According to
Beyer, "institutions in the public spherehave privatized features and those in the private
26
have
sphere
public ones". However, many of the activities undertaken by religious
institutions tend to be campaigns in aid of "secular" causese.g. combating poverty, ending
conflict etc. Wilson suggeststhat this indicates that religious institutions have "given up on
27
different
to
to
these
prayer alone" and are willing
use a variety of means achieve
goals.
Involvement in the political spherealso affects the religious movement. As Casanovastates,
"The more religion wants to transform the world in a religious direction, the more religion
becomes entangled in "worldly" affairs and is transformed by the world". 28 Hence, this
increasedpublic role for religion can in fact, be seen as contributing towards secularization.
Once again, it is important to note that the secularization thesis does not assertthat
privatization of belief must occur or that it is irreversible.
Unsurprisingly, representativesof many of the world faiths have been amongst the main
critics of the secularization thesis. One point of contention is that key ideas are shapedby the
Enlightenment critique of religion. The overwhelming assumption of this period was that the
power of religious institutions would erode once their beliefs were exposed to reason.
Modernization tended to be equatedwith secularism and backward traditionalism with
religion. This approachwas continued by later thinkers such as Marx who described religion
by
to
the
"sigh
the
the
experienced
suffering
consolation
oppressedcreature" -a
as a
of
29
masses. Hence, most religions tend to reject aspectsof secularization which are traced
directly to the hostile ideas of some liberal thinkers.
Furthermore, although the secularization thesis may appearto provide an accurate account
does
in
in
Europe,
declining
this
the
not seem to have been
role of religion
political matters
of

18

replicated in other parts of the world. Yet as many believe that modernization has occurred
on a global scale, one would consequently expect the secularization process to be universal.
One of the faiths which challenge this assumption is Islam. Indeed, Zebiri statesthat
Muslims see secularism as a Christian/Western phenomenon. It is argued that some
characteristics of Christianity including monasticism, a clear division between the possessions
of God and Caesarand the division of the community into clergy or laity, combined with the
historical context of religious intolerance and hostility to intellectual discoveries has left it
susceptibleto the secularization process. In contrast, Islam is not affected by these problems
as the sharia the Islamic legal code regulates all aspectsof life and does not recognise the
30
Consequently, Muslims tend to reject any
separationof politics and religion.
in
includes
Yet
this
separation.
reality, this apparent duality of
modernization process which
religion and politics can be disentangled. Although the Prophet Mohammed establishedboth
follow
it
does
that these are the same
not
necessarily
religious and political communities,
31
be
Islamic
An-Naim
the
that
the
state
can
contested as it is not a
of
concept
entity.
argues
theocracy but instead the human interpretation of divine sources. "It is, rather, a human
32
Islamic history
attempt to apply religious values to political, social and economic affairs".
also shows a clear divide between political rulers and the caliphate, which was often
manipulated to suit the needsof rulers. If based solely on the belief that there is no
separation of religion and politics, claims that Islam unlike Christianity is not susceptible to
the secularization process may turn out to be mistaken. However, it is clear that this view is
is
frequently
in
held
Muslim
used to explain why the
and
society
widely
contemporary
secularization thesis seemsto be confined to the Christian West.
If, as the proponents of the secularization thesis believe, Christianity is powerless when
confronted by the secularization process, can there be any alternative to churches losing social
have
does
Judaism,
Christianity
Unlike
Islam
a rigid and coded
not
and
significance?

19

religious law that governs the conduct of believers. Instead, the teaching of Jesus,"Give to
Caesarwhat is Caesar's, and to God what is God's", (Matthew 22:2 1)33is seento indicate that
Christianity can co-exist with any political system as long as the practice of the faith is not
threatened. Furthermore, Bruce arguesthat the early Christian experience of persecution
34
Christianity
Roman
Empire
the
the
to
under
allowed
separation of church and state.
accept
Yet, not all branches of Christianity have sharedthe same experiencesas the Western
churches. Eastern Christianity underwent a very different historical process- one which
denied it political power but allowed it to remain a key aspect of identity for Middle East
Christians. Christianity in the Middle East enjoyed only a short period of power - when it
in
fourth
Empire
Roman
declared
the
the
the
century until the Arab
was
official religion of
35
Conquest in the early seventh century. Even during this time, the damaging theological
did
in
East
Middle
Christians
the
the
that
not associatetheir church with
splits meant
many of
the ruling Byzantine power. Instead, those opposedto the teachings of the Council of
Chalcedon were frequently persecuted. The Arab conquest effectively halted the ability of
Eastern Christianity to seekpolitical power as the new empire was based on another religion Islam. The separation from the Western church was so severethat Gregory III argues that
Middle East Christians could be called the Church of Islam, in the sensethat their historical
36
Islamic
Even
during
history
the
the
empires.
of
with
entwined
experience was very much
in
foothold
did
the
this
Christianity
Western
to
region,
a
not
able
regain
was
periods when
translate into political power for the Eastern churches. For example, during the Crusader era,
from
benefits
the change of
favoured
Rome
Christians
experiencedany
who
only those
37
history
Kingdoms
Crusader
that
the
The
the
meant
of
short-lived successof
rulers.
Christianity in the Middle East was essentially one of religious communities living under a
political system based on the values of another overtly political religion.

20

The millet system used by Islamic rulers to govern non-Muslims, allowed the Eastern
churchesto retain control over all aspectsof life for their communities. Individuals were
only recognised by the state through their belonging to a group. The ethnic groups
categorisedby their religion were defined as millet. The term strictly meant nation but did
38
have
instead
being
not
any political connotations,
used as an organisational structure.
Originally, three millet were formed - Muslim, Christian and Jewish. The patriarch was the
natural choice to be the head of the Christian group. However in keeping with the dhimmi
system, the Muslim millet was by far the dominant one. Eastern Christians never
experiencedthe absolute political power enjoyed by Westem Christianity in medieval Europe.
Even in the case of the Maronites who gained accessto political office, this was still in
coexistencewith Muslims. Thus, they had no possibility of attaining the extent of state
power acquired by the church in Europe and thus escapedthe consequentrevolt against the
church state system. There has been debatewithin the Christian communities over the
political role of the church hierarchy but the privatization of the Christian faith in the Middle
East did not occur as was widely experiencedin the West. Instead, patriarchs from some
traditions were able to retain aspectsof civil authority over their communities e.g. jurisdiction
in
for
the
the
as
spokesman
group
representing
and
recognition
over personal status courts
their interests to the ruling authorities.
The uneven process of modemisation in the Middle East has not been accompanied by a
clear separation of religion and politics. Concerning the two casestudy countries, certainly
Both
be
defined
Lebanon
Egypt
theocracies.
goverriments exist separately
as
can
neither
nor
from religious institutions and mostly consist of lay figures. Clearly, religious leaders,
in
be
the
ruling
political
within
system
categorised
as
actors
cannot
of
affiliation,
regardless
the sensethat they are not invited to take policy decisions on all goveniment matters. Any
leader
because
involvement
takes
their
of a religious community.
as
place
of
role
political

21

Yet, it is doubtful if this representsa secularstateandsocietyasexistsin the West. For


example,the Egyptianconstitutionclarifiesthat the Islamicsharia law is "the principle
39
is
legislation"
Islam
the official statereligion. The governmentalso
sourceof
andthat
appointskey Islamic representatives
suchasthe GrandSheikhof al-Azhar(an extremely
importantandprestigiouspostin SunniIslam) andthe Mufti of Egypt andfinancesIslamic
institutions. In Lebanon,the independentstatehasbeenunableto fostera senseof Lebanese
identitywhich is robustenoughto overcomeconfessionalallegiance. Governmentand
public servicepostscontinueto be allocatedaccordingto confessionratherthan ability.
Clearlyin this region,the socialsignificanceof religion hasremainedsteadfast. On the other
hand,the representativerole of churchleaderswas clearlychallengedin the twentiethcentury.
In Egypt,the successof the Wafd in the political systemadverselyaffectedthe political
in
fully
Christians
to
the political
Lebanon,
In
the
participate
able
were
powerof
church.
in
Yet
the
region.
whenthesesosystemandwere allocatedpolitical postsunprecedented
deprivatization
failed,
"secular"
of
occurred,
an
element
called
meansof representation
allowing the Coptic OrthodoxandMaronitechurchesto rejuvenatetheir political role.
The secularizationthesisis still helpful whenexaminingthe political role of religion in the
Middle East. It canbe arguedthat the modernizationprocessis still ongoingin the region.
In the West,the sameprocessevolvedgraduallyover manycenturiesuntil a clearly secular
stateemerged. Accordingto Thomas,oneof the conditionsrequiredto achievethis was to
dispossess
Christianityof its public features. "This inventionof religion asa setof privately
held doctrinesor beliefs,was necessaryfor the rise of the modemstateaswell asthe
40
developmentof modeminternationalsociety". In the developingworld, modernisationand
fact
The
it
has
that
happen
to
overnight.
almost
consequentlysecularizationwas expected
in
the
it
The
does
of
religion
that
political
presence
continual
occur.
will
never
not
not mean
by
the globalizationthesis
(as
backlash
is
to
to
suggested
modernization
sphere ascribed a

22

discussedbelow). In this sense,no region or religion is perceived as immune to the process.


Again Thomas argues that after this transitional period to a modem society when all the
benefits of modernization are experienced,Islam, just like Christianity, will undergo changes
41
become
This changein environment would also impact on the
and eventually,
privatized.
traditional temporal power of the Christian churches in the region. In this context, a secular
political system would be able to fulfil all the needsof the population, leaving religious
institutions to concentrate exclusively on spiritual matters. Another possibility is that the
modernization process in this region has resulted in enough differentiation of the spheresto
deprive religion, notably Islam of the political power enjoyed by religious leaders in the past.
Religious institutions have been challenged in the political and economic arenas. As outlined
above,the decline of religious beliefs or the privatization of religion are not compulsory
componentsof the secularization thesis. There is no reasonwhy one society which has
experiencedsecularization must necessarily resemble another society in the same position.
This leads to the first hypothesis.

Using the secularization thesis, it might be expectedthat the political role ofthe patriarch
would decline with a corresponding increase in the benefits derivedfrom the modernization
process. If these benefits have not been widely experienced,the secularising impact is likely
to be minimal, thus allowing the patriarch to retain his historical role as the spiritual and
civil representative ofthe community.

Theojy Two - The "Crisis of State" Thesis

Religion is often perceived as becoming politicised when there is a crisis of state.


Increasing awarenessof the limits of modernisation and subsequentdisenchantment has

23

resulted in questions of meaning and identity being given as much importance as material and
economic issues. This affects both the developed and developing world.

To many, Western

society has become synonymous with violence, poverty, injustice and the breakdown of the
family.

In fact, Huntington states that the West is seen as "materialistic,

corrupt, decadent,

42
immoral".
To those in the developing world, this situation is often ascribed to the
and
consequences of secularisation.

This argument states that in their societies, religion acts to

unite the community and provide social order, avoiding the problems experienced in the
West. 43

Yet, it is clear that the developing world also suffers from a crisis of state although this
takes a different form from those experiencedin more developed countries. The failure to
deliver development and democracy is widespread,particularly in Muslim countries.
Economic development has failed to keep up with population growth, leading to increasing
domestic inequality. The state tends to be bureaucratic, inefficient and unable to respond to
theseproblems. Modernization has not resulted in the expectedbenefits. According to
Murden, "For far too many Middle Easterners,modernization meant an urban experience of
44
few
housing
prospects". This social
and services, and
poverty, underemployment, poor
Instead,
failure
has
been
to
these states
the
provide
political
participation.
crisis
coupled with
are often characterised.by authoritarianism, patrionionialisin and corruption.
Norris and Inglehart expand on these ideas in their hypothesis of secularization based on
Existential Security.45 They argue that individuals expect the provision of "human security"
to be a key achievement of the state. Human security is defined as the lack of immediate risk
to personal safety e.g. violence, natural/mamnadedisasters,diseaseand poverty. In poorer
However,
in
these
threats.
to
the
vulnerable
are
of
population
proportion
states,a significant
in
improve
the
vulnerable
most
groups
even
as
post-industrial societies, conditions greatly
While
by
health
economic
to
services.
and
social
extent
society are covered some

24

development is a prerequisite to attain this level of human security, industrialization alone is


not enough. Without the transition to a post-industrial phase, socioeconomic inequalities
demonstrate
is
Inglehart
Norris
that
there
threat
to
a
stability.
and
posean extremely visible
decline
in
immediate
between
the
the
and
of
religiosity
a
generalcorrelation
removal of
risks
specific society. This fits into the Weberian view of the secularisinginfluence of wealth.
However, this trend can also be halted or reversedif threats re-emerge e.g. natural disasters.
Applying this approach to the Middle East, most countries have experienced aspectsof
heighten
it
has
However,
to
and
served
proved an uneven process
modernization.
socioeconomic inequality. The perception of vulnerability remains strong whether from
have
While
frequently,
the
process
may
a mixed
modernization
poverty.
violence or, more
The
transition to a
has
the
phase.
the
postmaterialist
not
reached
clearly
record,
region
has
individual
than
the
the
community
not
rather
capitalist economy concentrating on
draw
from
As
in
West.
tends
to
the
the
to
the
support
religion
same extent as
occurred
in
this
to
it
is
that
significance
enjoy
social
religion continues
community,
unsurprising
institutions
by
ideologies
In
religious
to
regimes,
the
championed
numerous
society.
contrast
have remained steadfastand provided enduring values. According to Dark, "Religious
beliefs, and values are usually among those most deeply held, and most formative in the
46 Disillusionment with the products of modernization can be
individuals"
actions of
.
East.
have
in
Middle
People
behind
the
key
factor
the
revival
religious
general
regarded as a
turned to an indigenous and authentic identity which offers answersto the many concerns
faced by them. Throughout this Muslim majority region, the responseof many Muslims has
been to support religious movements which proclaim that Islam can provide a solution to
these ills. The successof these organisations in fulfilling the duties of the state e.g. social
is
to
the
alternative
viable
that
as
a
seen
religion
politicised
and welfare services ensures
existing discredited policies.

25

Thecrisesdetailedaboveaffect all citizensof the region,regardlessof religious affiliation.


For Christians,the failure of Arab nationalismto deliver its promisesoncein powerwas
especiallysignificant,asthey hadlong dependedon this routeto attain equality. Instead,
little progresstowardsfull citizenshipwasmade. Coupledwith the failure to provide
materialbenefits,Christianbackingfor the ideologythey hadlong supportedbeganto wane.
Thegrowth of political Islam asthe main oppositionto existingregimesheightened
perceptionsof vulnerability, e.g. increasedcommunaltension,the potentialcurtailmentof
rightsunderan Islamic regime. With few alternatives,Christians,like their Muslim
compatriots,havealsoturnedto a religiousinstitutionto providecomfort during this difficult
period. While certainlynot a returnto Christianityasthe Middle EasternChristian
populationhasalwaysretainedits religiousidentity, it is evidentthat somecommunities
expectthe churchto adopta pro-activerole regardingtheir concerns. Aware of the situations
facedby their adherents,manyof the Easternchurcheshavebeenableto stepinto the vacuum
left by the failure of the stateto meetthe needsof its people. On a practicallevel, church
organisations,like Islamistmovements,havecontinuedto provide socialservicesfor their
communitiese.g. schools,hospitals,employmentaid andcharity. The lack of political
for
leaders
has
to undertakea more overt
opportunity
church
an
representation alsooffered
of their communityto the governmentand
political role by actingasthe main representatives
in
does
have
in
increased
Eastern
The
the same
not
churches
politics
role of
society general.
aimsasIslamic revival movements. Ratherthanwishing to seizepower or changethe
fundamentalvaluesof society,the coreaim of this political activismis to articulatethe rights
in
Middle
East
have
Similarly,
the
Christian
the
the
churches
a
communities.
andneedsof
more ambiguousrelationshipwith the WestthanIslam, especiallythosecommunitiesthat
Catholic
Christianity
Eastern
links
Western
the
churches.
e.
g.
share
with

26

Regarding the selected case studies, it is


clear that both Egypt and Lebanon are experiencing
crisesof state which have particular resonancefor the Coptic and Maronite
communities
respectively. The inability of the Egyptian government to tackle socioeconomic
problems
combined with the general feeling among Copts of alienation from political participation are
factorswhich can be seen as contributing towards the strength of the Coptic Orthodox Church
asthe leading communal institution. Under Patriarch Shenouda,various trends can be noted
the
expansion of the church social network, emphasison Coptic identity and participation
confined to church activities. Feelings of insecurity are also heightened with each new
incident of Christian-Muslim tension. Unlike Egypt, Lebanon has never enjoyed what could
be termed a strong state. In fact, Lebanon experiencedthe ultimate crisis of state civil war.
Although the Maronite Church as an institution was also perceived as weak during the
conflict years, unlike the state, it has recovered its legitimacy under Patriarch Sfeir. While it
has expandedinto social work, the main role of the Maronite Church in the post-war era has
been to provide guidance to the apparently leaderlessChristian, especially Maronite
community. Ongoing instability in the country since the assassinationof former Prime
Minister Rafiq al-Hariri has increasedfeelings of vulnerability especially amongst Christians
who have been the primary targets of the seriesof bomb attacks in Lebanon during 2005.
The Lebaneseconfessional system also servesto accentuatereligious ties in the political
sphere,thus ensuring that religious identity remains a key factor.

According to the crisis ofstate approach, in this context ofa 'failed environment", it would
be expected that Christian institutions wouldfill the vacuum left by the state by addressing
Christian
identity
through
theirpositions
of
asprotectors
spiritual andpractical concerns
andprovidersofservices.

The easing ofthe multiple political, socioeconomic and security

27

crises affecting the region would be likely to create an environment where secular lay
leadership could re-emerge at the expenseof thepatriarch.

Theojy Three - The Globalization Thesis

The ongoing multilayered process of globalization can also be held accountable for the
continuanceof politicised religion, especially in the developing world.

Scholte defines

detached
from
became
"processes
relatively
globalization as
whereby many social relations
territorial geography, so that human lives are increasingly played out in the world as a single
47
from
distinguishes
is
deterritorialization
It
this
trend
globalization
which
of
place".
is
It
internationalization.
forms
closely connectedto the modernization thesis
previous
of
technology
due
to
the
and
will
capitalism
of
that
spread
change
suggesting
radical social
including
in
impact
in
These
society
all
areas
of
type
processes
result a new
of society.
has
been
the
The
nation
state
severely
of
authority
exclusive
economic, political and cultural.
challenged by the global economy and the widespread availability of communication and
information technology. Non-state actors are able to take part in areaspreviously reserved
for the state including not only healthcarebut also high politics such as war and peace.
Furthermore, the abundanceof transnational organizations is claimed to restrict the
independenceof the nation state. The globalization processappearsto have heightened and
highlighted the inequality gap both within countries and between different areasof the world.
In the developing world, the pursuit of market capitalism often destroys local economies and
illustrates the inability of governments to pursue policies that aid their citizens. There is also
imperialism
form
Western
just
is
of
and
another
widespread concern that globalization really
hostility
The
towards
the
identities
indigenous
some
of
cultures.
to
and
threat
poses a severe
ills associatedwith globalization - both material e.g. unemployment, wage cuts and cultural

28

e.g. influx of Western products and lifestyle - meansthat the periphery in this globalised
world tries to respond to these challengesby turning to institutions which are seen as the
opposite to the dangerousWestern influence and instead representtheir indigenous culture.
Frequently, religious movements undertake this role.
Globalization has had a major impact on the ability of religious movements to play a more
public role. It encouragesmultiple identities. This allows a member of a specific faith
community to accentuatethis identity while remaining loyal to the nation state. These links
can strengthen weak statesby connecting them to powerful networks. In other cases,
religious movements will be regarded as a rival to the state. This can lead to open
competition with the state or compel the government to use religious institutions to maintain
legitimacy for their rule. The ability of religion to provide a collective identity as well as the
universal appeal of many faiths, ensuresthat religious communities are one of the oldest
transnational actors. Allegiance and activity is on a global scale rather than confined within
specific territorial boundaries. Examples include the Vatican, Islamic organizations e.g.
Islamic Conference, religious NGOs and different denominations of world faiths.
Religious movements have also been key beneficiaries of some of the major tools of
globalization - communications and information technology. It is this element of the
globalization process which clearly distinguishes it from other historical eras. In the twentyfirst century, developments in transport have made frequent travel possible for many while the
information revolution has ensuredthat through television and the internet, events in one part
dispersed
in
in
by
"real-time"
the
while
region
groups
of
citizens another
world are viewed
can keep instantly in touch by electronic mail and internet chat sites. People quickly become
for
from
fate
their
the
the
call
a
response
and
co-religionists
world
aware of
of
around
fellow
Muslims
from
international
to
their
Discussing
aid
appeals
actors.
national and
believers in conflict zones such as Palestine, Bosnia and Chechnya, Piscatori assertsthat we

29

48 Globalization has not only


havewitnessed "the raising of the umma consciousnesSii.
allowed religious groups to maintain a collective identity no matter where its adherentsare
locatedbut in fact, often served to revitalise the entire community. Religious movements
have adaptedtheir methods to gain from such technology. For example, the Christian Right
in the United Statesis renowned for its televangelism. Many Islamist movements use
electronic communications to maintain contact with scatteredfollowers. Even groups which
internet
in
"Golden
Age"
the
to
tend
to
the
resources
such
as
advocate
return a
use modem
their attempt to achieve this aim. In the developing world, religious movements have
increasingly been seento provide a voice for the marginalised - those in society who have not
bring.
is
Thomas
"It
benefits
to
that
that
the
states
globalization was expected
experienced
arguedthat global resurgenceof religion is more about increasing the political power of
into
"religion"
bringing
than
Politi&9.49
marginalised communities rather

Anothermajor impactof globalizationon religion hasbeenthe growing awarenessof the


importanceof culture. Theprocessresultsin a movetowardsuniversalismyet also
"interpenetration
it
is
the
Robertson
two-fold
that
process,
a
states
accentuates
particularism.
50
The
the
the
of
universalism".
and
particularization
of
universalizationof particularism
belief that oneglobal culturewould emergehasso far provedto be utopianandinstead,local
is
Religion
have
been
to
often a coreelementof a specific
reinvigorated.
culturesappear
indigenous
illustrate
been
it
frequently
to
has
developing
In
an
the
used
world,
culture.
heritageto justify anti-colonialstrugglesfor independence.Jurgensmeyer
suggeststhat in
Muslim countries,Islam is regardedasa "culturally liberatingforce" which contributed
51

In
independence.
the
predominantreactionof
to
general,
achieving
greatly successfully
has
been
to
by
the
to
the
process
act as
globalization
raised
challenges
religiousmovements
the defenderof the specificculture.

30

This is mainly due to the perception that indigenous cultures are under threat from a new
Western onslaught - one which posesmore long-term damagethan the traditional methods of
colonialism - invasion and occupation. Through television, tourism, films and music, the
ability to maintain separateidentities is greatly challenged. The growth in the international
human rights discourse adds to the belief that the West is continually intervening in affairs of
sovereign states in other regions. As the globalization processoriginated in the West, many
non-western societies have felt unable to distinguish between modernization and
Westernization and frequently view it as yet another aspectof imperialism. Disenchantment
with the costs (especially cultural) of the material benefits of globalization has become a
factor in the rejection of Westernization and the search for a more authentic culture. A
concerted effort has been made to resist Western cultural hegemony. Religion can emphasise
a collective identity by dividing society into insiders and outsiders. Another argument
frequently used is that the so-called moral decay of the West has been prevented elsewhere
due to fidelity to religious values. In some cases,this has been ascribed to the superiority of
the other religion by its followers e.g. Muslims commenting on the role of Islam. Although
contradictory to the above argument, cultural relativism has also been used by the ruling elite
of particular cultures as part of their resistanceto Western universalism. They highlight their
different religious experiencesto justify values which are different from those respectedby
the West e.g. a particular view of human rights. For example, some Muslim countries claim
to derive their values from the sharia - Islamic law. Western values are perceived as rooted
"
in
in its secular heritage and applicable only that region.

There are certainly some

ideas
justify
leaders
to
in
Some
these
this
repression within their
use
weaknesses
argument.
state while there is also debate regarding the origins of so-called religious traditions. In the
Islamic case,many values held can be traced to the traditional heritage of each region rather
than the actual tenets of the faith. However, it is certain that these claims are widely

31

respectedin the specific regions. Religion has been able to reassertitself in the identity
struggles which are being experiencedin this era of globalisation. This has led commentators
such as Kepel to claim that, perhapscontrary to what was initially expected, globalization has
in fact stimulated the public role of religion and that what he terms the "revenge of God" can
be viewed as a side effect of modernization.53 However, others including Bruce regard this
role as protector of a specific culture as a short-term phenomenonwhich will decline once the
threat has either conquered or been defeated.54 While this may indeed be the case,the
struggle certainly appearslikely to be ongoing in the near future.
A key work regarding the relationship between religion and culture is Huntington's Clash of
Civilizations.

This influential thesis suggeststhat culture is the main distinction between

societies in the post Cold War era. Thus, the power of nation stateswill increasingly be
directed towards a wider culture i. e. they will act as "agents of Civilizations". 55
Consequently, realignment in international alliances will occur to reflect these changes.
Huntington divides the world into civilizations including Western, Islam, Confucian and
Orthodox. While some of his categorieshave been criticised, the above mentioned do appear
to give credenceto this theory. What is certain is that the specific religious heritage in these
regions can be seento have influenced society and politics. Consequently, this will
frequently result in confrontational relations, particularly as co-operation within civilizations
increases. Huntington suggeststhat this will include "civilizational rallying" when members
of one civilization aid their coreligionists who reside within another civilizational group. An
example is the aid given by some Muslim statesand organisations to their coreligionists
in
Lebanon,
Bosnia,
Chechnya
Palestine,
in
as
such
engaged conflicts against non-Muslims
56
its
According
traditional ties to a
Kashmir.
to
this
maintain
approach,religion will
and
leading
in
take
the
the
can
a
civilizations,
role in
case
of
non-Western
particular culture, and
the struggle to assertan authentic culture separatefrom the West.

32

Huntington's approach tends to see each civilization as homogenouswith conflict occurring


in torn stateswhich are split between different civilizations.

For example, he describes the

belonged
different
fault
line
to
in
Lebanon
the
participants
a
war
where
civil war
as
57
does
in
East
Middle
Christianity
However,
West
Islam.
the
the
not
and
civilizations naturally fall into one civilization.

Catholic and Protestant rites tend to identify with the

West, while others, particularly the Oriental and Orthodox churches could be viewed as part
of the Orthodox civilization.

It is also unclear whether the Eastern Churches find outside

Western
like
Churches
their
Eastern
helpful.
The
oriented
and
are not necessarily
support
58
identity
from
West.
the
Muslim neighbours, are keen to keep an authentic cultural
separate
It can be argued that on matters of culture, some Eastern Christians actually identify with the
59
it
is
Thus,
historical
Islamic civilization as they sharethe same
possible that
experiences.
their religious identity as Christians can co-exist with their cultural attachmentsto the Arab
from
different
In
from
the
culture.
a
than
co-religionists
aid
requiring outside
world, rather
in
Christian
behalf
the
intervened
have
Western
communities
of
supposedly on
powers
past,
but
"civilizational
Huntington's
be
to
This
rallying"
of
representative
region.
would appear
diaspora
is
likely
to
communities rather than states.
occur amongst
now more
Clearly, religious identity has maintained its importance in the Middle East, regardless of
the specific affiliation.

In Egypt, loyalty to the Coptic Orthodox Church while not

be
the
the
loyalty
incompatible
to
the
being
expense
as
at
of
can
seen
state
with
necessarily
Likewise,
Maronite
failing
the
is
the
community.
of
needs
as
state which generally perceived

Maronite
has
Christian)
the
Muslim
(both
from
allowed
also
the
and
ruling elite
alienation
Churchto challengethe authorityof the state. Although both denominationsareclosely
due
dispersal
to
the
be
transnational
termed
they
of
cannow
connectedto a specificcountry,
followers to all areasof the globe. As will be exploredin ChapterSix, diasporagroupsmake
technological
The
highlight
recent
their
of
to
use
cause.
useof modemcommunications

33

advanceshasallowedthesecommunitiesto retainties with the homechurch. Both churches


haveconcentratedefforts on electronicresources. Eachpatriarchatehasits own website
providingthe latestinformationon the activitiesof the hierarchy. Churchesand
organisationsboth at homeandabroadare encouragedto developwebsites. It is also
recognisedthat using suchtechnologyhelpsto maintaininterestamongstthe youth.
An increasein the public role of religion in the Middle Eastwould seema plausible
responseto both the socioeconomicandculturalimpactof globalization. This is likely to
affectChristiansaswell asMuslims. Religiousinstitutionscanprovide a senseof identity
andbelonging. Transnationalbelongingalsobecomesimportantascommunitiesseekto
acquirestrongerfriendsto help safeguardtheir existence. This could eitherbe individual
statessuchasthe United Statesor diasporagroups. In somecases,this apparent
identificationwith the Westcould leadto friction with both the ruling authoritiesandsociety.

Using the above approach, it would be expectedthat the backlash to the globalization process
would allow the church to lead the responseof the community as it is thefocalpoint of
communal identity. The tools ofthe communications revolution would also serve to revitalise
the church, allowing the patriarch to retain control ofthe entire community regardless of
geographical location. Accordingly, the identification ofthe church with the indigenous
durable
to
temporal dimension
thepatriarch
the
sustain
a
culture of
community would enable
to his position.

Theory Four - The Rational Choice Thesis

The final theoryto be examinedis the rational choiceapproach. This methodassumesthat


life
in
the
their
choices. According
as
other
samemanner
peoplechoose
religiousaffiliation

34

to Iannaccone,people "approach all actions in the same way, evaluating costs and benefits
960
benefits'
When making a decision concerning their
and acting so as to maximise their net
.

involvement in a religious institution, an individual would take account of the "input"


required, especially the amount of time and money neededto become an acceptedmember of
the group. Participation is also affected by constraints. These could be the extent of
sufficient financial resourcesor knowledge and intellectual understanding required to
successfully integrate into the religious community. Finally, the individual would also
consider the potential rewards available after joining the group. These incentives cover
benefits in this life e.g. senseof belonging, spiritual comfort, fellowship and promises
61
institution)
(which
depending
This
the
chosenreligious
concerning the afterlife
vary
on
.
fierce
led
debate among sociologists.
has
describe
language
to
the
to
a
sacred
use of market
Proponents of using the rational choice approachto explain the behaviour of religious
institutions, who include Stark, Bainbridge, Finke and Iannaccone,have declared that it is a
has
Their
discredited
thesis.
to
approach
attracted
secularization
serious challenger a
both
Inglehart
Norris
from
Herbert,
the
Bruce,
others
who
question
and
amongst
criticism
methodology used and its credentials as a separateparadigm. Two key models can be
identified from the literature concerning rational choice and religious vitality.
The model proposed by Stark and Bainbridge assumesthat individuals make a rational
decision concerning their religious affiliation.

However any decision will be perceived as a

for
in
The
the
the
that
motives
religious adherence
guarantee
outcome.
risk
sense
one cannot
are divided into two categories- distant rewards (i. e. in the afterlife) and compensators(i. e.
highlights
This
that
benefits
both
approach
religious
and
material).
supernatural
present
friendship,
by
is
least
status, senseof
e.
g.
gains
material
at
motivated
affiliation
often
partly
belonging or social services. This also means that social sanctionswill be influential in
belief.
For example,
depending
than
on
religious
solely
ensuring continued allegiance rather

35

leaving a religious institution will have a major impact on the life of a person whose social
network is almost entirely related to this group. Similarly, in some communities, the loss of
statusassociatedwith leaving could have an adverseeffect on personal and business relations.
Thus, these potential consequencesare likely to be taken into consideration by an individual
when deciding on their future involvement with a religious institution.
This approach is criticised by scholarswho object to explaining religious participation
solely as a logical decision by an individual and thus ignoring the importance of religious
beliefs. According to Bruce, its main presumption is that people "do not turn to
62
9
in
He argues
their pursuit of material rewards'
transcendental concerns unless thwarted
.
that many religious believers cite spiritual reasons for their involvement in religious
institutions.

Young also adds that non-rational experience is at the heart of all religion. 63

This is illustrated through the use of symbolic rites and belief in the supernatural. The ability
of individuals to freely choosetheir religion is also questioned. For many people, their
it
in
is
difficult
birth
identified
is
to
their
many
cultures,
at
and
religious affiliation
already
64
in
Decisions
this
a vacuum.
are
not
made
about religious choice
change
membership.
Both personal beliefs and the cultural environment are likely to be influential.

While

(and
help
benefits
to
a
specific
religious
group
also serve
attract
people
certainly
material
may
to maintain their loyalty), spiritual reasonsare still acknowledged as the main reason for
religious participation by most individuals.
Another feature of the rational choice approach is to examine religious vitality from the
is
It
led
demand
than
the
proposed that contrary to the
approach.
normal
supply side rather
key proposition of the secularization thesis, modernization does not adversely affect religious
institutions. Instead, demand for religion dependson market conditions. Continuing with
firms
"Religious
firms.
institutions
defined
language,
are social
as
are
market
religious
enterprises whose primary purpose is to create, maintain and supply religion to some set of

36

65 In brief, the rationalchoicemodelsuggeststhat the


individuaIS".
greaterthe choiceof
religiousgoods,the morecompetitionwill occur,resultingin the stimulationof the religious
market. Thus,Iannacconestatesthat religiousinstitutionsmustcaterfor the needsof the
populationor facedecliningnumbers. "In competitiveenvironments,religionshavelittle
choicebut to abandoninefficient modesof productionandunpopularproductsin favour of
66
moreattractiveandprofitable alternatives". However,if oneinstitution enjoysa monopoly
throughinstitutionalisedrelationswith the state,this will leadto decreased
adherenceoverall.
Theemergenceof alternativegroupswill be hinderedby thepreferenceof the statetowards
oneinstitution e.g. favourablelegislation,financialaid. Yet, asthe religiousneedsof people
differ accordingto their individual preference,monopolieswill find it difficult to fulfil all the
requirementsof all the populationandconsequently,suffer a declinein the numberof
adherents.Finke suggeststhat "becauseof the underlyingdifferentiationof consumer
67
by
preferences,
religious competitionandpluralismwill thrive unlessregulated the state".
In this way, rational choicetheoristsseekto explainthe apparentdifferencein religiosity in
theUnited StatesandWesternEurope. They arguethat Europeis not as"secularized"as
is
low
level
Instead,
the
of
mobilization
attributedto the prevalenceof
statisticsmay suggest.
establishedchurches. In contrast,the United StatesConstitutionclearly separateschurchand
68
by
is
has
denomination
stateand
givenpreference the state. Thus,the
ensuredthat no
institutions
decline
for
the
that
of
religious
rationalchoiceapproachprovidesan explanation
is not connectedto the secularizationthesis. It arguesthat a clearpatternemergesafter a new
is
it
by
dilemma
has
As
been
to
this
confronted
grow,
a
church
churchcontinues
established.
joining
from
dissuade
to
beliefs
its
that
to
or
others
often
either
strict
maintain
accommodatesomeof the normsof societywhich risks alienatingits coremembers. In most
for
is
a new conservativegroupto
space
cases,a compromisesolution reachedwhich provides
form. Thus,this approacharguesthat conservativereligiousinstitutionsarelikely to enjoy

37

religious vitality while liberal variations will decline in popularity. According to Collins,
"Liberal religion is constantly dying, while conservative religion is being reborn". 69
Several criticisms have been made of these assertions. Firstly, the suitability of the
methodology used by rational choice theorists has been questioned as too limited.

The

majority of studies focus on specific communities in the United Statesand Europe and
concentrateon the nineteenth and twentieth century. Thus, there is doubt as to how relevant
these findings are to the wider debate on religious vitality.

There is also concern that the

evidence does not necessarily support some of the claims made by proponents of rational
70
Secondly, various studies have demonstratedthat religious pluralism is not a
choice.
significant factor in explaining religious participation. In his study of the Baltic states,Bruce
illustrates that a combination of cultural pluralism and minimal state interference can lead to
less not more interest in religion. 71 ResearchingEuropean post-industrial countries with a
Catholic heritage, Norris and Inglehart found that religious participation was higher in Italy
and Ireland where the Catholic Church enjoys a monopoly compared to the more pluralist
societies of the Netherlands and France - completely contrary to the predictions of the supplydemand approach.72 Furthermore, history has shown that some religious institutions have
survived, even thrived, during times of hardship and persecution e.g. the early Christian
73
church. Thus, the existence of a monopoly does not mean that other groups will not be
is
beneficial
it
in
Thirdly,
as
not
always
competition
can
successful attracting members.
leading
fewer
in
institutions
duplicate
inefficiency
to
their
adherents for
services,
result
as
74

each group as supply outweighs demand.

Finally, Bruce statesthat the ability of religious

institutions to change their ideas and policies in order to retain competitiveness and attract
by
hugely
belief
their
is
limited.
"Religious
constrained
own
are
organizations
members also
75
lose
it
is
In
that
sight of the cultural and social
not
clear
one must
systems".
conclusion,
context when exploring religious vitality.

38

Therational choicemodeloffersnew insight into motivationsfor religious adherence.


However,the majority of the empiricalevidencerelatesto WesternChristianmovements.
Theproponentsof this approacharekeento stressthat their findingsmay not apply in other
environments. Certainaspectsof thetheory canbe appliedto Christianityin the Middle East.
In termsof providing compensators,
it is clearthatmost of the churchesin the region fulfil
by religious allegiance. In a
this function. As will be explored,identity is often expressed
difficult and frequentlyinsecureenvironment,the churchcanact asa havenfor the
community. Within the propertiesof the institution-a church,monastery,shrineor social
club- thereis a feeling of belongingwhereall areequal. This is particularly true of St
Mark's Coptic OrthodoxCathedralin Cairo,the seatof PopeShenouda. Membersof all
fellow
Copts,
in
to
frequently
the
meet
attend
grounds
patriarchate
generations
congregate
lesser
To
just
the
extent,the churchpropertyaround
a
servicesor
enjoy
atmosphere.
Bkerke,the Maronitepatriarchalseeperformsthe samefunction. Spiritual rites not only
identity
be
but
bonds
to
which
cannot
separate
shared
assert
a
also
serve strengthencommunal
by membersof other groups. The numerousCoptic fastingdaysillustratethis increasein
collectiveactivitieswhich excludenon-Copts. Both churchesalsoprovidepracticalaid.
The Coptic OrthodoxBishopricof Public, EcumenicalandSocialServiceshasan extensive
Through
the
help
the
to
or
unemployed.
as
poor
such
needygroups
rangeof programmes
health
has
Church
to
Maronite
and
services
the
provide
education
continued
monasticorders,
Consequently,
in
helping
the
to
while one cannot
era.
post-war
aswell as
rebuild properties
losesight of the spiritual reasonsfor membershipof the churches,in general,the churchis
between
lack
This
the
separation
of
spiritual
community.
expectedto caterto all the needsof
andmaterialbenefitsmeansthat onecannotexcludematerialgainsasa contributorymotive
for the increasedreligiousvitality experiencedby both churches.

39

The cultural context is extremely important when examining Christianity in the Middle East
from the supply-side. The ability of individuals to make a "rational choice" regarding their
religious affiliation is clearly restricted. In this region, conversions from one faith to another
are often viewed as proof of the superiority of that particular faith. Conversions from
Christianity are made more painfiil due to the small numbers of Christians in comparison to
the Muslim majority.

In Egypt, unwillingness to accept that Copts may choose to convert,

means that rumours abound that Coptic girls are kidnapped and forcibly converted when in
fact many have chosen to do so when marrying a Muslim man. In Lebanon, it is generally
believed that if one of the religious communities attempts to proselytise, this negatively
affects harmonious relations between the confessions. While it is not prohibited to
proselytize in either country, it is clearly not encouraged. Thus, there is huge pressure on
both sides (Muslim and Christian) to remain in the faith community of birth. These cultural
factors can be seento account for religious vitality in this region rather than religious
denominations
individuals
to
Consequently,
to
the
are
restricted
pluralism.
choices available
rather than faiths.
Living in a predominantly Muslim region meansthat realistic competition is confined to the
limited
"market",
it
identified
Christians.
Within
this
the
can
section of
as
population already
be noted that competition has resulted in increasedvitality for many of the churches. This is
particularly true of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Like many of the ancient Eastern churches,
it has had to compete with Catholic and Protestant challengers. The clerical hierarchy tend to
divide
to
the
already
to
these
only
serving
and
requirements
regard
as
surplus
competitors
fragile and disunited Christian community. Despite this hostility, the Catholic and Protestant
missionary movements were able to attract followers from the existing churches, especially in
the nineteenth century. This was partly due to the contrast in the style of worship including
sermons and more participation by the laity which attracted the well-educated elite who often

40

76
ignorant.
backward
The non-religious
regardedthe clergy of the ancient church as
and
services of the Catholic and Protestant churches also served as an attraction such as education,
social services and contacts to the West. In responseto this competition, the ancient
churchesinitiated reforms. For example, the Coptic Revival led by Patriarch Kyrillos IV in
the mid-nineteenth century, involved introducing sermonsin Mass, opening new seminaries
for priests and building new educational institutions. 77 In communion with Rome, the
Maronite Church avoided Catholic competition. However, they were not immune from
Protestant missionary work. In the educational field, this competition led to the founding of
two influential institutions in the late nineteenth century - the Syrian Protestant College (now
the American University in Beirut) in 1866 and the Jesuit University of St. Joseph in 1875.
Hence, it would appearthat both the Coptic Orthodox and the Maronite churches were able to
act as a monopoly but were forced to implement reforms and undergo a period of
revitalisation in order to compete with other Christian denominations.
While both of the casestudy churcheshave remained dominant within the Christian
in
The
for
is
longer
the
taken
it
is
past.
as
this
granted
that
position no
community,
evident
Awareness
keen
the
hierarchies
to
adherents.
number
of
possible
maximise
respective
are
that the community expects that the church will play a leading role in all aspectsof life institution
has
become
that
the
temporal
as
an
church
means
spiritual, material, cultural and
for
increases
its
followers.
It
the
life
the
involved
in
daily
opportunities
the
also
of
more
for
become
the community.
leader
the
to
spokesman
political
religious
The cultural environment also affects the church-staterelationship. According to the
have
is
likely
to
institution
that
strong
monopoly
enjoys a
supply-side approach, a religious
links with the state. The patriarchs of both churches are recognised as spiritual and
do
the
However,
they
by
share
same
leaders
not
their
communal
respective governments.
faith as the majority of the population and have not exercisedpower in the same way as

41

occurredin medievalEurope.Therefore,the two churcheshavenot beenidentified with the


ruling authorities-a developmentthat tendsto havea detrimentaleffect on the popularity of
a religious institution.
Applying the rational choiceapproach,onecould attributethe increasedreligiosity
experiencedin both the Coptic OrthodoxandMaroniteChurchesto the realisationthat the
churchis the institution most suitedto fulfilling all the needsof the community. Not only
canit provide spiritual guidance(separatingit from any othercommunalinstitution), it also
reinforcesidentity, providesa senseof belonging,offers socialnetworksandhasresources
which canbe accessedduring timesof difficulty. In the contextof the Middle Eastwhere
religion still hasa dominantculturalrole, any memberof the communitywho doesnot
find
by
fully
in
themselvesalienatedfrom
the
the
could
participate
church
activitiesoffered
the wider group. Potentialsocialsanctionssuchasthe lossof friends,family shameand
involvement
in
influence
likely
the
to
the
extent
of
restrictedemploymentopportunitiesare
church,thusmaintainingreligiousvitality. Again, this vitality canthenbe transformedby
the spiritual headinto temporalauthority.
The rational choicemodelcan alsobe appliedat the institutionallevel to help explainthe
different strategiesadoptedby churchleaders. Throughoutthe region,the aimstend to be
sharedby the different churchesi. e. full equality,participationandsecurity. However,the
has
differ.
Maronite
For
the
church traditionally emphasisedthe
methodsclearly
example,
into
likely
its
Church
leaders
take
to
accountthe strengthsof
political aspectof ministry.
are
their communityaswell asthe domesticandinternationalenvironmentbeforedecidingon
different
to
found
the
throughout
The
and
subject
region
policies.
patriarchof a community
from
is
in
likely
traditional
to
refraining
approach,
passive
a
adopt
conditions eachcountry
leader
The
in
to
the
to
of a cohesive
community.
risk
criticising authorities order minimise
groupwhich is concentratedin a well-definedhomelandandenjoysa strongsenseof identity

42

is more likely to exercise his temporal authority. The domestic environment influences the
extent of political participation by church leaders. When the ruling authorities are perceived
as being indifferent to the problems facing the Christian communities, especially if this is
accompanied by a significant upsurge in political Islam, a proactive approach is likely to be
taken as was pursued by Pope Shenoudaduring the Sadatyears. However, if Christians are
treated in a similar manner to other citizens, the need for active political representation by the
church is not as necessarye.g. in Syria and Jordan. The international environment is also
likely to affect the responseof the church to specific issues. As will be explored in Chapter
Six, the activities of lobby groups formed by expatriate Copts and Maronites influence the
situation at home. The attitude of other countries, especially the only superpower, the United
States,may also count as a factor in deciding the political approach of the church. Again, it
is important to note that any decision will be influenced and perhaps constrained by nonhead
due
the
Firstly,
to
the
to
the
as
of the church, the
patriarch
power
given
rational aspects.
important.
Secondly, the teachings and traditions of
is
leader
the
personality of
extremely
be
drawn
factor.
There
that
three
be
can
are
propositions
each church will also a contributory
from the rational choice approach.

Firstly, religious institutions offer rewards and compensatorswhich in this context, could
lead
This
to their
identity
could
the
strengthen
and cohesivenessofthe community.
willingness to delegatepolitical representation to the patriarch.
Secondly, the existenceofa monopoly would suggest that the religious institution benefited
from a privileged relation with the state. Mle

it would be expectedthat this situation would

lead to a decline in members, it would be counterbalanced by the potentialfor the patriarch


to use this relationship to secure his position as civil head ofthe community.

43

Airdly, it would be expectedthat the attitudes of the ruling authorities and society influence
thepolitical strategy pursued by the religious leader, resulting in a more assertive approach
when the community is perceived as endangered.

SummarvOfTheories

From this discussion, it is clear that throughout the world, contemporary religious
institutions continue to possessthe capacity to be politically active. Thus, the political role of
four
All
theories suggest
be
in
East
Middle
anomaly.
the
an
as
regarded
should not
patriarchs
that the political role of the church is closely connectedto its ability to provide its followers
with a distinct identity, senseof belonging and security, social networks and welfare services.
If the church can fulfil these functions, this would appearto translate into acceptanceof a
temporal dimension to the office of patriarch. This tendency to perceive religion as fulfilling
has
led
to
transcendental
the
being
criticism
than
with
solely
concerned
other purposes rather
that political activities are undertaken at the expenseof spiritual matters. However, the early
in
involvement
life.
Therefore,
the
political sphere
of
areas
church was concerned with all
can actually be seen as the return of authentic religion.
This thesis proposes that the crisis of state approachwhich relates the political role of
Patriarchs
best
the
role
of
heightened
political
explains
perceptions of vulnerability
religion to
Shenoudaand Sfeir. However, the debateregarding the historical experience of Christian
East
did
in
Middle
Christianity
the
As
important.
is
not
in
communities the region also
is
it
in
West,
to
the
the
more
accurate
fundamental
church
the
which
affected
changes
undergo
"the
III,
Gregory
by
in
church of
term
the
the
coined
context of
examine these churches
Islam". They have been greatly affected by this Islamic environment, allowing the church
leaders to retain predominance over the community at the expenseof the laity. It would

44

appeardifficult to separatethe political dimensionasthe patriarchis expectedby many of his


adherentsto provide guidancefor the communityon all issues. Elementsof the globalization
processhavealso aidedthe ability of the patriarchto retain control over the entire community
bothhomeand abroad. The problemsfacedby the region sincethe endof colonialismhave
clearlyaccentuatedthe ability of the patriarchto be the legitimaterepresentativeof his people.
Asidefrom the rational choiceapproach,the othertheoriesacknowledgethat the strengthof
political religion is derivedat leastpartly from its prominentplacein a specificculture. The
fact that theseChristiansarean indigenousminority in a culturedominatedby another
religion, seemsto accentuatethe role of the churchin the everydaylife of many Christiansin
'the region. Yet it is clearthat therecannotbe a universalapproachto the problemsfacedby
Christiansin the Middle East. Thus,it is hopedthat the crisis of stateapproachwill explain
why thesetwo particularpatriarchshaveexercisedthe historicaltemporaldimensionof their
office.

Methodology and Plan of Study

Various resourceshave been used to compile this examination of the political role of the
have
Published
in
Coptic
Orthodox
Maronite
traditions.
the
sources
provided
patriarchs
and
have
backgound
historical
Internet
to
topic.
this
also been used
resources
useful
and
guides
to gather information, particularly on the churches and 6migr6 groups. Due to the subject
As
to
coverage
of
events.
the
up-to-date
a
matter,
study relies on newspaper articles ensure
into
insight
I
the specific
field
Lebanon,
Egypt
to
trips
gained
and
consequenceof my
interviews
from
in
has
Information
the
two
obtained
countries.
situation of each community
been used to illustrate the varied opinions on the political role of the patriarchs. Visits to

45

Christianinstitutions,churchesandmonasteriesalsoaidedmy understandingof the


research
area.
Key criteria havebeenidentified in orderto determinewhat type of political role a Christian
religiousleaderis likely to havein this region andthe impactthis will haveon the
community,stateandwider society. The independentvariablesareconnectedto the
theoreticalapproachesdescribedabove. Concerningthe level of secularization,a highly
secularizedsocietywould be expectedto providefew opportunitiesfor a religious leaderto
exercisepolitical authorityover his community. In contrast,a societythat hasexperienced
limited secularizationcould offer a spiritual leadersubstantialopportunitiesto developa
political role. The extentof statecrisis would alsoaffect the activitiesof the patriarch,with a
higherlevel leadingto a morepronouncedpolitical role. In the sameway, the civil authority
of a religious leaderis more likely to be exercisedwhenthe effectsof the globalization
processaremore visible in a society. Finally, accordingto the rational choiceapproach,
wherea competitivereligiousmarketexists,religiousinstitutionswill enjoy vitality, aidedby
their ability to provide rewardsandcompensators
to members. This would significantly
influencethe ability of the religiousleaderto representthe communityon civil matters.
Thesevariablesarealsoconnectedto the following interveningvariables.

1) Yhe tradition and authority invested in the patriarch ofa specific tradition
When this is strong, it is more likely to lead to an active political role of the religious
leader.

2) Yhe identity of the community


A high senseof identity and exclusive approach could help create an environment
where the spiritual leader could exercise civil authority as the head of the community.

46

It would be expectedthat this would decreaseif therewas a low senseof identity and
the communitytraditionally pursuedan integrationistapproachtowardsthe majority
group.

3) The existence ofa distinct homelandfor the community


The fulfilment of this criteria is likely to enhancea senseof belonging and
reinforce the position of the spiritual head as the leader of the community.

4) Thewillingnessofchurch leadersto utilise their own institutionsto cater to the needs


of their community
Whenthis willingnessexists,religiousinstitutionsaremore likely to find that in order
to caterto theseneeds,they will needto becomeinvolved in political issues.

5) The historical background andpresent political situation of the country ofresidence


In a country where religion has traditionally played an important role in the
development of the state and remained prominent in society, one would expect that it
be
in
be
to
to
a
community
represented
civil matters by a
would
more acceptable
if
less
likely
be
leader.
This
the privatization of religion had been
would
religious
widely experienced and accepted. Similarly, if a community perceives that the
in
in
homeland
discourages
their
their
participation
national affairs
political context
in
is
likely
discrimination,
to
this
result a communal responsewhich could
and allows
be led by the spiritual head of the community. However, if the group feels integrated
into society, they are less likely to consider that leadership from the religious
establishment is required.

47

6) Thepersonality and views ofthe patriarch


If the religious leader has a dynamic and charismatic personality, he is more likely to
desire to be involved in communal affairs than one characterisedas passive. His
opinion on whether the patriarch should be proactive or passive concerning political
issues will also influence his behaviour. His views on the political situation and aims
of the community are important in determining the type of political role he will fulfil.

7) 7he challenges to patriarchal authority


If there are few rivals to communal leadership, the patriarch is more likely to exercise
both spiritual and temporal authority. The existence of numerous alternative actors
would be expected to hinder the ability of the patriarch to claim this position and thus
lessen the extent of his political role. The policies adopted by the ruling authorities
leader.
is
When
the
influence
the
the
patriarch
religious
political role of
will also
is
likely
his
freedom
to encouragea more
this
to
opinion,
voice
given relative
is
in
this
than
restricted.
where
one operating an environment
proactive approach
Yet, conversely, these limitations would also prevent other communal rivals from
mounting a challenge to the dominant position of the patriarch.

8) Yhe existenceand activities ofa diaspora


If a community enjoys the support of a large and politically active diaspora, this could
lead to a more political role for the patriarch either becausethe diaspora urge him to
fulfil this task or more likely, in order to prevent other actors from claiming to be the
legitimate representativeof the community.

48

The secondchapter on patriarchal authority addressesthe position of the patriarch in the


EasternChristian tradition. Focus is given to the authority of the Coptic Orthodox and
Maronite patriarchs before concluding with a brief historical overview of the temporal
dimensionof previous patriarchs. Chapter Three looks at the nationalist challenge to the
political role of the patriarch in the twentieth century. The alternatives to civil representation
by church leaders for Christians in the Middle East will be explored. The analysis will cover
generaltrends in the region at this period, especially the failure of Arab nationalism and then
apply theseto specific events in the two countries. A brief outline will be given of
contemporaryconcerns of the Christian communities in Egypt and Lebanon.
The next part of the thesis examinesthe political role of the two present patriarchs.
ChapterFour will provide a detailed account of the political role of Pope ShenoudaIII, the
Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. Firstly, key developments in church
governanceduring his reign will be examined to illustrate that the patriarch has ensuredhis
dominant role in the church and hence the community. Secondly, his political activities and
consequentresponseof both the community and the state will be discussed. In Chapter Five,
attention will be given to the political role of Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Patriarch of
Antioch and All the East of the Maronites. This chapter will concentrateon the measures
engagedby Patriarch Sfeir in his effort to reclaim the temporal dimension inherent in the
office of Maronite patriarch. The discussion will focus initially on the spiritual revival of the
church and then turn to more overtly political action undertaken in the post-civil war era,
Chapter
Six
impact
different
Lebanese
the
these
the
actors.
will
noting
of
policies on
examine the implications of global expansion on the political role of the two patriarchs. The
reaction of the churches to emigration and expatriate communities will be outlined. The
opportunities and challenges presentedby this growth outside of the Middle East will be
identity
development
than
to
the
particular
and
examined, with reference
of a universal rather

49

the emergenceof rivals to the role of the patriarch as the civil representativein the form of
6migregroups. Finally, Chapter Sevenwill presentthe conclusion to this study. After
summarisingthe key findings, thesewill be analysedin the context of the theoretical
framework developed in Chapter One.

I For government statistics,


see Christophe Asad, Geopolitique de I'EqvDte (Bruxelles, Editions
Complexe, 2002) p. 54
2 Jean-Pierre Valognes, Vie et Mort des Chr6tiens d'Orient (Paris, Fayard, 1994) 637
p.
3 Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), "Christian
presence in the Middle East: A Working
Paper" International Review of Mission 89(352) 2000 p. 28-9
4 EJ Chitham, The Coptic Community in Egypt: Spatial
and Social Change (Durham, Centre for
Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, 1986) p. 1
5 Joseph Maila, "The Arab Christians: From the Eastern Question to the Recent Political Situation
of
the Minorities" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: the
Challenqe of the Future (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1998) p. 31
Aziz S Atiya, A History of Eastern Christiani (London, Methuen & Co Ltd, 1968) p. 16
7JD Pennington, "The Copts in Modern Egypt"Middle Eastern Studies 18(211982 178
p.
Valognes, Vie et Mort des Chr6tiens d'Orient p. 637
John L Esposito and Michael Watson (eds), Religion and Global Order (Cardiff, University of
Wales Press, 2000) p. 19
10 Steve Bruce, Politics and Religion (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003) p. 139-141
" Douglas Johnston "Beyond Power Politics" in Douglas Johnston and Cynthia Sampson (eds)
Religion : The Missinq Dimension of Statecraft (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994) p. 3
12 Christopher M Wyatt, "Islamic Militancies and Disunity in the Middle East" in KR Dark (ed) ReIj_qjon
and International Relations (London, MacMillan Press Ltd, 2000) p. 102
David Herbert, Reliqion and Civil Society: Rethinkin Public Reliq!on in the Contemporary World
_q
(Aldershot, Ashgate, 2003) p. 5
14Jose Casanova, Public Reliqions in the Modern World (London, The University of Chicago Press,
1994) p. 4

15 Bryan R Wilson, "Reflections


on a Many Sided Controversy" in Steve Bruce, (ed) Religion and

Modernization (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992) p. 195


Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World p. 12-13
17Olivier Tschannen, "The Secularization Paradigm :A Systematization" Journal for the Scientifi
Studv of Reliqion 30(4 1991 p. 404
18 Karel Dobbelaere, "Secularization :A Multi-Dimensional Concept" Current Sociology 29(2 1981
p. 20
Peter L Berger (ed) The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics
(Grand Rapids, Wrn B Gerdmans Publishing Co, 1999) p. 16
20Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World p. 21
21Esposito, Reliqion
and Global Order p. 18
22Steve Bruce, Religion in the Modern World : from Cathedrals to Cults.(Oxford, Oxford University
Press, 1996) p. 43
23Ibid p. 26.
24Peter Beyer Rel[gion
and Globalization (London, SAGE Publications, 1994) p. 70
25Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World p. 225
26Beyer, Reliclion and Globalization p. 73
27Wilson, "Reflections on a Many-Sided Controversy" p. 203
28Casanova, Public Reliqions in the Modern World p. 49

29 lbid

p. 34

30Kate Zebiri. "Muslim anti-secularist discourse in the context of Muslim-Christian relations" Islam
and
Muslim-Christian Relations 90) 1998 p. 52-55
Said Amir Arjornand, "The Emergence of Islamic Political Ideologies" in James A Beckford and

50

Thomas Luckmann (eds) The Changing Face of Religion (London, Sage Publications Ltd, 1991)
P. 109
32Abdullah A
"Political Islam

in National Politics and International Relations" in Peter L


an-Naim,
Berger (ed), The Desecularization of the World : Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Grand
Rapids, Wrn B Gerdmans Publishing Co, 1999) p. 117

33The Holv Bible, New International Version, (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1992) Matthew 22 21
v
P. 991

34Bruce, Politics

and Religion p. 241-2


35Robert Brenton Betts, Christians in the Arab East (London, SPCK, 1979) I
p.
36 Gregory 111,
Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All of the East, of Alexandria and of
Jerusalem, "The Situation of the Christians in the Middle East", Eastern Churches Journal :A
Review of Eastern Christendom 9(2) 2002 p. 12
Mordechai Nisan, Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression (London,
McFarland & Company, 1991) p. 171
3 Kamal H Karpat, "Millets and Nationality the
:
roots of the Incongruity of Nation and State in the
post-Ottoman Era" Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis (eds), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman
Empire : The Functioning of a Plural Society (London, Holmes & Meier Publisher Ltd, 1982) p. 149
39Constitution the Arab Republic Eqvp
of
of
http://www. sis.qov.eq/eqinfnew/politics/parlim/htmi/presO3O3.
htm
40Scott M Thomas, "Taking Religious and Cultural Pluralism Seriously: The Global Resurgence
of
Religion and the Transformation of International Society" Millennium 29(3) 2000 p. 821
41Scott M Thomas, "Religious Resurgence, Postmodernism and World Politics" in John L Esposito
and Michael Watson (eds), Religion and Global Order (Cardiff, University of Wales, Press, 2000) p.
51
42Samuel P Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (London,
Touchstone, 1998) p. 213
43Mark Juergensmeyer, The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State
(London, University of California Press, 1993) p. 22
44Simon Murden, "Religion and the political and social order in the Middle East" in John L Esposito
and Michael Watson (eds), Religion and Global Order (Cardiff, University of Wales, Press, 2000) p.
151
45Pippa Norris
and Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide
(Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004) p. 13-17
46KR Dark (ed), Religion
and International Relations (London, MacMillan Press Ltd, 2000) p. vii
47Jan Aart Scholte, "The globalization of world politics" in John Baylis and Steve Smith (eds), The
Globalization of World Politics 2nded (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001) p. 14-15
40 James Piscatori, "Religious Transnationalism and Global Order, with particular consideration of
Islam" in John L Esposito and Michael Watson (eds), Religion and Global Order (Cardiff, University
of Wales Press, 2000) p. 83
4g Thomas, "Religion and International Conflict" in KR Dark (ed), Religion and International Relations
(London, MacMillan Press Ltd, 2000) p. 5
50 Roland Robertson, Globalization : Social Theory and Global Culture (London, SAGE Publications
Ltd, 1992) p. 102
51Jurgensmeyer, The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State p. 1

52John L Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth


or Reality? (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999)
P* 241
53Gilles Kepel, The Revenge God The Resurgence Islam. Christianity
and Judaism in the
of
:
of

Modern World (Cambridge, Polity Press, 1994) p. 1


04 Roy Wallis and Steve Bruce, "Secularization : The Orthodox Model" in Steve Bruce (ed),
Religion and Modernization (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992) p. 17-18
55Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order p. 135
56lbid p. 273

57 Ibid

p. 256

58Samir Khalil Samir, "Presence et Temoignage des Chretiens dans le monde arabe" aroche Orient
Chr6tien 52(1-2) 2002 p. 56
Gregory 111,
"The Situation of the Christians in the Middle East" p. 12
80Laurence R lannaccone, "Voodoo Economics? Reviewing the Rational Choice Approach to
Religion" Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 34(1 1995 p. 77
61Laurence R lannaccone, "Rational Choice: Framework for the Scientific Study of Religion" in

51

Laurence A Young (ed) Rational Choice Theory and Religion : Summary and Assessment (London,
Routledge, 1997) p. 30
62Steve Bruce, Choice and Religion :A Critique of Rational Choice Theory (Oxford, Oxford
University Press, 1999) p. 37
63Laurence A Young, "Phenomenological Images of Religion and Rational Choice Theory" in
Laurence A Young (ed) Rational Choice Theory and Religion : Summary and Assessment (London,
Routledge, 1997) p. 136
64Bruce, Choice and Reliqlon :A Critique of Rational Choice Theo p. 126-7
65Rodney Stark and Laurence R lannaccone, "A Supply-Side Reinterpretation of the "Secularization"
of Europe" Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 33(3 1994 p. 232
66lannaccone, "Voodoo Economics? Reviewing the Rational Choice Approach to Religion" p. 77
67Roger Finke, "The Consequences of Religious Competition : Supply Side Explanations for
Religious Change" in Laurence A Young (ed) Rational Choice Theory and Religion : Summary and
Assessment (London, Routledge, 1997) p. 52
Stark and lannaccone, "A Supply-Side Reinterpretation of the "Secularization" of Europe" p. 231
69Randall Collins, "Stark and Bainbridge, Durkheim and Weber: Theoretical Comparisons" in
Laurence A Young (ed) Rational Choice Theory and Religion : Summary and Assessment (London,
Routledge, 1997) p. 176
70Bruce, Choice and Religion :A Critique of Rational Choice Theory p. 123
71Ibid p. 100-120
72Norris and Inglehart, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide p. 100-1
73Bruce, Choice and Religion :A Critique of Rational Choice Theory p. 47
74lbid p. 51-52

75Ibid
p. 126
76Valognes, Vie

et Mort des Chretiens d'Orient p. 533


77Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianitv: A Historv of the Coptic Orthodox Church p. 130

52

Chapter Two - Patriarchal Authority in the Coptic Orthodox and


Maronite Traditions

Introduction

The explanations for the involvement of religion in politics detailed in the introductory
chapter are based on the assumption that religious institutions can undertake the
representation of the community by directing their substantial resourcestowards this aim. In
the Eastern Christian tradition, the office of patriarch is a key resource. The patriarch is more
than the head of the church. He is the father of the flock, symbol of the faith and figurehead
of the community. In short, the patriarch can be perceived as the personification of the entire
church. This thesis proposesthat the status of this office endows the patriarch with
further
dimension
be
temporal
to
the
the
can
used
which
substantial authority over
community
of the office. While this is true to a certain extent of all Eastern Christian traditions,
patriarchal authority in the two churchesused as casestudies, can be regarded as amongst the
Coptic
developed.
the
The
the
the
of
sees
and
origins
of
patriarchal
most
establishment
Orthodox and Maronite patriarchs will be examined. Their authority will be discussed,
Constraints
law
tradition.
through
to
the
the
and
canon
patriarch
emphasising
power given
Holy
the
including
be
the
this
of
role
requirements,
on
electoral
power will also explored
Synod, laity and external actors. For the Coptic Orthodox, this refers to the Egyptian
in
tempering
Vatican
in
Maronites,
the
role
a
major
the
the
plays
caseof
government while
the power of the patriarch. By establishing the extent of authority ascribed to the patriarch, it
has
desires,
if
he
the resourcesto act as the civil as
be
demonstrated
that
the
so
will
patriarch,
well as the spiritual representativeof the community.

53

The historical experience of Christianity in the Middle East has also proved influential in
maintaining patriarchal authority. In contrast to the situation in Europe, the Arab conquest in
the seventh century deprived the Christian churchesof direct political power through control
of the state. Yet, Islamic rule ensuredthat the patriarchs retained aspectsof their civil
authority. As will be explored, subsequentregimes in the Muslim world allowed the heads of
the different Christian churches to exercise temporal power over their community in return for
acting as the liaison between the community and the ruling authorities. The consequent
absenceof the secularization process as occurred in the West has presented the current heads
in
in
Middle
East
to
to
the
the
enjoy
civil
authority
a
of churches
with
opportunity continue
manner rarely seen elsewhereby Christian religious leaders. It is clear that the political
dimension of the patriarchal office has remained significant throughout the centuries and
certainly should not be perceived as a recent development. This will be explored by a brief
examination of the initial period after the Arab Conquest to the Ottoman era when this
political role became institutionalised through the millet system. Finally, attention will be
both
Coptic
history
in
the
the
of
to
the
modem
given
political activities of previous patriarchs
Orthodox and Maronite churches. This will illustrate that there is a strong precedent
(particularly in the Maronite example) of political leadership by the patriarch and also offer
the opportunity to highlight the personal influence of the two present leaders- Pope
Shenoudaand Patriarch Sfeir.

The Origins of the Patriarch in the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite Traditions

The term patriarch which is used to describe the head of many Eastern Christian churches
father,
Greek
Latin
from
patria meaning
meaning
and
originates
a combination of
-pater
'
leader
lineage, race, people, nation and lastly, archos meaning
or chief. Originally, it was

54

givento Christiandignitariesasan honorific title. With the spreadof Christianitythroughout


2

theRomanEmpire, it was necessaryfor the earlychurchto "centralizeat the regionallevel".

Initially, the churchwas concentratedin urbanareasandthus,the key seescloselyresembled


theregionalcentresof the empire. OnceChristianitybecamethe statereligion, the title
3
hierarchs.
The early ecumenicalcouncilsrecognised
patriarchwas solely appliedto church
thetitle in regardto the metropolitansof the five major sees- Rome,Constantinople,
Alexandria,Antioch andJerusalem. Thesefive seeswere chosenbecauseof a combination
for
both
factors.
Rome
the
categoriesasthe
criteria
satisfied
of apostolicorigins andpolitical
final seeof St. Peter,the placeof the martyrdomof St. PeterandSt Paul aswell asthe capital
4
its
link
direct
had
little
Constantinople
to
the
Although
Roman
Empire.
the
apostles,
of
its
Council
increased
imperial
the
the
and
at
the
prestige
government
positionas new seatof
5

Rome.
it
in
to
the
Constantinople
381,
of
see
only
of
was confirmed as second

Alexandria

intellectual
developed
St.
Mark
the
and
as
an
and
of
was associatedwith
martyrdom
6
School.
The growth of the
Cathetical
theological centre including the Didascalia - the
Christian faith was regarded as spreading from Antioch - an early centre of evangelisation,
following on from the work of the apostles.7 The fifth seeJerusalemwas actually the least
important to the early church and was not designateda patriarchal seeuntil the Council of
Chalcedon in 45 1.8

Accordingto Corbon,the patriarchwasthe churchequivalentofpatrick (governor)and


9
had
direct
The
jurisdiction.
his
in
territory
the
patriarchs
temporal
under
exercised
power
Due
in
to
the
bishops
their
discipline
for
doctrine
the
region.
other
of
and
responsibility
bishops
hold
it
became
could meet
all
to
councilswhere
necessary
growth of the church,
debate
bishops
to
in
the
325
held
Nicea
first
The
together.
andallowed
at
council was
theologicalissuesincluding the Arian controversy. It alsoconfirmedthe rights of the
10
Inthefourth
Antioch.
Alexandria
time
that
and
recognisedpatriarchalseesat
-Rome,

55

century, the church leaders still deemedit vital that the church pursued a common theological
doctrine. Although the beginnings of national identities within specific regions were
acknowledged e.g. Armenia, Persia and Egypt; it was still expectedthat the decisions of
bishops in one region would affect the universal church. For example, the Egyptian
Patriarchs of Alexandria played key roles in international church affairs, particularly
"
doctrinal
issues.
concerning

Egyptian and Syriac monasticism also had a direct impact on

the wider church through the writings of the desert fathers. Furthermore, there was rivalry
between the patriarchs as each one wished to preside over the leading see.
The unity of the early church was shatteredby doctrinal controversies in the fifth century.
As this discussion is confined to the formation of the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite
churches,it will focus primarily on the Councils at Ephesusand Chalcedon. ln431, under
the direction of Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Council of Ephesuscondemned the
christological stance of Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople and engineeredhis
deposition. Nestorius was identified with teaching that objected to Mary being called
theotokos- the bearer of God - as he argued that shewas the mother of Jesusbut not the
12
God.
This complex christological dispute was renewed under Patriarch
mother of
Dioscorus who controlled the second Council of Ephesusin 449 - the so-called Robber
Council - and deposedthe patriarchs of Antioch and Constantinople. However, the power of
the Egyptian church was challenged two years later when these rulings were repudiated at the
451 Council of Chalcedon. The Council defined that Christ possessedtwo natures, divine
13
in
Egypt,
Syria
human,
joined
in
However,
theologians
many
and
one person.
which were
had
been
Nestorius
ideas
Armenia
to
too
the
this
which
rejected at
and
of
similar
regarded
as
the previous council. Instead, they agreedwith the definition given by Cyril, Patriarch of
Alexandria, "single nature of the Word of God made flesh". 14 Hence, the church in Egypt
adheresto the teachings of the first three ecumenical councils only.

56

Thereis an ongoingdebateconcerningthe theologicalclaimsof the non-Chalcedonian


churches. They still tendto be labelledMonophysitechurches. Yet, somescholars
includingPacini andRobersonarguethat thesechurchesrejectedany definition that
highlightedthe two naturesof Christ. Not only did they resistthe dominantChalcedon
view,
theyconsequentlyalsorejectedthe classicMonophysitepositionofferedby Eutychesof
Constantinoplewho declaredthat the humannatureof Christ wasabsorbedby his divinity. 15
With the signing of commonChristologicaldeclarationsbetweenthesechurchesandboth the
Catholicand Orthodoxchurchesin the late twentiethcentury,it hasbecomewidely accepted
that thesedivisions canbe attributedto power strugglesin the early churchratherthan serious
theologicaldifferences.16
While differences over doctrine were at the forefront of the schism, non-theological factors
were also relevant. In the fourth century, the Emperor had shown interest in the ecumenical
councils and legislated in religious affairs, thus adding a political dimension to the dispute.
Rivalry between Alexandria and Constantinople can be regarded in the context of regional
resentment of central authority. It is no coincidence that the three churches that were formed
along national lines due to their rejection of Chalcedon, were situated in the periphery. This
alienation was accentuateddue to financial strains such as heavy taxation levied on the
regions. According to Maila, the theological disputes were in fact a "thin veil for cultural
17
clashes".

The churchin Egypt remainedloyal to the Patriarchof Alexandriawho was deposedat


Chalcedon. Wesselsstatesthat this act wasregardedasa nationalhumiliation, particularly as
Egyptiantheologianshad enjoyeda leadingrole in the universalchurch.,8 Thechurch
refusedto recogniseany patriarchimposedon themfrom Constantinople,to the extentthat
19
illustrated
lynched
by
These
the divide
onereplacementwas
eventsalso
an angrycrowd.
betweenthe Hellenizedelite who mainly residedin Alexandriaandthe rural majority who

57

usedthe Coptic language. The term Copt comes from the Greek for Egypt - aigyptos.20 In
this sense,the Coptic Orthodox Church can be regarded as the Egyptian national church. It is
clear that a senseof national identity already existed. This was heightened by the
appointment of a Chalcedonian Patriarch who was regarded as a foreigner. Given both civil
and religious power, Cyrus attempted to quell the rebellion through force ranging from
imprisoning and killing non-Chalcedonian believers, attacking monasteries and even
21
brother
Patriarch
However, this violence appearedto have the
murdering the
of the
.
opposite impact on Egyptian Christians. Even by this early stage,the Egyptian church had
22
witnessed substantial persecution. For example, many thousandswere killed from 303AD
under the orders of Emperor Diocletian. According to Meinardus, "National feeling in Egypt
was so intensely opposed to the Chalcedonense,which had become the Imperial Creed, that
shortly before the Arab Conquest in the VIIth century the Melkite or Chalcedonian Patriarch
of Alexandria had but 200,000 Greeks and officials for his adherents,whereas as many as six
million Egyptians acknowledged the non-Chalcedonian faith. 9,23 The Arab conquest
signalled the end of Byzantine persecution and the beginning of a new era.
The Council of Chalcedon had a major impact on the universal church. The pattern of the
duplication of patriarchs emerged. The pro-Chalcedon church continued to appoint
patriarchs to other seeseven although some had few followers such as in Alexandria. This
need for a patriarch was the fundamental factor for the founding of the Maronite church. The
term Maronite is derived from a fourth century hermit Maron whose ascetic life attracted
disciples who founded a monastery in his memory - Beit Maroon. 24 Although there is
Chalcedon
Council
in
doctrinal
beliefs
the
these
the
of
after
controversy regarding
monks
of
45 1, the Maronite Church firmly statesthat they adheredto the Chalcedonian Christological
definition of one person in two natures.25 As this doctrine was rejected by many in Syria and
Egypt, the monks of Beit Maroon were subject to persecution including the massacreof 350

58

26
in
followers
by
Churchhistoriansclaim that
517
Patriarch
Severus
Antioch.
monks
of
of
becausethe last OrthodoxPatriarchin Antioch diedin 609 anddueto the Arab conquest,later
in
in
Constantinople,
Maronite
the
was
gave needof a leader.
patriarchsresided
community
Thevacantseewas filled in the late seventhcentury.27 in this way, the Maronite monastic
28
into
its
hierarchy
communityevolved
andecclesiasticalautonomy.
a "church" with own
Giventhe title of MaronitePatriarchof Antioch andAll The East,the first patriarchJohn
Maron is regardedasthe founderof the MaroniteChurch. Having lost Byzantineprotection
eitherdueto electingtheir patriarchwithout the consentof the emperor,or assomehistorians
claim, dueto their following of the compromiseMonothelitistdoctrine,JohnMaron was
29
creditedwith winning a decisivebattle againstthe Byzantinearmy. Continualconflict
resultedin wavesof emigrationto the safetyof Mount Lebanon. The attachmentto this area
identity.
While
Maronite
is
homeland
historic
territorial
of
a strongcomponent
asa
and
Mount Lebanonhaslong beenregardedasa refugefor variouspersecutedminorities e.g.
Druze,Shiites,Maronitesparticularlyemphasised
the mountainastheir havenfrom the
in
Here,
Islamic
by
the
world.
Islamic
oppressive
rule experienced non-Muslimselsewhere
the Maronitesdevelopedtheir own ecclesiasticalandcommunityidentity, resemblingwhat
Salibi termsshab (people)whereinthe patriarchwas seenasthe tribal chief ratherthanjust
the headof the church30 The arrival of the Crusadersin the late eleventhcenturyhaltedthe
.
isolationof the communityandallowedlinks with the CatholicChurchto be re-established.
In 1215,PatriarchJeremiasal-Aanshittiwas the first MaronitePatriarchto visit Rome,
1A
in
1439.3
gradual
attendingthe Council of LateranIV andrelationswerereaffirmed
"Latinization" policy was encouragedwith the foundingof the Maronite Collegein Romein
1584 andculminatedin the 1736 Synodof Mount Lebanonwhich undertookvast
from
1562
the
Roman
in
Church
Maronite
practices
with
accordance
restructuringof the
Council of Trent.32

59

PatriarchalAuthorijy and Constraints

The extent of patriarchal authority in each rite is derived from a combination of canon law
andtradition. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Bishop of Alexandria is recognised as the
patriarch and head of the church. This authority is derived from the scriptures, teachings of
the church fathers and canon law. The apostolic origins of the church ensure that the writings
of the early theologians, such as those in the Didascalia are followed regarding disciplinary,
33
spiritual and moral matters. The canonsassertthe importance of the leadership of the
church and thus, great attention is given to the criteria that must be satisfied to become
patriarch. The candidate must be celibate and while lay representativeshave been patriarchs
in the past, normally a monk would be chosen. Bebawi statesthat the "Coptic Church, the
mother of monasticism, seesin the monk the ideal Christian: and it is the ideal Christian who
34
be
be
bishop".
The church canonsclearly reject the idea of a bishop
should chosen to
becoming patriarch. A bishop is appointed for life and is expectedto devote the rest of his
ministry to his diocese. By becoming patriarch, he would be regarded as having been
consecratedtwice. A useful allegory is to compare the elevation of a bishop to the patriarchy
35
her
Yet in several instances, a
"a
leaving
her
to man marrying a girl then
to marry
mother".
bishop has been elected as patriarch. Three of the five patriarchs of the twentieth century
were diocesan bishops. In fact, the troubles of the church during their reign were interpreted
by some Copts as punishment for breaking the canons.36 The position of general bishop (i. e.
without a diocese) establishedby Pope Kyrillos VI has intensified this debate as the present
instrumental
in
layman,
General
for
Bishop
Education
was
as
a
yet
patriarch was previously
37
head
of the church.
condemning the Holy Synod when bishops were elected as the

60

Althoughthe electionrite hasvariedin the past,thepresentsystem,which was agreedin


1957,aimsto ensurethat the electedcandidatewill enjoy the supportof the community. The
ElectoralCommitteeconsistingof the Synodandlay representatives
choosethreecandidates
from a wider list who arethendrawnby altar lot. A fourth nameis added,"JesusChrist the
38

GoodShepherd"to prove to the faithful that the candidatehasbeendivinely approved.

Onceelected,the Coptic OrthodoxPatriarchenjoyssupremeauthorityover the community.


While certainlynot regardedasinfallible, Wakin suggeststhat thepatriarchcan be classified
39
Pope
for
Egyptian
Christians.
A vacancyarisesonly with the deathof a patriarch:
asthe
hecaimotbe removedfrom office. As thereis no higherfigure,patriarchalauthority extends
whereveradherentsreside. This contrastswith the situationof the EasternCatholic
Patriarchswhosepower is restrictedto insidepatriarchalterritory. According to canonlaw,
apartfrom consecratingbishops,thepatriarchperformsthe samefunctionsashis fellow
body in the churchandis responsible
bishops. The Holy Synodis the highestecclesiastical
for all churchaffairs. In theory,thepatriarchgovernsthe churchin conjunctionwith the
Synodbut dueto the position attributedto the patriarch(who presidesover its meetings),it
cannotbe describedasan independentforce suchasthe synodsof the EasternCatholic
Churches. The patriarchcanbe regardedasthepersonificationof the churchandthe
community.
Turningto the Maroniterite, the role of the patriarchin the EasternCatholicChurchesis
definedin the 1990CodexCanonumEcclesiaruniOrientalium(CCEO),the codification of
Council,
by
Vatican
II
instigated
the
this
law
for
Continuing
the
these
canon
work
churches.
heritage.
Eastern
In
this
their
Latinization
to
the
codeaims reverse
processandemphasise
Canon
55
been
has
importance
states,
the
to
the
the
stressed.
context,
patriarch
church
of
"According to the most ancienttraditionsof the Church,alreadyrecognizedby the first
ecumenicalcouncils,the patriarchalinstitution hasexistedin the church: for this reasona

61

specialhonour is to be accorded to the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, each of whom


40
his
father
head".
Chiramel suggeststhat this canon
presidesover
patriarchal church as
and
law (which is derived from previous ecumenical councils) has allowed the Eastern churches to
41
from
Rome
by
the
that was enjoyed the early patriarchs. Thus, the
regain
autonomy
Maronite church is recognised as sui iuris
hierarchy
has
community
under
a
grouped
who
-a
the right of self-determination.42 While the pope is the supremehead of the universal church,
the patriarchal churches have the right to govern themselvesand promulgate laws within the
patriarchal territory.

The patriarch enjoys executive and administrative powers, such as

issuing decreesand encyclical letters, ordaining bishops within the territorial boundaries and
presiding over the Synod. He is also the highest juridical authority for the community
43
Although bishops must resign aged seventy-five, this is
laws.
concerning personal statute
not applicable to patriarchs, hence illustrating the importance of the position. Faris statesthat
"The patriarch neither functions in his church as a little pope, nor is he merely a first among
44
in
Synod
The CCEO clearly emphasisesthe predominant position
equals the
of Bishops".
of the patriarch as the head of the church. According to Marini, "He representsin his person
the entire Maronite Church, and he is the principal representativeand spokesmanfor the
Maronite Church and for all Maronites everywhere".45
The patriarchal authority addressedby the CCEO is reinforced by the historical leadership
role played by the patriarch since its conception in the seventh century. As has been seen, the
Maronites can be identified as a tribal group with their religious head simultaneously
Maronite
leader
the
the
"The
Patriarch
Labaki
of
was
occupying a civil position.
asserts,
46
Beggiani
Furthermore,
him".
from
beginning
the
states
nation, which
always rallied round
that, "The identity of the Maronite Church is inseparablefrom the role of the Patriarch" and
furthermore, "the patriarch is the embodiment of Maronitc history and Maronite identity". 47

62

Consequently, the patriarch enjoys authority over the community which is extremely difficult
for other leaders (religious or civil) to challenge.
While both denominations acknowledge the patriarch at the head of a hierarchical structure,
this does not necessarily lead to blind acceptanceof his decisions. Several constraints have
been placed on the patriarch. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the authoritarian almost
monarchical structure is surprisingly coupled with a strong populist tradition. Hasan states
that "from time immemorial, it has seen,despite its authoritarian hierarchic structure, an
inordinate amount of lay involvement in church affairs". 48 To a certain extent, the patriarch
has to take into consideration the opinions of the community, especially regarding the
in
late
institutionalised
This
the
dioceses.
bishops
nineteenth century
to
was
placement of
instigated
by
(community
was
the
the
council)
which
al-majlis al-milli
with
establishment of
the laity elite who wished to gain control of the financial and administrative affairs of the
his
to
V
Kyrillos
these
However,
Pope
authority over
a
challenge
as
reformers
saw
church.
the church and the community. As Meinardus suggests,"patriarchs always looked at the
49
Under
their
republican
authorities".
restricted
majlis al-milli as an organization which
in
favour
been
have
the
1952,
the
of the
weakened
council
activities of
governments since
but
in
included
the
Representatives
committee
members voted on to
electoral
are
patriarch.
50
Therefore,
hierarchy,
the
differ
the
patriarch.
especially
the council rarely
church
with
Church,
in
Coptic
Orthodox
important
the
tradition
laity
such
while
participation remains an
activities cannot be described as effective constraints on patriarchal authority.
Occasionally, the Egyptian government has also limited the extent of patriarchal power. In
in
1954
For
invitation
when
the
has
example,
the
church.
of
general, this
occurred at
kidnapped
Patriarch
Nation)
Yusab
Coptic
(The
Umma
al-Qibtiya
members of a radical group
II in an attempt to forcibly deposehim due to the rampant corruption under his reign, the
51

government securedthe return of the patriarch.

63

Aware of the discontent among the Coptic

community, the authorities acceptedthe request of the Holy Synod and the majlis to relieve
him of his powers. Pennington statesthat "The formula is significant in that it legitimized
government intervention in patriarchal appointments, albeit with the support of the
52
large".
Another illustration was the government postponement of patriarchal
community at
elections after the death of Yusab II. Internal disagreementbetween the Synod who wanted
another bishop as patriarch and the reformers who wished to return to the tradition of
53
The
became
decision
be
government
choosing a monk, meant that a
could not
reached.
involved in the process of electing a new patriarch by appointing a patriarchal representative
to promulgate electoral laws. In most instances,once the patriarch is elected, the authorities
have little involvement in church affairs. However, the patriarch must obtain recognition
from the president and in extreme circumstances,this can be revoked as will be explored later
regarding Pope Shenoudain 1981.
Similarly, there are several constraints on the Maronite patriarch. Unlike the Oriental
Orthodox churches where the patriarch is recognised as the head of the church, final authority
in Eastern Catholic churches lies with the Pope - the supremehead of the universal church.
This means that the Vatican is involved in all aspectsof church affairs. The Pope must be
informed of a vacant seeand patriarchal elections. The Pope also has the final decision
regarding the candidate in the sensethat to gain legitimacy, the patriarch must receive
54
law
Although
from
the
Pope.
the
statesthat the patriarch
canon
ecclesiastical communion
is elected solely by the Holy Synod, the Vatican also enjoys influence. While the patriarch in
bishops,
laws
this
in
has
Synod,
electing
Holy
and
passing
the
autonomy
conjunction with
(excluding liturgical laws) applies only within the patriarchal territory. In common with
Maronite
to
the
Christian
Eastern
church
adherents
of
churches, a substantial proportion
most
i.
East.
During
Middle
the
territory
defined
in
longer
the
e.
the
patriarchal
as
no
region
reside
final
decision
The
debate.
fierce
issue
CCEO,
this
raised
process of codification of the

64

retained the historic principle of territory, thus restricting patriarchal power. Pastoral care of
Maronites in the diaspora is provided by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, part of
the Roman Curia. The pope appoints bishops in eparchiesoutside of the patriarchal territory
although there is some contribution by the Maronite Synod who present a list of three
55
candidates. The patriarch is recognised by the community as the head of their church but
the bishop is under the direct authority of the Vatican through the Congregation for the
Eastern Churches. While there has been an increasein co-ordination between the two, this
issue negatively affects the ability of the patriarch to claim to representthe entire Maronite
community when in reality, this is proven only within patriarchal territory.
Another constraint on patriarchal authority is the role of the Holy Synod. The CCEO has
also recognised the Eastern tradition of Synodal governanceand ensured that the patriarch and
the synod are interdependent. The patriarch has the executive role as he convokes and
56
judicial
legislative
The Synod
Synod
Synod
and
presides over the
power.
enjoys
while the
also performs an important function in conducting the elections of patriarchs and bishops.
Regarding the vacant patriarchal see,the Synod members enjoy the exclusive right to elect the
57
Since the twentieth century, the laity have no longer exercised their
new patriarch.
traditional involvement in the electoral process. However, laity participation in church
affairs is provided through the patriarchal assembly, a consultative group which includes two
lay representatives from each eparchy amongst the predominant clerical group. This body
cannot set the agendabut it does at least ensurethat the laity can have some influence on
58

specific matters discussed.

While institutionalised laity participation may be minimal, the

into
Maronite
hierarchy
does
the
take
community
church
popular opinion among
consideration. In conclusion, it is clear that both patriarchs enjoy substantial authority over
their community. As this is derived from canon law, the patriarch enjoys legitimacy to an

65

extentwhich cannotbe replicatedby otherleaders. Using this asa foundation,the headof


thechurchhasthe resourcesto provideboth spiritualandcivil leadershipto the community.

The Historical Experiencesof the Churchesin the Middle East

Since the beginning of the institution of the patriarch, a political dimension has been
involved. In contrast to the process experiencedby the church in Europe, Christianity in the
Middle East was only associatedwith state power for a short period. Yet, the temporal role
of the patriarch was ironically reinforced through centuries of Islamic rule as the patriarch
was identified as the civil leader of their community. The Arab conquest heralded a new
political system in the Middle East - one basedon Islam. Although the Muslim rulers
initially favoured the Christian communities who had been persecutedby the Byzantine
authorities, the fact that the majority of the population of the new empire were non-Muslim
meant that a standard approach to non-believers had to be devised. Islam divided the world
into dar al-Islam (house of Islam) and dar al-harb (house of war). The existence of nonMuslims within dar al-Islam resulted in the need to find a compromise solution. Due to their
possessionof a written revelation from God, both Christians and Jews were termed ahl alkitab (People of the Book). 59 As members of this group, Christians were given three choices
fight
to
Islamic
tributes
to
the
to
through
or
of
against
paying
convert, submit
political rule
MUSliMS.60 The idea of a covenant with non-Muslims was pioneered by Muhammad at
Medina with a Jewish tribe in 623 and at Najran with a friendly Christian community in
636 61 These treaties guaranteed freedom of person, property and religion in exchange for the
.
payment of thefizya (poll tax).

Thus, Christians became known as dhimmi - coverianted

62
people.

66

The different Christian communities were treated as groups who were defined by religion.
According to Masters, these groups can be called taifa (collective group). Once established,
a taifa had a set of rules regarding membership and leadership and could ask Islamic rulers to
63
in
internal
disputes.
As the head of this community, the patriarch was held
mediate
responsible for the conduct of the whole group. In general, the patriarch continued to enjoy
authority over the internal affairs of the community on condition that taxes were paid and that
there was no interference in Islam - the state religion. 64 In order to collect taxes, the
patriarchs were given positions in the administrative system and allocated "civil coercive
65
Although the following statementby Atiya concerns the Assyrian
to
this.
authority"
attain
Church of the East, it can be applied to other headsof churches. "The patriarchs were
beginning to look like civil servantsas much as ecclesiastical dignitaries". 66 Several
patriarchs were sent as envoys on behalf of Islamic rulers. In the ninth century, Coptic
Orthodox Patriarch Josephwas sent to mediate between the Christian king of Nubia and the
Muslim rulers of Egypt while Patriarch Siyus becamethe emissary of the Caliph to the
Byzantine Empire in 1280.67 In exchangefor religious freedom in Lebanon, Maronite
patriarchs used their connections with the Vatican and European Catholic countries to aid the
Druze emirs of Lebanon. Patriarch Yuhanna Makhluf was an adviser to Emir Fakhr al-Din II
and instrumental in securing trading relations and an alliance against the Ottomans, between
the emir and the Grand Duke of Tuscany.68
However, relations were not always cordial. In the medieval era, Coptic Orthodox
patriarchs were often imprisoned by caliphs for ransom money becauseof the initial wealth of
69
Similarly, in times of crisis, the Maronite patriarch became a target for the
the church.
Islamic authorities. For example, Patriarch Daniel was killed in 1282 after resisting the
Marnluks while in 1367, Patriarch Jibrail was burned at the stake 70 In fact, Labaki asserts
.
that the capture of the Patriarch was more prized by enemiesthan the capture of a town. 71

67

Under this system, there was little challenge to the temporal authority of the patriarch. Not
only was the patriarch recognised by the Islamic authorities as the head of the community but
also, there were few opportimities for Christians to attain the statusrequired to rival this
recognisedcivil representative. Non-Muslims were prohibited from political and military
occupations. Their influence was confined to public administration and medicine. Bosworth
concludesthat although Christians were tolerated for their skills, they were still clearly
identified as second class subjects.72 Hence, the ability to acquire a power base independent
from the patriarch was severely limited.
Non-Muslims were given autonomy within the Islamic empire after the Arab Conquest but
it was not until the Ottoman Empire was establishedin the mid-fifteenth century, that this
systembecame institutionalised through the millet system. According to Pacini, "The
religious authorities of each millet acted both as representativesof the members of their millet
73
in
intermediaries
latter
between
the
and as
and central power administrative matters".
Aware that a substantial proportion of the population of the Ottoman Empire was Christian
due to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Ottoman Caliph Mehmet II was keen to
integrate the Christian groups into the administrative system of the empire. Identifying the
Pope as the enemy of the empire, the caliph was favourable towards the Orthodox church.74
In 1454, the Greek Orthodox millet was established,theoretically uniting all Eastern
Christians under one religious authority. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Constantinople
was responsible for all religious, civil, legal, educational and financial affairs in the Christian
75
This
the
Consequently,
the
within
millet.
was
status
millet .
clergy enjoyed a privileged
aided by their economic power over church property. Therefore, Betts suggeststhat the
76

Orthodox Patriarch assumedthe role of a Christian caliph


.

It is clear that the Greek Orthodox Patriarch benefited hugely from this official recognition.
However, other headsof churches were also able to securetheir position as the civil heads of

68

their communities. The religious heads (excluding the Maronite patriarch who relied on
French protection) were given a berat legal recognition of their position. 77 This served to
reinforce the legitimacy of their authority. Due to their historical identity as a national
church, the Armenians were granted their separatemillet in 1461and were able to run their
internal affairs outside of Orthodox control. 78 Yet the geographicaldistance from
Constantinople to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, allowed the Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox
and the Maronite patriarchs to continue to exercisede facto control of their community with
little external interference from the Greek Orthodox.
In the Egyptian case,the development of an indigenous millet system illustrates the close
connection between the Coptic Orthodox community and the Egyptian nation state.
Although nominally part of the Ottoman Empire, due to geographical location, the rulers of
Egypt tended to enjoy autonomous power to a certain extent that allowed the notion of a
distinct Egyptian identity to remain.79 Consequently, it was natural that the figures of the
Sultan and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople would be replaced by the
Egyptian ruler and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch - the leader of the vast majority of
Christians in Egypt. In contrast to the formal establishmentof other millet e.g. those formed
in the nineteenth century to accommodatethe Eastern Catholic branchesof the ancient
churches, there is no precise date of the recognition of the Coptic Orthodox as a separate
in
developments
in
it
have
the formation
Instead,
to
with
millet.
appears
evolved conjunction
of the Egyptian state to become the present millet system that is in operation in contemporary
Egypt.
In contrast, the Maronites did not live under strict millet conditions. This is mainly due to
their isolation in their remote homeland of Mount Lebanon. Similar to Egypt, Mount
Lebanon was officially part of the vast Ottoman Empire. Yet, Ottoman authority rarely
its
due
its
to
tradition of
into
due
deeply
to
this
remotenessand partly
penetrated
area,partly

69

providing a safe haven for different minority groups e.g. Maronites and Druze. Thus,
individual rulers remained relatively independent and in some cases,were favourable to the
Maronite community. 80 The patriarch did liase between the ruler and the community but
Thus, Labaki states
without the senseof inferiority that was inherent in the millet system
.81
that in Mount Lebanon, "They had the constitutional elementsof a nation with its necessary
organization under the leadership of the church headedby the Maronitc Patriarch. They were
82
by
laws".
their
As will be seen,this situation has changed as a
even ruled
own civil
consequenceof the LebaneseCivil War and has evolved into what Rowe terms a "neomillet
system", resembling the situation of other Christian communities in the region. 83 In
conclusion, it can be seenthat centuries of Islamic rule maintained and perhaps enhancedthe
civil authority of the Christian religious leaders in this region. This claim is reinforced by
examining the political activities of previous patriarchs in both case studies.
In the modem era, the temporal authority of the Coptic Orthodox patriarch was still
conditioned by relations with the individual ruler. The reign of Patriarch Peter VII (18091852) coincided with that of Muhammad Ali.

Due to his refusal to accept offers of

protection from the Russian Emperor, Mohammed Ali rewarded him by easing restrictions on
Christians. The short patriarchy of Kyrillos IV (1854-1861) was more controversial.
Known as the "father of Coptic reform", Kyrillos IV enactedvarious reforms in the fields of
education (both clerical and secular), administrative, church building and the purchase of a
84
printing press. While these had a major impact on the internal affairs of the church and can
be regarded partly as a reaction to increasedCatholic and Protestantmissionary activities, the
Patriarch was also active in more political issues. Kyrillos IV was instrumental in restoring
the exemption that Christians traditionally enjoyed from conscription to the armed services.
This had been changed as part of the reforms implemented by Mohammed Ali to provide
equality for all Egyptians regardlessof their religion. The patriarch also tried to increase the

70

foreignrelationsof the Coptic OrthodoxChurch. Although he mediatedon behalf of the


Khedive,his relationswith the RussianOrthodoxChurchpromptedrumourson his deaththat
hewaspoisonedon the ordersof the Khedivewho wassuspiciousof thesecontactsand
85
him
for
leadership.
regarded asa competitor national
In contrast,Kyrillos V (1875-1927)enjoyeda long patriarchythat coincidedwith upheaval
in Egyptianpolitical life, in particularthe British occupationin 1882. Much of his patriarchy
waspreoccupiedwith the continuousstruggleagainstlaity attemptsto gain control over
churchaffairs. Kyrillos V usedRussiandiplomatsto publicisetheseproblemsand
consequently
was exiled by the Khedivefor six months. This eventillustratedthe symbolic
importanceof the Coptic OrthodoxPatriarchasan Egyptianasopposedto solely a Christian
religiousleader. His return from exile wasinterpretedasa victory againstthe British
86
forces
by
Christian
he
Muslim
occupation
crowds. The patriarch
and
and waswelcomed
wasalso sympatheticto the nationalistmovement,supportingthe rebellion led by Ahmed
Orabiin 1882.87Furthermoreduring the 1919Revolution,the patriarchplayedan important
role in preventingthe British authoritiesfrom dividing the opposition. Whena Copt was
offeredthe post of PrimeMinister, the patriarchstronglyadvisedthe candidateto refuse.
Hence,the patriarchyof Kyrillos V is a helpful illustrationof the tendencyof Coptic
OrthodoxPatriarchsto pursuepoliciesthat emphasise
their loyalty to the Egyptiannation.
The era of PatriarchKyrillos VI markedthe beginningsof the internalrevival of the Coptic
OrthodoxChurch. Throughhis cautiousdealingswith the FreeOfficers government,the
patriarchwas ableto usethis understandingto the advantageof the churchespeciallythe
hierarchy. The NassergovernmentabolishedtheMajlis Milli in 1962,thusbringing an end
to the internal friction which hadplaguedthe churchsinceits creationin favour of the
88
build
Kyrillos
VI
to
an agreednumberof
patriarch.
alsosecuredpresidentialpermission
churcheseachyear andthe authorisationof a new patriarchalcathedralin Cairo-89In

71

exchangefor these measures,the patriarch aimed to promote loyalty to the government,


conforming to the traditional millet model of community relations. Thus, the church issued
declarations and held Islamic-Christian meetings during crucial times in national policy such
90
following
1956
Statements
Suez
Arab-Israeli
the
War
1967
the
the
as
and
conflict.
direction of government policy were also given including the condemnation of colonialism,
the Vietnam War and calling for the liberation of Palestine as a duty for all Arabs.91
Kyrillos VI benefited from the personal intervention of Nasser over the Deir al-Sultan issue.
This holy site located on the roof of the Armenian Church of St. Helena in Jerusalem has been
at the centre of a dispute over rightful ownership between the Coptic Orthodox Church and
the Ethiopian Church since the nineteenth century. It became an Egyptian national issue
when Nasser supported the Coptic claims and used diplomatic pressureto ensure that the
Jordanian authorities reinstated the rights of the Coptic church to this site.92 Since this area
came under Israeli control in 1967, the Ethiopians, with the support of the Israeli authorities
have held the keys for the property. Consequently, the general anti-Israeli stanceheld by the
church leadership can also be attributed to this ongoing dispute. According to Pennington,
Patriarch Kyrillos VI mostly avoided participation in national issues,"otherwise than
allowing his name to be used when the government needed formal support from religious
leaders".93 This favourable policy towards the government can be regarded as an effort to
ensure state non-intervention in church affairs.
Due to the relative autonomy of Mount Lebanon under Islamic rule, the Maronite
This
leader
dimension
the
the
has
had
community.
of
was
as
patriarchate
a political
always
94
feudal
the
system. By
challenged by the Maronite lay elite who attained authority through
the fifteenth century, the patriarch was no longer the sole tribal chief

However, class

conflict between the feudal lords and peasantsallowed the patriarchate to reclaim temporal
(1854-1890),
Masaad
Boulus
by
Patriarch
Led
by
the
the
authority
mid-nineteenth century.

72

first of a new generation of patriarchs from peasantbackgrounds,the church leadership


secretly supported peasant revolts against the feudal regime. According to Abraham, this
95
justice
he
freedom
"cheered
"
that
action meant
and
was
as the patriarch of equality,
.

However, the patriarch was also wary of the popularity of the leadersof the revolt, especially
Yusuf Karam whom he regarded as a rival for Maronite political leadership. The church
leadershippursued a path of mediation between the two groups,in order to illustrate that
Maronite political unity vital for the survival of the community could only be achieved
through the patriarchate.96 The defeat of the charismatic Karam who was persuadedby the
patriarch to accept exile in order to ensure peace in Mount Lebanon, eliminated a major
competitor to the temporal authority of the patriarch. This was enhancedby the simultaneous
decline of the Maronite feudal aristocrats. Patriarch Masaadwas also involved in the
tensions leading to the 1860 massacres. He encouragedthe Maronite peasantsin the South to
imitate their co-religionists in the north and rise against the feudal lords. However, as the
notables in this region were predominantly Druze, this action were interpreted as an attempt
by the patriarch to asserthis authority throughout the whole area and consequently, was a
factor in the ensuing conflict. The new political order of the mutasarrijiya, guaranteedby
foreign powers, allowed Patriarch Masaad and his successorsto consolidate temporal power. 97
The patriarchy of Elias Hoyek (1899-193 1) illustrates the political dimension of the office.
During the wartime Ottoman occupation, the patriarch becamea target of the rulers who were
determined to restore their authority over the region. Although finally forced in 1916 to
had
been
Sultan
from
the
legal
the
which
thefirman
accept
community
recognition of
by
Hoyek
Patriarch
the
by
Maronite
efforts
continual
resisted
avoided
previous
patriarchs 98
from
his
this challenge,
him.
Having
to
government exile
safely safeguarded community
the patriarch attended the 1919 Versailles PeaceConferenceas the head of the Lebanese
delegation. His impassioned pleas for an independentLebanon as opposedto incorporation

73

into Syria were instrumentalin securingthe establishment


of GreaterLebanonunderFrench
protection. PatriarchHoyek is considereda foundingfatherof the modemstateof Lebanon.
His statuswas illustratedat the ceremonywhich proclaimedGreaterLebanonwhen the
99
in
High
Commissioner
to
the
patriarchwas secondonly
protocol. Evenwith the
establishmentof the office of president,powerremainedwith the High Commissionerand
thus,the patriarchenjoyedpre-eminenceasthepolitical representative
of the Maronites.
While the patriarchstendedto be firm supportersof France,this affectiondid not prevent
themspeakingout whenLebaneseinterestswerenot served. PatriarchHoyek deploredthe
anticlericalattitudeof High CommissionerGeneralSarrail. His successorPatriarchAntoine
Arida also criticisedFrenchpolicy. A main concernwasthe tobaccomonopolywhich was
'
00
interests
Lebanese
French
the
the
seenaspromoting
at
expenseof
economic
people. The
patriarchalsourgedthe returnof constitutionalgovernmentandthe drafting of a new
101
full
constitutionto allow the Lebaneseto progresstowards
sovereignty. Thedesireofthe
patriarchatefor completeindependence
resultedin an unlikely alliancewith Syriannationalist
leaders. Speeches
by the Patriarchcalling for eachcommunityto receiveits rights in an
independentLebanonwere instrumentalin persuadingMuslim leadersto acceptLebanonasa
separateentity from Syria. This resultedin thepatriarchbecomingthe focal point of
oppositionto Frenchpolicies. Onceindependence
was achieved,the churchleadership
returnedto its traditionalloyalty to Francewhich was still perceivedasbeing the main
guarantorof the activeChristianpolitical presencein Lebanon.
The National Pactwhich allocatedexecutivepowersto the president- who was Maronitereintroducedthe rivalry betweenthe patriarchateandcivil leaders.Accordingto Moosa,"this
is not to saythat the NationalPactdestroyedthe statusof the patriarchasthe spokesmanof
his own people;it renderedit secondaryto that of the presidentin civil matters".102Under
PatriarchBoulosMeouchi (1955-1975),the MaroniteChurchcontinuedto voice its opinion

74

on all aspects of life.

In particular, Meouchi played a major role in the 1958 crisis over both

the pro-Western foreign policies of President Chamoun and the attempts of the president to
gain a second unconstitutional

term of office. 103 By opposing Chamoun, Patriarch Meouchi

demonstrated his awareness of the tense regional environment which was dominated by
Nasser's Arab nationalism and ensured that the conflict did not divide along sectarian lines.
During a 1956 visit to Basta, a poor Muslim suburb of Beirut, the patriarch reiterated that
Lebanon was for its entire people and placards welcomed the "patriarch of Lebanon". 104
Qubain states that while Meouchi was still a fierce protector of Lebanese independence, he
was aware that cordial ties with neighbouring Arab states were vital, "now that the days of
French protection were over". 105 According to Frankel, it appeared to some worried
Maronites that their Patriarch was the "leader of the predominantly Muslim opposition". 106
The Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) witnessed the collapse of patriarchal temporal
authority.

Unlike his predecessors, Patriarch Antonios Khreish (1975-1986) attempted to

stay out of politics, stating "In the past the Maronites were alone and the Patriarch was
everything.

When we gained our republic, the function and role of the Patriarch changed I
...

107
Head
Church
Similarly, he explained that "We in the
the
am
of a
not of a community".
Patriarchal Seat (Bkerke) have no deterrent military force.

We only have moral power which

108
have
in
As the state had disintegrated, many
Lebanon".
the
we
engaged
service of
Maronites still looked to their church to provide leadership, especially in times of crisis.

Few

Maronites agreed with the assertion of the patriarch that he had only moral and not temporal
authority.

Consequently, power within the church shifted from the patriarchate to the

Maronite monk orders. Monks such as Sharbel Kassis and Abbot Boulos Naaman were key
contributors to Christian "ethnic" nationalist ideology that stressed the Islamic threat to
Maronite identity. 109 Thus, the reign of Patriarch Khreish was a sharp contrast to the political
roles undertaken by his predecessors.

75

From this discussion, it can be seenthat on the whole, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch has
been regarded by the different authorities in Egypt since the Arab Conquest to the present
day, as the religious and civil head of the community. The ability of the patriarch to defend
his community has mostly dependedon his relations with the ruler. In general, successive
patriarchs have aimed to co-operate with the Muslim rulers in order to secure the survival and
in
been
have
While
the
the
a position to enjoy temporal
presenceof
never
church.
patriarchs
authority in Egypt -a predominantly Muslim country, the status attachedto the position has
ensuredthat for the Coptic community, the patriarch can lay claim to both spiritual and
have
Maronite
leadership.
In
always enjoyed more overt
political
patriarchs
contrast,
heads
Christian
is
than
This
other
of
temporal
pronounced
more
elements of
much
authority.
churches in the Middle East due to the unique historical circumstances of the Maronite
leaders
have
it
is
However,
that
in
true
Mount
Lebanon.
always
secular
also
community
divided
forces
When
these
or contained as occurred
to
this
are
provided a challenge
role.
from the era of Patriarch Masaad, the patriarch remains the only figure who can unite the
be
better
their
that
if
can
provided
In
needs
the
community.
community perceives
contrast,
by secular leaders, then the patriarch resemblesmore of a symbolic figurehead than an active
political leader.

SUMMAI:
y

This chapterhasillustratedhow influential the positionof patriarchis to the two casestudies


in
invested
the
The
Maronite
Coptic
Orthodox
office
the
authority
the
churches.
and
for
difficult
is
legitimacy
that
any othercommunalactor
to
the
confers
on
patriarch an extent
to attain. %ile therearesomeconstraints,thesedo not detractfrom communalacceptance
historical
important,
the
Equally
head
process
the
the
the
community.
of
of
patriarchas

76

experiencedby these communities has actually served to accentuatethe temporal dimension


of the patriarch. Throughout the centuries, both Coptic Orthodox and Maronite patriarchs
have claimed to act as the civil head of their community. Under Islamic rule, they were
excluded from wider accessto state power but remained the recognisedhead of the
community. Consequently, the absenceof the effects of the secularization process as
experiencedin Europe, has had a major impact on the political role of the patriarchs.
The analysis of previous incumbents demonstratesthat Coptic Orthodox patriarchs tend to
refrain from intervening in national affairs, other than to supportpolicies proposed by the
ruling regime. However, in exchange for this co-operation, they expect to enjoy autonomy
over communal affairs, be consulted by the state on matters affecting Copts and be given
official recognition of their status as the main spokesmanfor the community. In contrast, the
different experience of the Maronites who enjoyed de facto autonomy in Mount Lebanon
allowed Maronite patriarchs to build on their recognised leadershipposition and act as a
spokesmanfor all Lebaneseregardlessof religious affiliation.

While not exercising formal

political authority, successivepatriarchs have been able to use the moral power of their
position to publicise their views on national affairs and exert the ruling elite to act according
to these interests. The Maronite casecan be regarded as a more overt example of the
temporal authority of a patriarch. However, this role is also undertaken by the Coptic
Orthodox Patriarch. Several patriarchs have taken advantageof the undisputed jurisdiction
over the spiritual affairs of the community to exercise authority over the Copts in civil matters
as well. This chapter has demonstratedthat a political dimension to the patriarchal office has
long been recognised by both the communities and rulers. Thus, the discussion on the
political role of Patriarchs Shenoudaand Sfeir must acknowledge this context and
demonstrate the ways in which they have continued and at certain times, transformed this
tradition.

77

I Aziz S Atiya, The Coptic Encyclopaedia (New York, MacMillan Publishing Co, 1991) 1909
p.
2 Wilhelm de Vries, "The origin of the Eastern Patriarchates
and their Relationship to the power of
the Pope" in Thomas E Bird and Eva Pidducheshen (eds), Archiepiscopal and Patriarchal
Autonom (New York, Fordham University, 1972) p. 14
3 Catholic International 6(8) "Our Patrimony of Patriarchs" p. 365
John D Faris, Eastern Catholic Churches : Constitution and Governance (New York, Saint Maron
Publications, 1992) p. 4
5 Francis John Marini, The Power of the Patriarch : An Historical-Juridical Studv of Canon 78 of the
Codex Canonum Ecclesiarurn Orientalum (Rome, Pontificium Institututurn Orientale Facultas luris
Canonici, 1994) p. 39
Otto Meinardus, Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (Cairo, American University in Cairo,
1999) p. 37
7 Jean Corbon, "The Churches of the Middle East: Their Origins and Identity from their Roots in the
Past to their Openness to the Present" in Andrea Pacin! (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab
Middle East: The Challenge of the Future (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1998) p. 93
de Vries, "The origin of the Eastern Patriarchates" p. 19
Corbon, "The Churches of the Middle East" p. 94
10 Aziz S Atiya, A History of Eastern Christianity (London, Methuen & Co Ltd, 1968) p. 44
11 Antonie Wessels, Arab and Christian? Christians in the Middle East (Kampen, Kok Pharos
Publishing House, 1995) p. 126
12 William Montgomery Watt, Muslim-Christian Encounters : Perceptions and Misperceptions
(London, Routledge, 1991) p. 5
13 Faris, Eastern Catholic Churches : Constitution and Governance p. 15
14 Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future
(Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1998) p. 348
15 Ibid p. 348-349
Ronald Roberson, The Eastern Christian Churches :A Brief Surve (Rome, Edizioni, Orientalia
Christiana, 1999) p. 23
16 See Otto F. Meinardus, Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (Cairo, American University in
Cairo Press, 1999) p. 7
Yet, under Patriarch Shenouda, the Coptic Orthodox Church has rejected reconciliation with the
Assyrian Church of the East and blocked its attempts to gain membership of the Middle East
Council of Churches.
See John H Watson, "Christianity in the Middle East" in Anthony O'Mahony and Michael Kirwan
(eds), World Christianity: Politics, Theology. Dialogues (London, Melisende, 2004) p. 217
17 Joseph Maila, "The Arab Christians : From the Eastern Question to the Recent Political Situation
of the Minorities" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The
Challenqe of the Future (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1998) p. 31
18 Wessels, Arab and Christian? Christians in the Middle East p. 127
9 Theodore Hall Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianity: A Historv of the Coptic Orthodox Church
(Greensboro, Fisher Park Press, 1996) p. 38
20 Atiya, A History of Eastern Christianity p. 16
21 Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianitv :A Historv of the Coptic Orthodox Church p. 48
22 Saphinaz-Amal Naguib, "The Era of Martyrs: Texts and Contexts of Religious Memory" In Nelly van
Doom Harder and Kari Vogt (eds), Between Desert and City : the Coptic Orthodox Church Toda
(Oslo, Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, 1997) p. 124
23 Otto Meinardus, Christian Egypt : Faith and Life (Cairo, The American University of Cairo Press,
1970) p. 201
24 Elias el-Hayek, "Struggle for Survival : The Maronites of the Middle Ages" In Michael Gervers and
Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (eds), Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in
Islamic Lands Eiqhth to Eiqhteenth Centuries (Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies,
1990) p. 408
25 Roberson, The Eastern Christian Churches :A Brief Surve p. 23
28 George T Labaki, The Maronites in the United States (Beirut, Notre Dame University of Loualze
Press, 1993) p. 6
27 Faris, Eastern Catholic Churches : Constitution and Governance p. 50
28 Shafiq Abouzayd, "The Maronite Church" in The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity
(Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1999) p. 305
29 Jean-Pierre Valognes, Vie et Mort des Chretiens d'Orient (Paris, Fayard, 1994) p. 371

78

Seely Beggiani, "The Patriarchs in Maronite History"Journal of Maronite Studies (n 2001


www. mari.orq/JMS/ianuarvOl /The Patriarchs in Maronite Historv
Kamal Salibl, "The Maronite Experiment" in Michael D Gervers, and Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (eds),
Conversion and Continuitv: Indiqenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands Ei-qhthto
Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1990) p. 425
31 Robert Brenton Betts, Christians in the Arab East (London, SPCK, 1979) 48
p.
32 Labaki, The Maronites in the United States P. 30
33Meinardus, Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christiani
p. 46
34GH Bebawi, "The Bishop in the Coptic Church Today" in Peter Moore (ed), Bishops but What Kind?
(London, SPCK, 1982) p. 70
35John H Watson, "The Transfigured Cross: A Study Father Bishol Kamel" Coptic Church Review
of
230-2) 2002 p. 36
Bebawi, "The Bishop in the Coptic Church Today" p. 71-2
37Watson, "The Transfigured Cross" 37
p.
3'3Atiya, A Historv of Eastern Christianity p. 123
39This reference by Wakin is intended to explain the significance of the position the Coptic
of
Orthodox Patriarch in terms that would be easily understood by a Western audience. In the West,
the term pope is generally presumed to mean the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church. Using this
term to refer to a religious figure of another denomination, tends to cause confusion concerning
relations with Rome. Furthermore, as the pope enjoys precedence over the heads of the Eastern
Catholic patriarchal churches, this term helps to distinguish between the different hierarchical
figures. In contrast in Egypt, the terms for the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church - patriarch or
pope - are seen as interchangeable as the population is aware of the separate hierarchical structure
of this church.
See Edward Wakin, A Lonely Minority: The Modern Story of Egypt's Copts (New York, William
Morow Company, 1963) p. 115
40Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches Latin English Edition (Washington, Canon Law Society
of America, 1990) p. 25
41Jose Chiramel, "Hierarchical Structuring in the Oriental Legislation" in Jose Chiramel and Kuriakos
Bharanikulangara (eds), The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, A Study and
Interpretation (Alwaye, St Thomas Academy for Research, 1993) p. 107
42George Negundatt, "Churches Sul luris and Rites" in George Negundatt (ed), Kanonika 10 A
Guide to the Eastern Code: A CommentarVon the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches
(Rome, Pontifical Instituto Orientale, 2002) p. 100
43Faris, Eastern Catholic Churches : Constitution and Governance p. 243

44 Ibid p. 218

45Francis J Marini, "The Role of the Patriarch Outside the Middle East" Journal of Maronite Studies
5(1)2001
www. mari.orq/JMS/*anuarvOl/The Role Of The Patriarch.htm
Labaki, The Maronites in the United States p. 19
47Beggiani, "The Patriarchs in Maronite History"
48SS Hasan, Christians versus Muslims in Modern Egypt: The Century-Lonq Struggle for Co1)tl
Equality (New York, Oxford University Press, 2003) p. 236
49Meinardus, Christian Egypt : Faith and Life p. 25
50Paul Sedra, "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict: Coptic Christian Communities in Modern
Egyptian Politics" Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 10(2) 1999 p. 228
51Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianitv :A History of the Coptic Orthodox Church p. 156
52JD Pennington, "The Copts in Modern Egypt" Middle Eastern Studies 18(2) 1982 p. 163
53Meinardus, Christian Eqvr)t: Faith and Life p. 138
54Code
of Canons of the Eastern Churches p. 33
55 Ibid
p. 69

56 Antony Valiayavilayil, "The Notion of Sul luris Church" in Jose Chiramel and Kuriakos
Bharanikulangara (eds), The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches :A Study and Interpretation
(Alwaye, St Thomas Academy for Research, 1993) p. 72
57 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches P. 29
00 Faris, Eastern Catholic Churches : Constitution and Governance p. 342
59 Betts, Christians in the Arab East p. 8
60 Youssef Courbage and Philippe Fargues, Christians and Jews under Islam (London, 113
Tauris
Publishers, 1997) p. 2

79

61 Ibid
p. 21
62 MA Muhibbu-din, "Ahl
al-kitab and Religious Minorities in the Islamic State: Historical Context
and Contemporary Challenges" Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 200) 2000 p. 115
63 Bruce Masters, Christians
and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World : The Roots of Sectarianism
(Cambridge. Cambridge University Press, 2001) p. 63
64 Maurice Assad, "The Coptic Orthodox Church" in Ion Bria (ed), Martyria Mission The
Witness of
:
the Orthodox Churches Today (Geneva, World Council of Churches, 1980) p. 183
Faris, Eastern Catholic Churches : Constitution and Governance p. 7
66 Atiya, A History
of Eastern Christianity p. 272
67 Linda S Northrup, "Muslim-Christian Relations During the Reign
of the Marnluk Sultan al-Mansur
Qalacoun AD 1278-1290" in Michael D Gervers and RamzI Jibran Bikhazi (eds), Conversion and
Continuitv: Indiqenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands Elqhth to Eiqhteenth Studies
(Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1990) p. 258
68 Matti Moosa, The Maronites in Histo (Syracruse, Syracruse University Press, 1986)
p. 281
69 Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianity
:A History of the Coptic Orthodox Church p. 56
70 Valognes, Vie
et Mort des Chretiens d'Orient p. 373
el-Hayek, "Struggle for Survival : The Maronites of the Middle Ages" p. 419
71 Labaki, The Maronites in the United States
p. 19
72 CE Bosworth, "The Concept
of Dhimma in Early Islam" in Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis,
(eds), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The functioning of a Plural Society (London,
Holmes & Meier Publisher Ltd, 1982) p. 49
73 Pacini, Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East
.5
74 Kamal H Karpat, "Millets and Nationality:
The roots of the Incongruity of Nation and State in the
Era" in Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis, (eds), Christians and Jews in the
post-Ottoman
Ottoman Empire : The functionina
of a Plural Society (London, Holmes & Meier Publisher Ltd, 1982)
p. 145

75 Pacini,

Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East P. 5


76 Betts, Christians in the Arab East
p. 15
77 Masters, Christians
and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World p. 88
78 el Hassan bin Talal, Christianitv in the Arab World (London, SCM Press Ltd, 1998)
p. 68
79 Although
part of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt remained a distinct province. This became overt after
the short-lived Napoleonic invasion (1798-1801) which led to the independent leadership of
Muhammad Ali, known as the founder of modern Egypt.
See Philip K Hitfi, History of the Arabs 1oth ed (London, MacMillan, 1970) p. 717-730

80 An
example
See Moosa,
The

of favourable
relations is the rule of Emir Fakhr al-din 11the Great (1590-1635).
The Maronites in Histo
p. 281-3

leader who successfully


spiritual
was the only Christian
avoided
requesting
the firman
Successive
legal recognition
which
of a religious
community.
granted
patriarchs
used
France
their influence
to prevent
powers
especially
as well as the Vatican
with Western
what they
As a consequence
regarded
as a rite of submission.
of the direct Ottoman
occupation
of Mount
Maronite

Lebanon

patriarch

during

See

Engin

Ltd,

1993)

Deniz

War

Akarli,

suggests
Maronite

exercising
leadership

in the

that

Patriarch

Long

Peace:

United

politicians

was forced
Lebanon
Ottoman
Hoyek

P. 15
of the mandate
able to represent

Comparative

The

IB Tauris

and the
Cannuyer,

were

head

of a neomillet

system

of secular
did not
which

in Lebanon
Christian
Groups
and Egypt in
and the Goats?
(ed), Nationalist
Identities
in Islamic
in Maya Shatzmiller
and Minority

McGill-Queen's

Copt

Press,

University

p. 100-101

2005)

ibn Egypt

Coptic

Egypt

Muslim

1906-1919"
: The

Christians

World

of the

Nile

75(2)
(London,

1985

Church

p. 128
of Nation-building
p. 110

Thames

& Hudson

2001)

p. 101
88 Partrick,
Traditional

& Co

years of civil
the church

"Class

Muslim

87 Christian

in 1916.

(London,

p. 224
cleavages
and Ethnic Conflict"
Partrick,
Orthodox
Traditional
Eastern
Christianity
:A Historv
of the Coptic
Air! Tamura,
"Ethnic
in the Course
Consciousness
and its Transformation
Sedra,

firman

Sheep

Perspective"
(London,

the

state of Lebanon
until the last
the community
and prevented
However,
the collapse
system.

authority
associated
millet
with a traditional
itself at the
has allowed
to position
the church
"The

to accept
1861-1920

States

the formation

since

secular

exist previously.
See Paul S. Rowe,
Societies

One,

The

p. 165-174
The Maronites

2 Labaki,
3 Rowe
war,

World

Eastern

Christianity

:A

History

80

of the

Coptic

Orthodox

Church

p. 165

Ltd,

89 John H Watson, Among the Copts (Brighton, Sussex Academic Press, 2000) p. 46
90 Meinardus, Christian Eqvpt: Faith and Life p. 49-50
91 Sedra, "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict" p. 225
92 Meinardus, Christian Egypt: Faith and Life p. 464-465
93 Pennington, "The Copts in Modern Egypt" p. 168
94 Richard
van Leeuwen, The Political Emancipation of the Maronite Church In Mount Lebanon Lt73L1842) (Amsterdam, Middle East Research Associates Occasional Paper No. 8,1990) p. 7
95 Antoine Abraham, "Lebanese Communal Relations" Muslim World 67(2) 1977 p. 91
96 Akarli, The Lonq Peage: Ottoman Lebanon 1861-1920 p. 164
97 Samir Khalaf
and Guilain Denoeux, "Urban Networks and Political Conflict in Lebanon" in Nadim
Shehadi and Dana Hoffar Mills (eds), Lebanon :A History of Conflict and Consensus (London, 113
Tauris & Co Ltd, 1988) p. 129

Picard, "The Dynamics of the Lebanese Christians: From the Paradigm of the Ammiyyat to the
Paradigm of Hwayyek" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The
Challenqe of the Future (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1998) p. 215
Akarli, The Lonq Peace: Ottoman Lebanon 1861-1920 p. 180
loo Philip Khoury, Syria and the French Mandate (London, 113
Tauris & Co Ltd, 1987) p. 452

101 Stephen H Longrigg, Syria and Lebanon Under French Mandate (New York, Octagon Press, 1972)
p. 205
102 Moosa, The Maronites in History 296

p.
103Paul A Jureidini and James M Price, "Minorities in Partition : The Christians of Lebanon" In RD
McLaurin (ed) The Political Role of Minority Groups in the Middle East (New York, Praeger
Publishers, 1979) p. 170
104Ephraim A Frankel, "The Maronite Patriarch : An Historical Review of a Religious Za'im in the 1958
Lebanese Crisis" The Muslim World 66(3) 1976 p. 223
105Fahim I Qubain, Crisis in Lebanon (Washington, Middle East Institute, 1961) p. 44
106Frankel, "The Maronite Patriarch : An Historical Review of a Religious Za'irn in the 1958
Lebanese Crisis" p. 213
107Picard, "The Dynamics of the Lebanese Christians" p. 212
108Moosa, The Maronites in History p. 301
logWalid Khalidi, Conflict and Violence in Lebanon : Confrontation In the Middle East (Cambridge,
Centre for International Affairs, 1979) p. 70
Raymond G Helmick, "Internal Lebanese Politics : The Lebanese Front and Forces" in Halim
Barakat (ed), Toward a Viable Lebanon (London, Croom Helm, 1988) p. 312

81

ChaDter Three - The Twentieth Century Nationalist Alternative


to Political Representation by Religious Leaders

Introduction

The previous chapter has illustrated that since the birth of Christianity, the patriarchal
churches in the Middle East have enjoyed significant temporal authority. Although
individuals were able to attain key positions in the administrative system of the various
Islamic empires, responsibility for the political representationof Christians was conceded to
the church hierarchy. However, this exclusive role has been challenged by other members of
the community. The key priority was to discover a strategy where they could be fully
involved in society as equals with their Muslim compatriots, thus not needing to resort to
religious protection. From the late nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century, nationalism
was perceived as the best approach. For the purposes of this study, a distinction can be made
between Arab nationalism (acknowledging the existenceof an Arab nation), Egyptian
nationalism (restricted to Egyptian national identity) and Lebanesenationalism (more overtly
Christian with less focus on Arabism).
Christians throughout the Ottoman Empire were able to take advantageof the opportunities
offered by the tanzimat reform process. The tanzimat introduced the notion of citizenship
regardless of religious adherenceand opened up possibilities for Christians to escapetheir
historical dhimmi status. This led to their active participation in the development of the
nationalist currents that became popular in the region from the early twentieth century
onwards. However in the independenceera, the shortcomings of nationalist ideologies were
exposed. In short, regimes failed to permanently transcendreligious identities and unite all
citizens as equals under the banner of nationalism. Lacking legitimacy partly due to the

82

failure to deliver socioeconomic improvements, political participation, Arab unity and


military victories, the appeal of nationalism began to wane throughout the region. Since the
1970s, political Islam has gown to become the main political alternative to the existing
regimes. As yet, an Islamic system has not been widely implemented in the region.
However, if its proponents were to achieve power at a future date, this could hinder the ability
of Christians to gain full equality and rights. In an environment where Islamists are regarded
as the main opposition to the existing regimes, the perception of vulnerability among
Christians is likely to increase, leading to a renewed emphasison religious identity and
affiliation.
Although relevant regional trends will be discussed,this chapter will focus primarily on
developments in Egypt and Lebanon and their effect on the Coptic Orthodox and Maronites
Although
Egypt possessesa distinct
interesting
This
comparison.
respectively.
provides an
identity and heritage, it has long been regarded as one of the leading powers in the region and
became a key proponent of pan-Arabism. In contrast, Lebanon offers a unique example
differed
by
Maronite
dominant
the
the
community
significantly
where
nationalism supported
from the mainstream ideological current. The two countries are also characterisedby
opposing development strategies- authoritarian statist in Egypt and laissez-faire in Lebanon.
An overview of the contemporary political concerns of the Christians in the two countries
(Egypt and Lebanon) highlights their uneaseat the present situation. Therefore, any political
leader of the community will be measuredandjudged by their responseto these issues.

The Emergenceof Nationalism in the Middle East and Christian Involvement

The reforms undertaken by the Ottoman authorities in the nineteenth century had an
important impact on the Christian communities in the region. The modernization measures

83

championed by Muhammad Ali, known as the founder of modem Egypt who ruled the
country from 1801-1851, proved to be the catalyst for this process. Underhisregime,
qualified Christians were allowed to achieve high positions in government. Betts argues that
"During his long administration, Copts rose to positions of great authority both privately and
within the government and in a relatively short period came to form the backbone of the
Egyptian civil service". ' This opennessencouragedmany Christians to emigrate to Egypt,
2
in
in
Christian
flourishing
Cairo.
Western influence on
resulting a variety of
communities
the Ottoman Empire also hastenedreforms. By the eighteenth century, the European powers
had proclaimed that safeguarding the Christians of the Ottoman Empire was a primary foreign
policy concern. However, this interest in Eastern Christians can be seenmerely as an
extension of the great power rivalries during this era. In the nineteenth century, the growth of
British and French demandsthat full equality be granted to Christians can partly be attributed
to their desire to ensure that Russia had no excuse to militarily intervene on behalf of
Orthodox Christians. 3 Ottoman officials were also in favour of reform as not only were they
wary of European intentions, they also believed that if the empire was to survive, it would
4
institutions
Western
to
the
need adopt
model of a nation state with strong
and an army.
Consequently, the Sultan instigated the tanzimat (reform) process.
The Gulhane decreesproclaimed by Sultan Abdulmekid in 1839 were the first changesto
the political system. These tried to introduce the concept of Ottomanism where all were
5

equal subjects regardlessof religion or language. All individuals were made directly
responsible for paying tax and military service. Thus, one of the major historical
6

distinguishing features thefizya (poll tax) - was abolished


.

While Christians tended to

support these reforms, they were rarely implemented at the local level. The next stage was
the Hatti Humayun decreesin 1856. These proclaimed that as all subjects were equal,
Christians were now citizens of the empire. Discrimination on the basis of religion would no

84

longer be tolerated, Christians would be eligible for military service and legal discrimination
7
be
would
abolished. These proclamations can be regarded as revolutionary. For the first
time, an Islamic state had tried to abolish the ideas inherited from the Covenant of Umar,
proposing instead that all citizens were equal. These measuresreceived a hostile reaction
from many Muslims.

While economic issueshad been an underlying cause of tension in the

past, this had usually been tempered by awarenessof their dhimmi status. Courbage explains
the difference that the tanzimat brought. "When political equality was suddenly proclaimed,
economic inequality became a provocation, andjealousy was no longer balanced by
,8

compassion'.

Some Muslims opposedthe reform processbecauseit was seen as breaking

the fundamental values of the Islamic state as the inequality between believers and nonbelievers preached in the Quran was no longer practised. Consequently, there were several
incidents of sectarian violence, particularly in the geographical region of Syria. One notable
example was in Mount Lebanon where communal violence between Maronites and Druze
erupted in 1860. In only four weeks, 12,000 Maronites were killed, over 3000 died of
starvation and disease, 10,000 were made refugees and many churches and Christian villages
9
burnt.
This conflict spilled over into Damascuswhere the placement of a large bell on
were
a church apparently acted as the catalyst for the Muslim population to set fire to the Christian

Quarter.10 Yet in spiteof this violence,the tanzimatradically alteredthe position andstatus


of Christiansin the empireandprovideda strongfoundationfor their subsequent
efforts under
the nationalistmovementsto participatein political affairs.
Christiansenjoyeda pioneeringrole in the literary revival (the nahda)which occurredin
GreaterSyria from the mid-nineteenthcenturyonwards. The modernistliterary trend
identified the existenceof an Arab nationbasedon a sharedlanguage,cultureandhistory."
The ChristianscholarButrus al-Bustaniarguedthat both Muslims andChristianscould
identify with the commonland, languageandculturalheritage. Basedon this premise,the

85

Arab nation al-umma al-'Arabiyya automatically included Christians.12 In order to achieve


this, he stressedthat religious tolerance was vital and religion must be separatedfrom
13
Christian scholars played a leading role in this nahda. According to Salibi, "The
politics.
men of the Arab renaissancewere Christians whose Christianity did not deter them from
loving the heritage of their predominantly Muslim society, and worked tirelessly to revive
it2q.14 They established literary societies to discuss these ideas and journals to communicate
15
Arabism
Participants in these societies were
their concepts of
to the wider public.
predominantly Christian and although some Muslims joined at a later date, they tended to be
members of the elite rather than ordinary citizens. According to Tibi, the nahda remained a
literary movement as the environment was not conducive to a more overt political approach 16
.
However, the Christian scholars in the vanguard of the movement played a crucial role in
introducing the notion of an Arab nation with a heritage separatefrom that of the Ottoman
Empire. Yet, Khalidi statesthat their concept of Arabism had little immediate impact on the
Muslim majority. 17 Instead, their influence was confined to accentuating the importance of
education and mass communication.
The ideas raised in the nahda were adaptedtowards the political realities of the late
nineteenth century. Under the despotic rule of Sultan 'Abd al-Hamid 1, the Ottoman Empire
continued its decline in direct contrast to increasing Western influence in the region.
Throughout the empire, Westernised military officers formed secret societies which aimed to
halt this process and restore its former power. In the Arab provinces, this loss of confidence
in the Ottoman authorities led to increasedsupport for the deccntralisation of the region,
18
partly in order to prevent further Western penetration. The notion of a distinct Arab
identity became a usefiil tool in providing justification for the above demands. Thetension
between the Arab provinces and the central government increasedwith the 1908 Young Turks
revolution. The Turkification processpursued by the officers which included the use of the

86

Turkish language in administration,


Arabs, significantly

courts and schools throughout the empire, alienated most

including a substantial amount of Muslims. ' 9 Oncemore,

decentralisation. became a key demand.

Arab nationalism was seen as a viable alternative to

the ruling Turkish nationalism which appeared to exclude other identities.


it was Turkification

Salibi argues that

rather than the merits of Arab nationalism alone, which resulted in

Muslim acceptance of its role. 20 These activities culminated in the first Arab Congress held
in Paris in 1913 which was attended by both Christians and Muslims.

Its resolutions

included the recognition of the Arab people, proportional representation in the central
administration,

decentralisation for the Arab provinces and recognition of Arabic as an

official language.

However, the participants still stressed their loyalty to the Ottoman

Empire. 21

The outbreak of World War One had a major impact on the movement. The arrest and
execution of leading activists during 1915-1916 by the government proved the catalyst for the
1916 Arab Revolt. 22 Guaranteedan Arab Kingdom by the British, Sharif Husain of Mecca
led an uprising against the Ottomans. This was the first united action taken by the Arab
nationalists and turned their causeinto a populist movement. However, the long sought after
Arab state failed to materialise due to the division of the Ottoman Empire into mandatesby
the European powers. Defeat for Turkey meant that Ottomanism was no longer a viable
Arab
Consequently,
Arabs
the
to
the
support
movement - even
came
option.
majority of
23
its
demise.
The founding doctrine of the
those who had been loyal to the empire until
history
language,
land,
due
to
and culture, Arabs
a shared
movement remained constant were a nation and thus should be politically representedthrough their own state. According
to Tibi, disillusionment at the colonial regimes resulted in the loss of liberal elements of the
frequently
into
developed
"It
and
populist
reactionary,
an
apologetic,
aggressive
movement.
ideology". 24 Nuseibeh statesthat Arab nationalism was mostly basedon negatives - defined

87

by what it opposedrather than what it stood for. 25 Hence, it becameanti-imperialist.


Concentrating on achieving an Arab statewas at the cost of excluding discussion concerning
the type of state desired. This meant that differences existed over what type of nationalism to
pursue- pan-Arabism or loyalty to the new individual states,thus severely damaging the
chancesof attaining the Arab nation state envisagedby the nahda scholars.
Christian support during the different phasesof Arab nationalism outlined above remained
constant. However since World War One, their role as instigators of the nahda was
26
by
Muslim
superseded
political activists. Once Muslims becameconvinced of the merits of
Arab nationalism, Christians returned to their traditional place as a minority with only a few
individuals taking leading positions. Consequently,Pharesstatesthat while it may have been
formulated by Christians, the movement was largely made up of Muslims. 27 This is
particularly crucial regarding the often ambiguousrelationship betweenArab nationalism and
Islam. For Muslims, Islam was at the heart of Arab identity due to its impact on the history
of the region and the significance of Arabic being the languageof the Qur'an. It was not
until Islam was given a more prominent role that Arab nationalism becamea populist
ideology.28 Christians had to acceptthe specialplace of Islam in the Arab nation. Salibi
statesthat they acknowledgedthe historical role of Muhammad as the leader who united the
Arab nation and bequeathedthe Islamic civilisation. 29 Yet this clearly differs from the
original concept of the Arab nation which promoted ethnicity over religion. Christians were
still eagerto support the Arab nationalist movementas they were aware that an Arab nation
stateoffered the best opportunity to have an equal role in society and that any alternatives
were likely to reintroduce the dhimmi concept. In Syria, the geographicalheart of the
movement, severalChristian figures were influential in developing aspectsof Arab nationalist
ideology and applying it to practical politics e.g. Michel Aflaq, a key ideologue of the Ba!th
30
Party
in
Socialist
Nationalist
1930s.
Antun
Syrian
the
Sa'ada
founded
party and
the
who

88

Consequently,although Islam was a major component in Arab nationalism, the belief that a
common languageand culture also contributed to Arab identity, meant that this nationalist
movement provided the first opportunity for Eastern Christians to participate on equal terms
with Muslims concerning their political future.

The EgvDtian

Context

In Egypt, Christians were active participants in the early nationalist movement. As


illustrated earlier, the Coptic Orthodox community recognisesitself and is acceptedas an
indigenous group to Egypt. In fact, since the late nineteenthcentury, it becamecommon for
Copts to describethemselvesas the true Egyptians, descendedfrom their ancient Pharaonic
ancestors. However in reality both communities can take equal pride in this heritage as most
Egyptian Muslims can trace their origins to Copts who convertedto Islam.31 Yet, relations
betweenthe Christian and Muslim communities were tenseat the beginning of the twentieth
century, partly as a consequenceof the British occupation since 1882. Some Copts had
apparentlyhoped that they would be favoured with govemmentpositions by their
32
by
Egyptian
Muslims.
Ties were
coreligionists, which was met with resentment some
severelystrained when Prime Minister Boutros Ghali -a Copt - was assassinatedin 1910 by a
Muslim nationalist. Many Copts believed that he had beenkilled primarily becausehe was
Christian.33 Consequently,a Coptic Congressorganisedby influential Coptic figures was
held in Assiut in 1910 and published a list of demands- better representation,the end ofjob
discrimination and unequal education,and Sundayas a weekly holiday for Christians.34
However in response,Muslims held their own Congressat Heliopolis in 1911,rejecting the
Assiut demandsas a Coptic conspiracyand declaring Islam the official religion of the state.35

89

Yet this tenseperiod was followed by a time of unprecedentedco-operation between


Egyptian Christians and Muslims. Under the leadershipof SaadZaghlul, Egyptians - both
Muslim and Christian were united in opposing the British occupation. As head of the
Wafd, Zaghlul was keen to stressEgyptian national unity. While his inclusion of Copts in
the initial delegation may have been primarily a token gesture,it quickly becamegenuine due
to their skills, particularly in legal matters,speechmaking and foreign languages.36 The
Coptic members of the Wafd also proved to be amongstthe most loyal. For example,
Makrarn Ebeid and Sinut Hanna were imprisoned and exiled by the British authorities, thus
ensuring that they were supportedby all Egyptians. TheseCoptic notables clearly believed
that stressingtheir credentialsas nationalists was the best way to ensurean equal future in
Egypt. While this may have been a political tactic, they were also genuinely dedicatedto
achieving Egyptian independence. A 1923speechby Makram Ebeid statedthat "all
Egyptians, Copts and Muslims are brothers,becausetheir mother is Egypt and their father is
ZaghloUl".37 According to Hasan,they "rightly calculated that in the long term it was more
important for them to gain Muslim toleranceby proving their loyalty to the national cause
38
Christian
than to count on the remote and not always effective alien
support". Furthermore,
communal co-operationwas not confined solely to the elite. Valognes writes that the 1919
Revolution is renowned for its symbols of national unity which were able to mask the
39
interlocked
WafJ
For
the
was
an
emblem
cross
previous religious antagonisms.
example,
within a crescent. Similarly, Father Sergios,a Coptic priest, led a demonstrationto al-Azhar
mosquein protest at the exile of Zaghlul and becamethe first Christian to preach at this
famous Sunni institution 40 Copts denouncedany attemptby the British to use religion to
.
divide the movement such as the appointmentof a Coptic Prime Minister in 1919.
Consequently,Carter statesthat 'The Coptic reward for providing both leadersand
followers to the movementwas substantiveincorporation into the post-independencepolitical

90

41

system".

Ghali

42

The first Wafd cabinet included two Coptic ministers Murqus Hanna and Wasif
-

The popular support for the Wafd also meant that Coptic candidateswere able to

win in predominantly Muslim districts e.g. Makram.Ebeid in the Cairo area of Sayyida
43

Zaynab
.

In general, Christian representationwas significant whenever the Wafd were

victorious. For example, 16 were electedin 1924 and 1926, which then rose to 20 in 1936.44
Furthermore, the Wafdist Copts were eagerto be seenas Egyptians rather than being
identified by their religion. When devising the 1923 Constitution, few objected to Islarn
being described as the statereligion becauseother articles declared equality for all. 45 They
also rejected to being classified a minority group. Instead,they argued that the only
difference was religion. Egyptian Copts and Muslims sharedthe same language,ethnicity,
culture and traditions. Consequently,most Egyptians acceptedthat Copts were only a
minority in a strictly numerical sense. The majority of Coptic activists in the Wafd were
strongly against including legislation to protect minorities, especially through the use of
reservedseats. They arguedthat this was an attempt by Britain to remain involved in
Egyptian internal affairs and would result in a permanentdivide on religious lines. Instead,
they were confident that Copts would be able to enjoy full participation as Egyptian citizens.
The fact that Coptic candidatesactually won more seatsin 1924than would have been
possible under a proportional representationsystemwas seenas proof of their successin
achieving equality in Egyptian society.46
However, the high expectationsraisedby the Wafd were not fulfilled.

The party was

47 makram
drastically weakenedafter the deathof Zaghlul which led to a successionCriSiS.
Ebeid's decision to form a splinter party al-Kutla also intensified internal disunity. 48
Although this era is regardedas the Golden Age of communal relations, simultaneously,the
underlying Islamic current in Egyptian politics becameprominent once more with the
founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. Wafd commitment to Coptic equality declined

91

and in order to gain votes, the party allied with the Muslim Brotherhood in 1950 with only
49
Coptic
seven
candidatesenjoying success. Consequently,the Coptic community believed
that their best opportunity to attain equality and participation in the Egyptian statehad passed
by without achieving adequateresults. Nisan concludesthat "Tbe struggle for an egalitarian
pluralistic polity had been a Wafd ideal but not an Egyptian reality" 50
.

The LebaneseContext

In contrast to Christian support for Arab nationalism in Greater Syria, the Maronites in
Lebanon developed their own form of nationalism. Amongst some Maronite circles, a strong
attachmentwas formed to the idea of a separatenation with Mount Lebanon as the historical
homeland. In order to justify theseclaims, intellectuals stressedthe separateethnic identity
of the Maronites. One influential approachwhich beganin the late nineteenth century was to
link the Maronites of modem Lebanon with the Phoenicians the ancient Lebanesetraders,in
order to illustrate that their origins were not found in Arab or Islamic civilization. Both
functioned as a trading and intellectual centre for the region and cover the samegeographical
areae.g. Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. The Phoenicianmovementwas primarily an intellectual
one led by figures such as Charles Corm, Michel Chiha (ChaldeanChristian) and Said Aql
who founded Phoenician clubs andjournals.51 This heritagewas used to justify Lebanese
Christian demandsfor a separatepolitical state. Salibi criticises this approacharguing that
there are no direct factual links betweenthe Phoeniciansand modem Lebanese,and even if
thesedid exist, it would not exclusively apply to the Maronites but instead affect all
Lebanese.52 Another rejection of Arabization was the claim that the Maronites are
descendants of the Mardaites, a tribal group used by the Byzantine rulers to resist the Arab
53
conquest.

92

These ideas were influential in the developmentof a separateChristian (predominantly


Maronite) nationalism. The establishmentof an independentLebanesestatewas regardedby
some as a meansto securelegal recognition of the Maronite homeland. However, there were
divisions over the function of a Lebanesestate. On the one hand, figures such as Emile Edde,
believed that the primary role of Lebanon was to be a refuge for Christians in the Middle East.
He suggestedthat an independentstatebe basedon the boundariesof Mount Lebanon to
54
On the other hand, there was more
Christian
ensurea significant
population majority.
support for "Greater Lebanon". Although accepting Christianity as a major factor in the
identity of Lebanon, supportersof this option regardedthe country as a national homeland for
all its citizens. Support for the larger option was also motivated by the need to ensurethat it
would be economically viable.
The Maronite desire for a homeland coincided with French interests in the Middle East.
Hence, the French mandate was announced in 1919 and established Greater Lebanon.

Areas

with a significant Muslim population such as Tyre, Saida and the Beqaa Valley were annexed

into the new state.55 Consequently,the 1932 censusillustrated the slight majority enjoyed by
Christians. Out of a total of 793,426citizens, 28.7% were Maronite, 9.7% Greek Orthodox,
5.9% Greek Catholic with a total of Christian citizens of 51.3%. Sunnis were 22.4%, Shiites
19.6% and Druze 6.7% with a total of 48.8%.56 Although the Maronites dominated the
mandatestate,hostility from many Muslims who had been forcibly incorporated into what
was perceived as a Maronite Christian state,meant that they were almost solely dependenton
French authorities to ensurethe survival of their state. The Maronite community was still
split betweentwo trends. The National Bloc led by Emile Edde regardedLebanon primarily
as a homeland for Middle East Christians and supporteda specialrelationship with France.
In contrast,the Constitutional Bloc led by Bishara al-Khuri advocatedfull collaboration with
other communities in order to attain independencewhich was regardedas necessaryto pursue

93

their common political and economic interests.57 With increasedSunni political participation
since the establishmentof constitutional governmentin 1926, the secondoption gained
ground. In the immediate period of independence,it was hoped that Lebanesenationalism
could expand to incorporate membersof all the confessionsrather than be restricted solely to
one group - the Maronites. Yet it was clear even at this stage,that there was a crucial dispute
regarding the identity of Lebanon. Was it to be a country where members of different
confessionscould coexist or would it be, in essence,a Maronite state?

The Shortcomingsof Nationalism as a Strategyfor Christians in the


IndependenceEra

One of the key aims of the nationalist movements- independence- was attained as a
consequenceof World War Two. In return for support against the Axis powers, Britain and
Francepromised immediate independenceonce hostilities ended. Owen statesthat although
Arab governmentswere not really ready for independence,the colonial powers fulfilled their
58
promises. However, the granting of independencedid not achieve the Arab nationalist
dreamof a pan-Arab state. Instead,the creation of new "artificial" statesensuredthat this
ambition remained unfulfilled as the populations gradually transferredtheir loyalty to the
individual Arab countries. The newly independentgovernmentswere immediately faced
with challengesassociatedwith developing states. For example,population figures increased
at a higher rate than economic growth leading to unemployment,poverty and struggling
welfare systems. Post-colonial governmentsdevelopedinto authoritarian,often military
regimesthat tended to have a charismatic leaderand developeda one party monopoly. A
seriesof military coups occurTed:the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy by the Egyptian
Free Officers in 1952,military rule in Syria since 1949culminating in the seizureof power by

94

the Ba'thist party in 1963 and the 1958Revolution in Iraq against Hashemite rule which
also
led to Ba'th rule in 1968.59
Arab nationalist rhetoric was used as a legitimising tool in order to gain support from the
people. The idea of a united Arab statewas still proclaimed by the new leaders. The
populist pan-Arabism favoured by the Egyptian leaderGamal Abdel Nasserwas attractive to
many. Similarly, the Ba'thists clearly statedthat loyalty to Arab unity - al-qawmiyYat alarabiyya should be prioritised over patriotism to a specific state- wataniyya.60 However, the
Arab nationalist regimes were unable to make a significant material impact, leading to

situation which can be describedas a crisis of state. Continual population growth and
urbanisation resulted in huge unemploymentand housing shortages.61 The widening gap
betweenthe wealthy few and the impoverishedmassesbecamemore apparent. Corruption
among the ruling elite was rife, illuminating economic incompetence. Arab nationalism was
now identified with socialist principles but was unable to solve the political, economic and
social problems affecting the region. The failure to attain socioeconomicgains never mind
the lofty goal of Arab unity led to the erosionof legitimacy for the Arab nationalist
governments. Instead,regimes becamesingle party stateswith little political participation.
Political power in the military stateswas concentratedin the position of president and
supportedby the judiciary, military, police and intelligence services.62 The loss of populist
suPPortwas a factor in the increaseduseof repressionas the main meansof retaining power.
Arab nationalism was also adverselyaffected by the rivalry betweendifferent movements
eagerto take the lead role in the region. This was particularly true of Egypt and Syria - the
two main state instigators of Arab nationalism. Although the majority of Arabs continued to
seethemselvesas "one cohesivecultural entity", in practice, attachmentwas given to the
individual states.63 This was illustrated in 1958with the creation of the United Arab
Republic (UAR)

between
disagreements
Syria.
The
between
Egypt
the two
union
and
-a

95

parties over Egyptian domination were a major causeof its dissolution in 1961. Thissplit
highlighted that Arab nationalism had splintered into different ideologies that were closely
connectedto a specific state. It also confirmed that identification with the so-called artificial
nation stateshad been achieved to a certain extent. By this stage,pan-Arab nationalism
could no longer be considered a practical political policy for the region but was instead
reduced to solely rhetorical claims.
A further blow to the Arab nationalist vision was the failure of the Arab statesto defeat
Israel after its creation in 1948. While concern had grown regarding Jewish immigration to
Palestine in the early twentieth century, it was not until the actual establishment of a Jewish
statethat the fate of the Palestiniansbecamea rallying point for Arabs. As the majority of
the regimes which fought Israel were dominated by the armed forces, the lack of military
successundermined their credibility.

The final catalyst of the waning power of Arab

nationalism was the humiliating Arab defeat in the Six Day War in 1967. Not only did the
Israeli army rout Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian forces but their successalso allowed them to
64
expand their territory to include the holy city of Jerusalem. This illustrated that the Arab
leaderspursued policies perceived to be in the interests of the individual state rather than
those of the entire Arab nation including the Palestinians. Furthermore, it was also an
irrevocable blow to the once dominant Arab nationalist movement and cruelly highlighted
that this long proclaimed myth had been shattered. Kramer notes that in the end, Arab
65
"produced
little
liberty,
nationalism
very
equality or even revenge". The ideological
movement which had been championed as an indigenous solution to multiple challenges
instead,
led
to a crisis of state environment.
to
to
the
proved unable rise
complex situation and
In contrast to the earlier phasesof the Arab nationalist movement, few Christians were
actively involved in the military regimes, primarily due to the absenceof high ranking
Christian military officers. 66 Yet as the founding constitutions still stressedthe equality of

96

citizens regardless of religion or ethnicity, many ordinary Christians were initially favourable
towards the nationalist revolutions in the hope that they would provide the framework for
equal participation in Arab society. However, the versions of Arab nationalism followed by
the independent statesproved remote from Christian aspirations. The authoritarian nature of
the nationalist regimes did not provide the liberty and equality sought by Christians. Some
regimes attempted to highlight the Islamic heritage of Arab nationalism in order to deflect
criticism concerning the political and economic performance of the government. Although
the majority of the Arab nationalist statescould still be described as "secular" during this
period, it can be argued that the constitutional guaranteeof full equality regardless of religious
affiliation was not fully implemented. As the casestudy of Egypt will demonstrate,
Christians became disillusioned with the path taken by the ruling Arab nationalist regimes.
By discarding dhimmi status, the founding laws and constitutions of the Arab nationalist
regimes did offer Christians some protection from the Islamic system of managing other faith
communities which they had lived under from the days of the Arab conquest. However, in
practice, these regimes failed to fulfil the perhaps lofty ambitions that Christians had come to
associatewith Arab nationalism.

The Egyptian Context

During this phase of the Arab nationalist ideology, developments in Egypt mirrored those
described above. The 1952 Free Officers Revolution abolished the monarchy and ascribed
political power to the military.

Within a short period, this was concentrated in the position of

67
Yet
due
intelligence
by
to his
the
services.
president, supported
military, police and
charisma, Nasser did enjoy initial populist support for Pan-Arabism, especially after his
Suez
Canal in 1956.
Israel
the
in
France
Britain,
over
perceived success challenging
and

97

This proved short-lived as Nasser the champion of pan-Arabism could not deliver the
socioeconomic benefits desired by the Egyptian population, failed to achieve victory in the
Arab-Israeli wars and apart from the temporary union with Syria, achieved little concrete
successin furthering moves towards Arab unity.
The formation of the military regime also had a significant impact on the Christian
community in Egypt. Although officially proclaimed a secular ideology, the links between
Pan-Arabism and Islam were extremely strong in contrast to the situation at the turn of the
century. Following the precedent set during the Wafd era, freedom of religion was
constitutionally guaranteedbut Islam as the religion of the vast majority of Egyptians was
acknowledged as the state religion. The lack of Coptic figures in the upper ranks of the
military excluded close involvement in the new regime. A by-product of several policies
followed by the government was the decline of influence of the Coptic elite. Their status in
the community was adversely affected by the abolition of the al-majUs al-milli (community
68
As described in Chapter Two, the al -majlis al -milli had long been a source of
council) .
body
by
between
the
the elite to exert
the
the
used
main
and
was
conflict
elite
church and
their influence over both the church hierarchy and the community. Nasser was keen to
disband any independent organisation that could have the capacity to become the focus of
opposition to the regime. In 1955, a presidential decreedismantled the separatereligious
courts (a residue of the millet system) and unified the personal status laws. As the council
presided over these courts, its influence diminished. The Coptic elite was dealt a fatal blow
with the resolution of the waqf (land which provided income for the church) problem. As
land
its
had
the
church
over two hundred
confiscated
part of
nationalization policy,
regime
feddans. Not only did this deprive the church of important revenues,it also further curtailed
the authority of the elite by threatening its involvement in the financial affairs of the
69
In 1960, Nasser agreedto allow the patriarch to take control of the remaining
community.

98

waqf land. The Coptic Orthodox Waqf organization was created and its members were
chosenexclusively by the patriarch. The decline of the elite hindered their ability to fulfil
their traditional role as liaison between the church and state. Thus, this constant source of
communal tension was eventually resolved in favour of church dominance over the
community.
The political influence of the Coptic elite also diminished at the national level. The
traditional method of political participation for the Coptic elite halted when the new regime
banned all political parties.70 Land reform and the nationalization of companies had a severe
impact on the Christian elite who tended to invest in land and business,partly due to their
71
but
While certainly not
economic success
also as a meansto ensureprotection and power.
directed solely against Christians, this loss of power and prestige meant that a significant
number of the Christian elite, particularly the younger generation, began to emigrate from the
1960sonwards.72 However, Nasser did ensurethat Coptic representation was maintained in
parliament and the Cabinet by appointing additional members to supplement the Coptic
including
Copts
in
Cabinet.
two
The
tradition
the
the
of
presence.
continued
also
president
According to Nisan, "Nasser traditionally appointed one or two Coptic ministers to the
73
cabinet, a political crumb with no concomitant poweeg. The main impact of the 1952
Revolution on Christians was to deprive the traditional elite of their prestige and power and
allow only a token political participation.

The LebaneseContext

Lebanesenationalismunderwenta different seriesof eventsfrom thosein Egypt andseveral


otherArab states. Lebanonavoidedmilitary regimesandcomparedto neighbouring
countries,enjoyedrelativefreedom. This canbe tracedbackto the uniquesituationof the

99

historic role of Lebanon as a refuge for various communities. In order to attain


independence,two of the main groups the Maronites and the Sunnis negotiated to find an
arrangementthat would satisfy both sides. The result was the 1943 National Pact (al-Mithaq
al-Watani). Initially an oral pledge between Bishara al-Khuri and Riyad al-Solh, the
National Pact becarrieinstitutionalised as an unwritten constitution. 74 The main political
offices were assignedto the six major sects. Each community was representedin the political
system according to its proportion of the population registered in the 1932 census.
Parliamentary representation was fixed at a ratio of 6:5 in favour of the Christian
communities. The National Pact defined Lebanon as Balad Yhu Wajh Arabi (country with an
Arab face) 75 Thus, the Maronites acceptedthat Lebanon was situated in the Arab world and
.
renounced Western protection, while Muslims recognised Lebanon as a separatesovereign
state and abandonedthe idea of a Greater Syria. Khazen describesthis compromise as
"Lebanonizing Muslims and Arabizing Christians". 76
The National Pact reflected the interests of the elite who chose political pragmatism in order
to attain independence. Successdependedon the ability of the elite to form a grand coalition
77
Whenever this was endangered,the cohesivenessof the state
and exercise a mutual veto.
was at risk. The ambiguity inherent in the National Pact meant that it was also open to
different and often contrasting communal interpretations. As it enshrined confessionalism, it
also acted as an obstacle to attaining a Lebaneseidentity that could override these
attachments. Furthermore, this power sharing agreementrested on the distribution of power
according to the 1932 census. Yet, there were no provisions to amend the political system to
reflect future demographic changes. By confirming confessionalism, the National Pact may
have enabled the political elite to attain independencebut simultaneously, it constrained their
in
instead
Lebanon
Lebanese
develop
to
a
and
resulted
ability
made up
of
a nation consisting
of different confessional communities. This failure to develop a true Lebanesenationalist

100

movement acceptableto all groups increasedthe likelihood that national unity would
disintegrate whenever challenged.
A major test was experienced with the 1958 crisis. The pro-Western foreign policy of
President Chamoun culminating in acceptanceof the Eisenhower Doctrine was perceived as
deviating from the provisions of the National Pact which stressedthe need for strict neutrality.
Under Chainoun, Lebanon was the only Arab country not to sever diplomatic ties with France
over the 1956 Suez invasion. While the personal rivalry between Chamoun and the Egyptian
President was a factor, this incident also illustrated the different views of the confessional
communities in Lebanon towards regional developments. LebaneseMuslims, like their
coreligionists throughout the Arab world, were drawn to Nasser's pan-Arabism. However,
some of the Maronite elite viewed this doctrine as a challenge to Lebaneseindependence.
Contrary to the National Pact, they turned to the West for protection. 78 In this context, the
attempt by Chamoun to amend the constitution in order to extend his presidential mandate
proved inflammatory. This move also alienated several influential Maronite actors as well as
members of the Muslim communities and prevented the unrest denigrating into confessional
conflict.

Two to four thousand people were victims of a civil war that also had a significant

impact on the econoMy.79 The elite were able to halt the violence by choosing the next
president, General Fu'ad Shihab, the army commander who had refused Chamoun's orders to
crush the uprising. On this occasion, Lebaneseidentity survived the challenge but it
illustrated that national unity was extremely fragile.
Similar to other countries in the region, post-colonial Lebanon also satisfied the crisis of
state criteria. The laissez-faire economic policies followed by successivegovernments, with
the exception of the Shihab years, contributed to substantial wealth inequality. Uneven
development resulted in Greater Beirut and parts of Mount Lebanon prospering, while the
North, South and Beqaa with significant Muslim populations, were mostly ignored by the

101

authorities. Corruptionamongthe elite was alsorife, leadingordinaryLebaneseto believe


that communalleaderswere only interestedin maintainingtheir privilegedposition. The
Lebanesepolitical systemwas onebasedon clientelism. Thezuama (the traditionalterm
givento communalleaders)relied on political patronageto safeguardtheir position andstatus
in the community. Membersof the traditionalzuama families from eachcommunitybecame
parliamentarydeputies. As the main aim wasto protectthe interestsof their own community
in orderto securere-election,the grantingof favourstendedto be conductedon a
80
basiS.
Primordialties of kinship andlocal communityensuredthat
confessional
hindered
in
Lebanese
the developmentof a
and
politics
confessionalismremainedentrenched
genuineparty system.
Adding to thesesocioeconomicchallenges,Lebanonalsosufferedserioussecuritythreats.
The geographiclocationof the countryin oneof the most turbulentregionsof the world
Having
barely
to
Lebanon
that
pressure.
outside
survivedthe
ensured
was alwaysvulnerable
Arab nationalistchallengein 1958,the Palestinianpresencein Lebanonfrom the late 1960s
Negotiations
Lebanese
to regulate
the
to
the
state.
of
cohesion
presenteda graveobstacle
Palestinianarmedraids on Israelthat werelaunchedfrom Lebanonled to the 1969Cairo
Agreement. This recognisedLebanesesovereigntybut gavePalestinianorganisationsthe
Palestinian
In
Liberation
be
the
to
the
reality,
camps.
right
armedwithin
refugee
Organizationwas given extra-territorialrights,creatingwhat Nisanterms"Fatahland".81 The
1970JordaniancrackdownagainstPalestinianmilitants left Lebanonasthe only remaining
base. The Lebanesegovernmentwasunableto replicatethe actionsof their neighbourasthe
Palestinianissueprovedextremelydivisive. Accordingto Picard,the successof the National
82
in
Pactdependedon an "utopianplan" to maintainneutrality regionalaffairs. Instead,"The
Palestinianpowderkeg, skilfully confinedto Lebaneseterritory by neighbouringregimes

102

determinedto maintainorderin their own lands,addedfire andblood to a Lebanesesociety


83
inflamed
by
its
domestic
divisions".
already
From independence
until the outbreakof civil war in 1975,the Lebanesestrandof
nationalismbarely survivedthe numerouschallengesdetailedabove. It perseveredprimarily
becausethe Christians,especiallythe Maroniteswereableto dominatethe new statewith
supportfrom the Sunnielite. In this way, it was a successfulstrategyfor Christiansto
maintaintheir privilegesandpolitical participation. However,the failure to developa
nationalistideologythat includedall communitiesfrom all socialclasses- not just the elite meantthat this could only be a short-termpolicy. Communalties continuedto be prioritised
overnationalidentity. The Palestinianissueprovedto be onechallengetoo many.
TraditionalMaronite fearsconcerningtheir futurein a Muslim dominatedregion,became
prominentoncemore. A lingeringdoubtremainedthat given the opportunity,Lebanese
Muslims would seekto introducedhimmistatusfor Christiansin Lebanon.84 This perception
thatMuslims had divided loyaltiesover their countryandtheir faith, meantthat any calls for
reform or supportfor the Palestinianswererejectedasa ploy to depriveChristiansof their
political power. AmongstMaronites,Lebanesenationalismbecameequatedwith supportof
Christianrights in the country. Accordingto Haddad,"Lebanonismemphasises
individualismandself-sufficiency,rejectionof Islam andthe Arab world, identificationwith
the West andsomeWesternvaluesandinsistenceon the survival of Lebanonasa Christian
, 85

anddemocraticheartlandin the Middle East'.

The mythologiesmentionedearliere.g.

justify
land,
Phoenicianism.
to
the
to
this stance.The
the
used
were
and romanticattachment
to reachout to all Lebaneseascitizensof
somewhathalf-heartedattemptsinceindependence
failed
with the outbreakof a long and
onestateandmembersof onenationcategorically
tragic civil war in 1975.

103

The Challenges to Nationalism since the 1970sand the impact on Christians

In the contemporaryArab world, political Islam cannow be regardedasthe main populist


ideology. Politically activeIslamistgroupsarenot new to the region. However,the 1967
war provedto be the catalystwhich illustratedthe demiseof Arab nationalismandfocused
attentionon othermovementsaiming to fill thepolitical vacuum. To explainthe Arab defeat,
Islamistssuggestedthat it was a punishmentfrom Godbecauseof Muslim deviationfrom
Islamicvalues.86 Thus,it wasnecessary
to Islamizesocietyasa prerequisitebeforevictory
couldbe achieved. The ambiguousrelationshipbetweenArab nationalismandIslam allowed
theruling regimesto capitaliseon this returnto religion anduseIslam asa legitimising tool to
fill this ideologicalvacuum. In contrastto 1967,theArab war againstIsraelin 1973was
foughtunderthe bannerof Islam. For example,it wasnamedthe RamadanWar, the
Egyptianattackwas given the codenameBadr,a significantbattlewon by the Prophetand
87
Great).
The initial Egyptianattackburstthrough
battle
is
Allahu
(God
Most
Akhbar
the
cry
the Israeli defence,destroyingthe myth of an invincible Israel. The Israelisregainedthe
initiative andthe war was haltedwhena ceasefirewasimposedon 22ndOctoberwith strong
backingfrom the superpowers.However,this war wasviewedin the Arab world asa moral
victory anda religious success. Simultaneously,the balanceof powerwithin the region
shiftedto the oil rich conservativeGulf States,especiallyafter the oil embargo. Furthermore,
the 1979IranianRevolutionhighlightedthe increasingpowerof political Islam. The Pahlavi
led
by
by
Islamic
West,
state
the
clericsproving that
an
wasreplaced
regime,associatedwith
the impossiblewaspossible. Therefore,the failure of Arab nationalismallowedMuslims to
rediscoveran alternative- Islam.
The key objectiveof political Islam is to establishan Islamic stateasonly then canMuslim
is
Islam
be
deemed
Islamist
Islamic.
that
truly
theorists
more thannih1ah
society
assert

104

(religion) but instead, din wa dawlah (way of life). 88 Mawlana Ala Mawdudi, an influential
twentieth century Islamist, preached that Islam was a self-sufficient ideology which covered
all aspectsof life. As sovereignty comes from God alone, the separation of state and religion
is deemedimpossible. An Islamic system was championed as the only means to provide
a
favourable environment for Muslims. The problems faced by Muslims in the twentieth
century were blamed on the failure of the umma to be faithful to the teachings of Islam.
Muslim power and status would only be regained by returning to the correct path sirat al89
mustaqim. The implementation of sharia law is regarded as vital by Islamists as it is a fully
comprehensivecode of conduct regarding all aspectsof life and the only meaningful law for
Muslims. Esposito describesit as "a set of divinely revealed general principles, directives,
90
Consequently, theseobjectives of political Islamists raises questions regarding
and values".
the status of non-Muslims in an Islamic state.
The ambivalence inherent in the Quran regarding this subject is replicated in the framework
offered by Islamists. In general, cordial relations are advocatedbetween Muslims and
Christians. Islamists tend to promote the history of Muslim tolerance towards other religious
91
in
Western
Jewish
the
to
communities, especially contrast
experience of
persecution. There
is also common agreementthat Muslims can respect the rights of others without giving
credenceto their beliefs. Shad should only be waged against those who actively oppose
Muslims. Yet, the ambivalence of the Quran regarding Christians means that more radical
theorists such as Sayyid Qutb argue that Christians cannot be shown friendship as this would
92
Islamists acknowledge that an Islamic state
amount to recognising another religion.
discriminates between believers and non-believers as preached in the Quran. Citizenship is
basedon membership of a religion. Outlining his vision of the Islamic state, Mawdudi
envisagedtwo types of citizenship - one for Muslims who took responsibility for the state and
93
for
be
loyal
the other
to the state. Islamist activists tend to
non-Muslims who agreedto

105

94
Christians
to
Kramer states that
refer
as muwatin meaning compatriot rather than as citizen.
the main purpose of the Islamic state is to pursue the interests of the umma through the sharia.
The refusal of non-bclicvers to observe all aspects of Islamic laws, means that they cannot be

involved with decision-making and implementing policies. 95 The main limit on Christians in
a modem Islamic state is political.

In general, they are only able to hold non-sensitive posts,

i. e. reverting back to their historical prominence in administration. Ayatollah Muhammad


Husayn Fadlallah, a prominent Shiite spiritual leader in Lebanon admits that Christians could
not have high office in an Islamic statebut solely becauseno state allows people who do not
96
leading
key
have
tenets of the ruling system to
positions.
adhereto the
While the inequality inherent in the Islamic system is highlighted when examining political
participation, this also affects religious freedom. The political nature of Islam means that the
religious sphere is not confined solely to matters of worship but also concerns relations
between the different communities. In general, the ahl al-kitab are expected to consider
Muslim feelings and respect Islam. Limitations include not selling forbidden items such as
alcohol or pork, showing religious symbols in public or speaking negatively of Islam.

97

Yet,

theserestrictions are not reciprocated by Muslims becauseIslam is regarded as the superior


religion. This can be seen as an interpretation of the historical covenants which allowed nonMuslims religious autonomy on the condition that they did not abusethese privileges. A
98

similar modemised version of thefizya would also be expected.

It is clear that Islamists do

not envisage a situation where Christians would enjoy equal participation in all aspectsof
in
Islamic
Christian
including
an
communities
state would
society,
religion and politics.
inequality
historical
dhimmi
the
back
and challenges that
to
to
all
with
status,
appear revert
the term implies. At present, the existing regimes have defined Islamist movements as the
main threat to their rule and accordingly have adoptedrepressivemeasurestowards them. It
is also unknown whether political Islam would deliver its promises once in power or prove to

106

be a disappointment just like Arab nationalism. However, perceptions of vulnerability


among Christians in the Middle East have increasedin recognition of the populist support for
theseideas.99

The Egyptian Context

An examination of Egypt illuminates the influence of political Islam and the impact this has
had on the Christian population. Historically Egypt has been at the forefront of any emerging
trends in the Arab world. It is no surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood - the prototype for
Islamist movements - was founded in Egypt by an Egyptian schoolteacherHassan al-Banna
in 1928. The movement became the target of successivegovernments, resulting in mass
imprisonment and the execution of leadersincluding the influential theorist Sayyid Qutb.
For example, over 1000 Islamist activists were arrestedin 1954, followed by over 27,000 in
1965 as part of a wider crackdown on opposition to the regime. ' 00 However, once Anwar
Sadatbecame president, the Muslim Brotherhood was effectively given a new leaseof life.
Facing opposition from left-wing movements, he turned to Islamists to counter this threat.
SadatreleasedIslamist prisoners and tolerated their social work and presencein universities.
He also tried to gain their support by amending the constitution to ascribe a greater role to the
101
in
Egyptian
law.
On a personal level, he adopted Islamic rhetoric in his speeches,
sharia
102
himself
'.
However, the use of Islamist movements to
"The
Believer
Presidenf
and called
balance political power had its own consequences. All these groups denounced the 1977
peacenegotiations with Israel. There was also an increasein militancy as some Islamists
advocated the use of violence against the regime.
A significant consequenceof this Islamization processwas the increase in incidents against
Christians. It must be noted that Sadatwas not specifically anti-Christian. In fact, some

107

benefitedthem. The infitah - opendoor economicpolicy - allowedChristiansto


measures
103
in
business.
However,his policiesdid aid the Islamic revival
participateoncemore private
whichoccurredat this time. Groupssuchasal-Shadjustified attacksby arguingthat
believershadthe right to imposetheir will on othersby force.104In 1972,a churchin alKhankawas attackedandensuingprotestsby the Copticcommunityresultedin riots which
105Therewerevariousincidentsin
left numerousChristianhomesandshopsdestroyed.
UpperEgypt whenpriestswere attackedandchurchesburnt. In 1981,fourteenpeoplewere
killed andover onehundredwoundedin riots in Zawyaal-Hamra,a poor suburbof Cairo.106
Duringtheseevents,therewas a generalfeelingamongstthe Coptic communitythat the
authoritieswerenot protectingChristians,insteadtrying to appeasethe Islamistmovements.
By 1981,the presidentauthoriseda crackdownon all oppositionmembersleadingto over
1500arrestsincluding manyIslamists.107However,theseactionswere not enoughto prevent
108
th
by
Islamist
1981
Sadat
October
6
the assassination
militants.
of
on
TheMubarakgovernmenttargetedIslamicmilitants associatedwith the killing of Sadatbut
duringthe 1980sand 1990s,violencecontinuedagainstCopts,primarily in UpperEgypt and
areasof Cairo. Accusationsof Christianprovocationswereusedto justify attackson
109
jewellery
individuals.
In 1992,an assaulton Christians
churches,
shopsandassaultson
working in the fields aroundMansinatNassirresultedin the deathsof thirteenChristiansand
'
10
Muslims
two
who attemptedto aid them. Two monksandthreelay Coptswereshot
outsidethe Deir al-Muharraqmonasteryin 1994andnine Coptswerekilled during an attack
on a churchin Abu Qurqas,a village in UpperEgypt in 1997.111Theseexamplesillustrate
the dangersfacing the Coptic communityat this time. Yet, Mubarakconcentratedon
denyingthe Islamistoppositionany furtherchancesto overthrowthe state. Methodsto
accomplishthis includedstrict emergencylaws andmilitary courtsthat gaveharshsentences
12
with no appeal! The governmentalsosoughtto gain control of mainstreamIslam by

108

113
for
It was not until the
licenses
nationalising mosques and making
preachers.
mandatory
mid 1990s that the government tackled the militants largely responsible for attacks on the
Copts in Upper Egypt. This was primarily due to a change of tactics by the militants who
beganto target the security services and tourists in order to inflict maximum damage on the
for
The
these movements, especially
support
state.
economic consequencesalienated public
'
14
killed.
Government
Egyptians
4
58
1997
Luxor
tourists
the
were
and
after
massacrewhen
in
including
succeeded
crushing these
mostly
action
mass arrests and violent confrontation,
groups and consequently, militant attackson Copts decreasedmassively.
Under the Mubarak presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood has opted for political
Due
to the prohibition of parties
is
to
approach.
participation and committed a non-violent
basedon religious lines, the movement has enteredelectoral alliances with other parties.
This allowed it to become the largest opposition group with nineteen seatsin 2000 (although
by
the
their
independents
due
placed
to
the
participation
on
restrictions
running as
'
15
Islamist
in
2005
the
This
when
candidates
elections
successwas continued
government).
dramatically increasedtheir parliamentary representationto around ninety seatswith almost
40% of votes cast.116 These achievementshave been attained despite being banned and
have
been
hinder
laws
Electoral
to
harassment.
frequent
small
changed
suffering
government
introduced
in
1987,
For
system
was
representation
a complex proportional
example,
parties.
in
be
in
to
8%
threshold
represented
order
to
which required parties poll over an
'
17
in
Brotherhood
Muslim
participation civil society through professional
parliament.
intervene
judiciary
to
to
1995
In
the
given
powers
been
was
has
targeted.
associations
also
in
lawyers
1996,
the
and
and
Brotherhood
Muslim
as
candidates
standing
members
prevent
18
in
down-'
Even
their
by
success
the
state and closed
engineers syndicateswere taken over
de facto political participation is temperedby the strength of the ruling party. In the same

109

2000 elections mentioned above, the NDP not only polled 353 seatsbut also 35 independent
119
joined
the
candidates
governing party.
In this period, the Muslim Brotherhood has tried to stressthat it is committed to full rights
for all Egyptians regardlessof religion. 120 For example, Coptic candidateshave been
selectedas electoral candidates. Yet there is still wariness among Copts (and many Muslims)
as to how genuine theseproposals are and how they would be guaranteedin practice. The
Muslim Brotherhood has also continued its social work including clinics, schools and charity
services,often in contrast to the failure of the state to provide these services. Furthermore, as
theseservices are usually channelled through the mosque, the organization has been able to
12
1
its
Hence,
through
the
the
the
visible presence,the
make
community.
mosque
centre of
Muslim Brotherhood illustrates the strength of political Islam in Egyptian society.
However, the Islamic revival in Egypt as in other countries has not been exclusive to
Islamist movements. The government has also sought to promote mainstream Islam as a
institutions
increased
has
finance
to
State
Islamist
to
the
such as al Azhar
counter
current.
and the Higher Council for Islamic Affairs.

A growing Islamization of Egyptian society is

evident today. Regarding the impact of Islamist activists on popular culture, Gerges declares
122
illustration
debate".
A
lost
but
the
the war
that "they
major
of this Islamic cultural
won
revival is its increasing visibility.

In contrast to the 1960s,the wearing of the veil has

become the norm for Muslim women, and men often grow beards as a sign of their beliefs.
Islamic symbols and religious "noise" such as the recital of the Quran, are frequent in shops
123
bulletins
increased,
has
Mosque
offices
government
and
and
news
and offices.
attendance
halt for the call to prayer.124 Religious programmes are frequent on radio and television and
bestselling books tend to be tafsirs (commentariesof the Quran). It is clear that Islam in
Egypt in the late twentieth century enjoyed a cultural revival that has once more put it at the
it
try
to
how
hard
to the
No
the
may
others
contain
and
government
centre of society.
matter

110

cultural sphere only, Islam will continue to have an impact on the Egyptian political system.
Thesedevelopments have increasedChristian vulnerability as they become increasingly
aware of the more fervent religious environment.

The LebaneseContext

The failure to establish an inclusive Lebanesenationalism was vividly illustrated during the
civil war (1975-1990). This conflict not only proved that confessional identity remained the
primary tie in Lebanesesociety but also intensified the divide between confessions. Power
lines)
(mostly
to
the
on
confessional
which were employed
organised
shifted
various militias
by communal leaders to expel members of other groups from their territory leading to de facto
125
Atrocities were committed by all sides and renewed mutual suspicions.
cantonization.
One notorious act was the revenge killings after the assassinationof the President-Elect
Bashir Gemayel, committed by the Maronite Kataib militia in September 1982 in the Sabra
is
disputed
(mainly
Shatilla
The
women
and
children)
of
victims
number
and
refugee camps.
Committee
Kahan
Israeli
from
700-800
to
the
while other sourcesraise
and ranges
according
this figure to 1500-2000.126 In general, the Maronite community felt particularly vulnerable
during the civil war period. A significant proportion of the estimated 25% Lebaneseaffected
by forced displacement were Christian. 127 For example, the 1983 Mountain War resulted in
28
Christians
killed.,
1400
Lebanese
from
Chouf,
Christians
the expulsion of
the
with over
from all confessions chose to emigrate during the war years. However, roughly 75% of those
29
figure
68%.,
later,
the
was
emigrating in 1975 were Christian and six years
Many Maronites believed that they were fighting to ensurethe survival of a Lebanesestate
To
in
fully
secure this, some
them
to
affairs.
national
participate
which would allow
Christian nationalists advocatedthe creation of an overt Christian state or a fcderal system

ill

where Maronites would enjoy political autonomy in their own area. Support from certain
Maronite circles for an alliance with Israel, particularly during the Israeli occupation of
Lebanon, did little to enhancerelations with other communities. 130 The radicalization of
someLebaneseMuslim groups also raised concerns for Maronites. Iranian influence was
instrumental in the founding of the Shiite movement Hizb'allah which in its charter, discloses
its eventual aim of establishing an Islamic state in Lebanon. For the moment, Hizb'allah has
decided to participate in the confessional political system. While political Islam may not
presentthe same threat to Christians in Lebanon as it does in other parts of the Arab world
due to the size of the community and the presenceof other confessional groups, it still adds to
Christian perceptions of vulnerability.
As a consequenceof the 1989 Taif Accord, hostilities finally ceasedseveral months later.
In one sense,the Lebanesenation was made whole again but ironically, considering the
struggle for independence,under Syrian tutelage. The Lebanesenationalist current which
had recognised that its Christian past was an active contributor to national identity was no
longer predominant. Maronites were concernedthat in post-war Lebanon, their interests
would not be adequately representedthrough the national framework alone. Although the
Taif Accord continued to grant the presidency to the Maronites, the powers of the next two
offices - Prime Minister (Sunni) and Speakerof Parliament (Shiite) were increasedwith all
31
'
Continuing the tradition of strong communal leadership,
three enjoying the right of veto.
leaders from each confession gained official positions in the Taif system and theoretically
representedthe interests of their group. However, by the end of the war, the Maronite
leadership was weak and divided.
Like most groups, internal factionalism led to periodic intracommunal conflict.

damaging schism occurred in 1989. Under General Michel Aoun, the army had been revived
as a state institution and attempted to establish law and order within the Christian enclave.

112

As caretakerPrime Minister, Aoun launcheda War of Liberationin March 1989againstthe


Syrianpresencein Lebanonwhich hadbeenlegitimisedby the Taif Accord. Sporadic
clashesbetweenthe Aoun army factionandtheMaronitemilitias who fearedthe lossof
power,culminatedin a failed attemptby SamirGeagea,the headof the LebaneseForces,to
oustAoun. A new round of fighting occurred,whatPharestermsthe "first Lebanese
ChriStianCiVilWae'.132In the battlefor supremacybetweenAoun andGeagea,one
thousandpeoplewerekilled, threethousandwoundedandthe Christianenclavewas divided
into two sections.133A significantproportionof theMaronitemassesremainedloyal to
Aoun's attemptsto defendLebanesesovereignty. However,an attackon the presidential
palaceandAoun territory by LebaneseandSyrianforcesendedthis last resistancein October
1990. Consequently,by the endof the civil war, it wasclearto all that the Maroniteshad
relinquishedtwo criteria centralto Maronitepoliciessincethe mandateera. Only on paper
did MaronitesupremacyandLebaneseindependence
still exist.

The Contemporary Concems of the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite


Communities

This chapter has argued that religious identity in the two casestudies has proved too strong
to allow nationalist strategiesto satisfy all parties. The Egyptian version of nationalism did
attempt to incorporate Christians in to the nation state as equal citizens with their Muslim
compatriots. However, it can be argued that it did not deliver its promises of equality and
citizenship to the extent expectedby Egyptian Christians. In contrast, Lebanesenationalism
was too closely linked to Christian interests to attract widespread Muslim support and instead,
identity remained primarily at the confessional level. Although different development
strategieswere employed, both the statist and laissez-faire approacheshave failed to deliver

113

successfuleconomic growth, leading to a further obstacle to widespread support for


nationalist ideologies. The failure to attain full participation and enjoy widespread
socioeconomicbenefits has led to disillusionment among Middle East Christians. As a
consequenceof the increasedpublic role of Islam in the region, Christian perceptions of
vulnerability have also grown. Thus, any political leader will be judged by their successin
articulating and responding to the political concernsexpressedby the communities.

ChristianConcemsin Egypt

In Egypt, a key Christian demand is adequateCoptic representation in the political system.


According to Murqus, under the nationalist regime, Copts retained their social citizenship but
lost their political citizenship. 134 The Presidentusually appoints around five or six Coptic
parliament deputies and one or two Cabinet ministers. These figures tend to come from the
traditional notable families e.g. Makram Ebeid, Boutros Ghali, Wassif and Abdelnour. 135
Theserepresentativesappointed by the government are frequently dismissed by ordinary
members of the community as belonging to an elite that has no interest in the ordinary
136
Often they are accusedof being Christians by name only and their participation is
people.
viewed purely as symbolic. Few Coptic candidatesare elected to Parliament or even selected
for party lists, mainly due to the perception that they are unlikely to win votes in a
predominant Muslim society. Most also feel that Christians will not be appointed to top
positions solely due to their religion. Ordinary Copts tend to dismiss the nomination of
Coptic candidatesby the NDP or opposition parties as merely decorative and not an indication
137
for
Coptic
As the
Egyptian
participation.
of genuine support amongst the
political elite
1977 Political Parties Law prohibits parties formed on religious, class or regional lines, there
has never been a solely Coptic political party. 138 There is a general consensusamong the

114

community that while a Coptic party could be successfulat raising issuesthat are mostly
ignoredby mainstream parties, this would be at the cost of inviting hostility upon the
community.
Like many Egyptians, Copts can also be accusedof apathy towards politics, especially at
electiontime. For example, voter turnout for the 2005 parliamentary elections was a pitiful
20%.139 This tendency amongst Copts has been criticised by Coptic intellectuals who urge
the community to solve their problems by becoming proactive in political affairs instead of
continuing the widespread withdrawal that has become common. After the 2005 elections,
Dr. Nabil Luqa Babawi dismissed the existing political approachof the community as merely
comprising of "weeping and wailing" and suggestedthat it was not surprising that the
140
However, many Copts (and indeed Egyptians)
community was politically marginalised.
in
little
figures
Egypt
difference
to
the
to
this
that
make
would respond
as elections
accusation
or policies of the government, there is little incentive to participate. Copts would also cite the
abovearguments concerning the difficulties experiencedby Coptic candidates as further
reasonswhich dissuadeinvolvement in the political system.
However, there has been some recognition of the problem regarding Coptic political
participation. In the run-up to the 2000 elections, many influential figures stressedthe need
141
life
Consequently, 75 Coptic
in
to entice Copts to participate the political
of their country.
candidatesstood for election, mostly businessmenrunning as independents. The WafJ party
42
4
NDP
9,
Tagammu.
banned
3.1
Forthe
(Islamists)
12,
Labour
Party
the
and the
nominated
first time since 1952,3 Copts were elected, Youssef Boutros Ghali (NDP), Ramy Lakah an
independentwho resigned due to holding dual citizenship, and Wafd candidate Mounir Fakhri
Abdel Nour. 143 On the whole, the election was conducted with minimal sectarian language.
While the 2000 elections representedan important breakthrough, it is unclear if these efforts
will become permanent. For example, only one Coptic candidatewas successful in 2005 -

115

theMinister of Finance Youssef Boutros Ghali. Thus, it can still be argued that many parties
andvoters perceive a Coptic candidateas an electoral disadvantageand unlikely to succeed.
Furthermore,the strength of the Muslim Brotherhood in these elections also served to raise
fearsin the Coptic community.
The perception of discrimination is a longstanding Coptic view. Equality is enshrined in
the constitution but some members of the community believe that this is not fully
implemented. While discriminatory measuresare not widespread, many Copts perceive that
they do not enjoy equality regarding employment and opportunities. Until January 2006,
therewere no Coptic regional governors and few are found in high-ranking positions in the
144
for
list
However,
the twenty-six
the
appointments
of
new
military and security services.
Gen.
Ayoun
formerly
Lt.
MaJdi
Iskandar,
included
Coptic
an
officer
govemates
military
a
145
Qana.
his
Prior
to
Interior
the
Minister
to
the
governor
of
made
who was
assistant
of
from
last
Copt
hero
1973
decorated
to
Ghali,
the
Fouad
Aziz
the
war,
war
was
a
appointment,
hold the office of governor (Southern Sinai 1980-1983). Clearly, there are opportunities for
Coptic figures to be successful in this field. Furthermore, as a consequenceof the size of the
Coptic community, it would be expectedthat they would be a smaller proportion in such
in
discrimination
few
Copts
The
that
certain
areas
also
of
means
statistics.
perception among
decreasing
the already minimal
thus
these
services,
security
enter
career arease.g. police or
in
Copts
from.
Instead,
tend
to
the
to
either
work
educated
pool of candidates choose
businesssector (where they can be extremely successful)or else concentrate on specific
has
led
This
journalism
to
the
including
legal
medicine.
especially
and
affairs,
professions
Consequently,
in
these
be
Copts
one argument
areas.
that
over-representcd
may
possibility
in
in
high
difficulties
the
for
the
reaching
office
that
this
experienced
suggests
compensates
146 This is reminiscent of the historical status of non-Muslims as
fields.
political and military

116

dhimmi under the millet system where economic prosperity was possible but political power
andauthority over the Islamic armies was generally exclusive to Muslims.
There are two main examples of discrimination given by Copts. The first concerns
religious freedom. Copts are free to practice their own religion but this does not extend to
proselytism. Due to mass social pressureagainst converting to Christianity, few Muslims
convert and those who do, often emigrate to the West, contributing little to the indigenous
147
In contrast, the processfor conversion to Islam is substantially easier e.g. new
community.
ID cards are issued quickly.

However, proceduresare still implemented including the

requirement that the individual must meet with a priest before the official conversion takes
place. It is estimated that 10-15,000 Egyptian Christians convert to Islam each year often due
to economic and social reasons. Rumours regarding the kidnapping of Coptic girls and their
subsequentforced conversion do arise. However, little evidence has been provided to back
theseclaims, which frequently concern young women who wish to marry Muslim men. Yet
severaltimes, most notably over the Wafaa Constantine affair in December 2004 (the wife of
a Coptic priest purportedly converted but was then returned to the church hierarchy by the
authorities), the Coptic community has demonstratedfor the return of Coptic women who
they believe were forcibly converted.
The second example is the legislation concerning building places of worship. While there
are few restrictions on building mosques,under the Haymouni Decree, a government license
is neededto build a church. The 1934 Ministry of Interior regulations also set out further
from
100
being
include
the nearestmosque, the
These
the
away
metres
over
conditions.
site
148
Until
religious composition of the community and the proximity of other churches.
how
for
matter
no
minor. Another
repairs,
recently, presidential permission was needed
complaint was the lack of permits available. Between 1981-1990, only 10 permits for new
Coptic Orthodox churches and 26 for repairs were granted.149 Due to population growth and

117

urbanmigration,existingchurcheswereoftenovercrowdedandunauthorisedbuildings used
for services. As will be exploredshortly,this regularlyled to communalclashes.' 50 The
timetakento receiveany responseto an application- often over ten years- while mosques
wereconstantlybuilt, frequentlynearproposedsitesfor new churches,alsoservedto illustrate
thisinequality.
In responseto strongcriticism of this situation,a 1999presidentialdecreemaderepairsof
all placesof worship subjectto the 1976Civil ConstructionCode,putting churchesin the
151
for
first
Permissionfor new churchesneeds
time.
samecategoryasmosques the
in
increase
been
the amountof permitsapproved
but
has
there
presidentialapproval
a sharp
e.g. 23 in 2001 and9 in 2002. However,problemsstill exist. On average,applicationstake
decisions
have
been
four
be
there
to
cases
where
are
some
over
years
approvedand
is
Interior
The
Ministry
usuallyslow at submittingapplicationsto
of
continuallypostponed.
thePresidentand evenoncegranted,local authoritiesandthe securityservicesoften block
152
build
instances,
Christian
In
without a permit or try to
communities
construction.
some
know
Even
building.
that
this
they
in
Christian-owned
to
although
a
church
convert
property
is likely to escalatethe situationandpotentiallyleadto violencewith their Muslim
be
de
if
in
hope
they
the
that
the
can
completed,
will
get
they
work
neighbours,
persevere
factorecognitionasthe governmentwill want to avoidbeing accusedof closingdown
153
in
in
decree
been
have
These
a
presidential
proclaimed
acknowledged
churches.
problems
December2005which transferredauthorizationfor the constructionof churchesfrom the
decisions
be
that
level
must
to that of regionalgovernorsandstipulated
presidential
154
it
is
As
justified
yet,
an
application.
of
within onemonthof submission
publicisedand
building
legislation
in
breakthrough
be
if
or only
church
unknown this will prove to the major
leadto more disillusionmentamongthe Copticcommunity. Governmentofficials havealso
begunto participatein consecrationservicesin orderto highlight that Christiansarelegally

118

'
55
have
to
their
entitled
own placeof worship. Yet it is clearthat in Egypt, a public placeof
worshipappearsto takeon a "sacred"quality which in the caseof churches,can causetension
betweenthe communities. Individuals(on both sides)canstill createobstaclesregarding
building andrepairingchurches.
Anotherareaof Coptic concernis security. While the threatfrom militant groupshas
mostlybeeneliminated,sporadicclashesstill occur. Assaultson Christiansandattackson
churchesfrequentlyappearto be triggeredby Muslim angerat Christianattemptsto build or
expandchurches. In particular,unresthasbeencausedby Christianstrying to useother
buildingse.g. houses,librariesandofficesof Copticsocialorganizationsasunofficial
156
(illegal
Egyptian
legislation).
Incidentscanalso escalatein UpperEgypt
churches
under
dueto the tradition of blood vengeanceagainstperpetuatorsof any violence.157 One
prominentclashcentredon the village of al-Kushin UpperEgypt which hasa Christian
andMuslim customerin January2000
majority. A disputebetweena Christianshopkeeper
escalatedinto a confrontationthat left twenty ChristiansandoneMuslim dead,over forty
injured andChristianhomesandshopsattacked.158Relationsbetweenthe two communities
hadbeentensesincean incidentin 1998whentwo Christiansweremurderedandallegations
159
in
international
brutality
Coptic
the
of police
against
villagerswerepublicised
media.
Whenclasheseruptedin the samevillage in 2000,the local authorityresponsewas deemed
inadequate,failing to preventthe killings that occurredover a three-dayperiod andspreadto a
neighbouringvillage. Instead,the governmentreactedafter the event,funnelling substantial
fundsinto the village, which while aimingto avoid futureproblems,can actuallybe seenas
160
rewardingsuchactions.
Therefore,it is often claimedthat the governmentdoesnot provide enoughprotectionand
fails to bring the perpetuatorsto justice. The al-Kushincidentillustratesthis pattern. A
commonCoptic complaintis that the governmenttreatsthe victim andthe aggressorin the

119

samemanner, not recognising the clear differences between the two. Firstly, substantial
numbers on both sides were arrestedin order to avoid being seen as supporting one
161
Secondly, the initial trial of 58 Muslims and 38 Christians acquitted 92 out of
community.
the 96 defendants.162 A retrial was immediately ordered by the government, yet again, only
three were convicted - one for killing the sole Muslim and the other two for the destruction of
163
This failure to prosecutethe perpetrators is viewed by some Copts such as
property.
Youssef Sidhom, editor of the Christian owned newspaper Watani, as proving that Christian
blood is worth little and that the only justice Copts will obtain will be from God. ' 64 In
have
been
initial
the
violence
may
confessional
general, some of
unrest associatedwith
causedby the actions of a few Christians. However, most incidents follow the same pattern
of escalation which without intervention from the authorities leads to attacks on unspecified
Christians and their property and minimal damageto Muslim interests. Consequently,
in
Upper
Copts,
Egypt
for
fears
high
those
especially
residing
many
security
a
priority
remain
and rural areas.
Finally, economic concerns also feature highly. An ongoing economic crisis has led to a
165
by
The country
bome
the middle class.
mostly
rise in inflation and decline in real wages,
has a large public debt and budget deficit at around 6.5% GDP. 166 The Economist estimates
167
has
in
Mass
20%.
to
resulted
migration
a significant
rural urban
unemployment at around
expansion of the major cities especially Cairo. This has led to overcrowding, housing
inequality
the
in
breakdown
accentuated
of wealth
and
shortages,a
welfare services
distribution.

Egypt is also experiencing masspopulation growth, overburdening the already

by
difficulties
Egyptians,
While
the
these
are
experienced
the
all
stretched resourcesof
state.
for
Coptic
incentive
further
discrimination
emigration,
a
as
acts
added perception of
has
importance
Coptic
the
traditionally
West.
The
stressed
to
the
of
community
especially
long
hours
from
to
for
is
It
and
abstain
work
couples
middle
class
education.
common

120

luxuriesin orderto educatetheir familiesto thehighestpossiblestandard. Thus,relative to


thesizeof the community,Coptsaregenerallyhighly educated. A significantproportionof
this youngergenerationseekwork abroadwheretheybelievethey will be ableto attainhigh
positionsreflectingtheir abilities in contrastto their experiencesin Egypt. Combinedwith
discriminationandsecurityissues,thesefactorsall serve
thelack of political representation,
to enforcefeelingsof vulnerability amongthe Copticcommunityin Egypt who find
themselvesliving in a crisis of stateenvironment.

Christian Concems in Lebanon

In Lebanon,similar concernsaresharedby the Maronitecommunity. Onekey grievanceis


the lack of representationin the political system. After the civil war, manyMaronitesfelt
that they had lost powerin a countrythey perceivethat wascreatedastheir homeland.
Although the Presidentremainsa Maronite,his powershavebeenreduced. The two postwar
for
indebted
lightweights
Syria
to
by
the
have
been
as
community
presidents
regarded mostof
their positions. It wasnot until the assassination
of formerPrimeMinister Rafiq al-Hariri in
February2005 andthe Syrianwithdrawalthat the leaderswho areperceivedasgenuinely
Geagea
Samir
Aoun
Michel
"Maronite
were ableto returnto
the
and
representing
street"Lebanesepolitics (from exile andprisonrespectively).
Examplesgiving by Maronitesof discriminationtendto concentrateon political issues. As
in the pre-warera,seatsin parliamentaredivided amongstthe different confessionsaccording
168
However,candidatescan gain votesfrom
Accord.
to the quotasestablishedin the Taif
Lebaneseof all confessions. Accordingto el Khazen,"the decisivefactor in influencingthe
is,
Christian
district,
the
that
is
number
the
of
and
the
electoral
sizeof
outcomeof elections
169
Muslim votersin eachconstituency". During the yearsof Syrianinfluence,electorallaws

121

minimised the impact of voters from certain sects in specific constituencies.

In general,

regions with a Muslim majority were made into large electoral districts (between 19 and 28
seats) while those with a Christian majority were adapted into small districts (between 3 and 8
170
seats).

Under the 1992 law, votes for each candidatewere counted at the level of the large
constituency (muhafaza) but unlike previous elections, the candidatescompeted to represent a
smaller unit (qada). As el-Khazen demonstrates,this meant that a candidate could be elected
to representa specific area without polling the majority of votes in that constituency. By way
of illustration, a Maronite candidate, Manuel Younes, received 5271 votes compared to 927
votes polled by his opponent Charles Ayoub in the count in the qada of Batroun. Yet
Younes only won by 232 votes after the votes from the rest of the muhafaza had been
included. Ayoub received 98% of his votes from electors in other constituencies within the
171
different
Due
to
these
a
who
represented
confession
candidates
conditions,
muhafaza.
from that of the majority of voters in the large electoral district relied heavily on the support
in
for
five
Christian
For
from
the
different
those
seats
example, candidates
of
confessions.
the South were dependenton Muslim votes as only around 20% of the electorate were
Christian. In Jbeil, Christian voters decisively influenced the election of the one Shiite
172
11,835
Muslim
Christian
to
51,944
voters.
candidate as there were
voters compared
Although this system distorted representationat the qada level for several confessional
groups, the Christian communities were affected to a greater degree as nine Christian deputies
deputies
Muslim
de
facto
by
three
Muslim
were dependenton
were
voters while
elected
Christian votes.173 This occurred to the extent that the Greek Orthodox vote did not
decisively influence the outcome of the fourteen deputies elected to represent them.174
Consequently, several of the Christian candidateselected were not considered as populist
in
Furthermore,
by
their
previous elections, the
representatives
communities.

122

multiconfessional constituencies had served to dilute the chancesof candidates considered


representative of extremist views in their particular confession. This helped to minimise the
likelihood of confessional unrest. Under the new law, this safeguardno longer existed
becausevoters from another group were unable to have any effective influence on the
outcome of several seats. As demonstratedabove, in this regard, the division of the electoral
district favoured Muslim communities. For example, Hizb'allah candidateswere successful
in securing the two Shiite seatsin Mount Lebanon (traditionally seenas a Maronite
175
This can be ascribed to a combination of the electoral law and the consequent
stronghold).
Christian boycott.
Christian participation was greatly affected by both the absenceof strong leadership to build
cross-community alliances and the electoral boycott started by opposition parties in 1992.
This was due to the refusal of the authorities to postpone elections until Syrian redeployment
176
In 1992, only 5% of eligible Christians
in
Accord.
Taif
took place as stated the
participated, with one seat in Mount Lebanon won with 41 votes out of 60,000 registered
177
35% of the successful Christian candidateswere elected by Muslim voters but as a
voters.
consequenceof the electoral law, Christian voters had little influence on the election of
Muslim candidates.178 Corruption was also widespread in electoral campaigns, especially in
the first two elections held under Syrian tutelage. In the 1996 elections, these patterns
continued. Furthermore, electoral districts were shapedto serve the interests of key figures in
the political establishment. For example, South Lebanon was categorised as one district to
aid the SpeakerNabih Berri. However, in Mount Lebanon, the region was split into six small
179
leader
for
Walid
in
Druze
districts
Jumblatt.
Although
the
to
electoral
order securesuccess
these measureswere intended to prevent any electoral gains for government opponents, the
fact that many of the key opposition figures were Christian, meant that Christians perceived
that the electoral laws were used to discriminate against them.

123

There was deep discontent among Maronite circles when this electoral law was retained for
the 2005 parliamentary elections held after the Syrian withdrawal. The Maronite community
continued to be plagued by internal disunity. Somejoined the new anti-Syrian opposition led
by Saad al-Hariri and supported by Walid Jumblatt e.g. Qornet Shehwan members Nassib
Lahoud, Nayla Mouawad and Gabriel Murr. However, Aoun remained aloof from these
actors and allied with Christian figures who had been prominent in the former regime. His
bloc was successful in winning 21 seatsin the Mount Lebanon constituency. In the
immediate aftermath of the momentous events which occurred in Lebanon during 2005, there
appearedto be few changesto the feelings of political alienation previously expressedby the
Maronite masses. President Lahoud who is generally considered as a pro-Syrian appointment
especially after the extension of his mandate in September2004, withstood initial calls for his
resignation and remained in the office which is perceived as the highest position of authority
available to Maronites.
Security issues are also a Maronite priority in the post-civil war era. This focused on
Syrian influence in Lebanon in the post-civil war era. The Taif Accord legitimised the
presenceof the Syrian army but did state that the Syrians should redeploy to the Beqaa valley
'
80
This aspectwas not implemented and instead, Syrian policy was
two
within
years.
perceived by some as resulting in the de facto annexation of Lebanon. Several pacts were
signed, including the May 1991 Treaty of Brotherhood, Co-operation and Co-ordination, the
September 1991 Pact on Defence and Security and bilateral agreementson specific policy
18
1A
Maronite critic illustrates their understandingof Syrian-Lebaneserelations. "All
areas.
major decisions are to be arrived at "jointly" between the two unequal partners, which of
(Lebanon)
dictating
into
(Syria)
to
the
the
translates
weaker
on every
stronger
course
level". 182 There was also grave concern that the Lebanesesystem was becoming
"Syrianized". 183 Both the judiciary and security forces were used to crackdown on

124

government opponents. Opposition demonstrationswere rarely granted official permission


in contrast to frequent legal (and often armed) marches by Hizb'allah.
The issue of Hizb'allah causesconcern as unlike other militias, Hizb'allah was not disarmed
and instead was promoted by the authorities as the official resistance against Israel.

184

Not

only do some Lebaneseregard this as double standardsbut they also fear the consequencesof
such activity on the future stability of the country. The army was regularly used to disperse
opposition demonstrations, resulting in injuries and the detention of the predominantly student
protestors. Members of the two main opposition groups - the Free Patriotic Movement led
by Aoun and the LebaneseForces loyal to the imprisoned Geagea- were targeted by the
75
150
In
August
2001,
and
over
received a prison
questioned
were
regime.
over
185
While conditions have easedsince the withdrawal of the Syrian army, new
sentences.
has
been
there
have
Since
the
al-Hariri,
a series of
of
assassination
security concerns
arisen.
bombing incidents in the Greater Beirut region. Several of these exploded in predominantly
186
have
been
figures
Naturally, this is
targeted.
Christian areasand influential Christian
likely to have an adverse effect on the Maronite community and dampen initial enthusiasm for
this new era in Lebanesehistory.
Finally, the grave economic situation is a major concern for all Lebanese,not just
Christians. Socioeconomic inequality, which favoured the Maronites, was recognised as a
Constitution,
to
the
In
the architects of the
factor
the
to
the
preamble
contributing
civil war.
Taif Accord statesthat, "The even development among regions on the educational, social, and
the
be
basic
the
levels
the
state
and
stability of the
of
unity
of
pillar
a
economic
shall
1
87
by
initially
fuelled
the
'.
Although
post-war reconstruction
was
growth
economic
systern'
boom, this faltered by the mid 1990sdue to overspending, the failure to collect taxes or clamp
down on corruption and lack of investment due to regional instability.

Consequently, the

by
debt
$32
become
has
national
a
vast
of
around
characterised
post-war economic situation

125

billion andrising, high unemployment with youth unemploymentestimatedat 34%,


minimal economicgrowth, high costof living, inadequatewelfare servicesand frequent
'
88
strikesprotestingagainsttheseconditions. Governmentpolicy hasappearedinept at
dealingwith this ongoingcrisis. Instead,economicinequalityhasincreasedandcorruption
remainsrampant. Many Lebanesebelievethat the powerstrugglebetweenLahoudand alHariri contributedto the economiccrisis asit paralysedgovernmentinstitutions. These
factorshaveprovidedincentivesfor many Lebanese,including Christians,to continueto
emigrate. It is estimatedthat aroundhalf of thosewho left during the war yearswere
Christian. Furthermore,few Christianshavereturnedsincepeaceoccurredandthe still
it is
steadyflow of emigrantsaffectsthe alreadysmallercommunity. As a consequence,
widely acceptedthat the Shiitesarethe largestcommunity- estimatedat around30%, with
189
22%.
If currenttrendscontinue,thereare
Sunnis
Maronites
27%
the
at
around
andthe
fearsthat the Christianpopulation,currentlynot morethan30% of the population,could
declineto 15%within ten years. In general,thesefactorshaveled to the reawakeningof the
historic Maronite fear of losing their ability to fully participatein the Lebanesestate. There
areconcernsamongstMaronitesthat their uniqueposition is endangeredandthat Lebanese
Christianswill soonexperiencethe dhimmistatuscommonto otherChristiancommunitiesin
the region. Consequently,thesetraditionalanxietiesreinforcethe perceptionof vulnerability
held by many in the Maronitecommunity.

Summajy

This chapterhasexaminedthe main political strategypursuedby Christiansin the Middle


Eastfrom the late nineteenthcenturyonwards. While the detailsmay havediffered
dependingon the variation of nationalismfollowed (Arab, Egyptianor Lebanese),the aims

126

remained steadfast. The tremendous changeswhich occurred in the region - the collapse of
the empire, the presenceof colonial rulers and independence- offered Christians a multitude
of opportunities. Nationalism representeda natural development from the situation attained
by the ground-breaking tanzimat reforms which introduced the notion of citizenship
regardlessof religious allegiance. Its emphasison ethnicity rather than Islam as the
fundamental determining identity of the nation allowed Christians to discard their dhimmi
status. It also provided the framework to participate in society as individual citizens rather
than depending on communal representation. The hope, time and energy invested in these
movements by Christians illustrates the belief that this approach was the only way to secure
recognition and participation. Yet by the latter twentieth century, it was apparent that not
only had all three variations failed to cure the problems facing the region or state respectively,
but also the quest for full participation and equality remained unfulfilled.
Various factors were responsible for the demise of nationalism as a populist indigenous
ideology. Firstly, actors proved unable to transform the rhetoric into comprehensive policies.
Regardlessof the development strategy followed, both countries failed to experience
widespread economic growth and fulfil the material needsof the entire population.
Secondly, complex identity issuesremained unresolved. In the caseof Arab and Egyptian
between
distinction
there
nationalism and Islam. Hence, there
nationalism,
was never a clear
was a clear correlation between the increasedprominence of Islam at the heart of these
movements and its popularity among the masses. In Lebanon, the variation of nationalism
followed by the Christian population (particularly the Maronites) failed to develop into an
ideology which surpassedcommunal identity and could be acceptedby all citizens of the
Lebanesestate. When confronted with severepolitical, socioeconomic and security
in
have
to
either of the states.
no
answer
challenges, nationalism appeared

127

According to the criteria established in the earlier chapter, the two countries studied in this
thesis can be describing as exhibiting conditions associatedwith a crisis of state environment.
Both stateshave struggled to provide physical and material security for all their citizens.
With the failure of the post-independencenationalist movements, a pattern has emerged
among the Muslim population. There has been a general revival of political Islam, witnessed
particularly in Egypt and amongst the Shiite community in Lebanon. The Christian
communities are concerned at this potential return to dhimmi status and the inequality
conveyed by this term. The failings of the nationalist movements are simultaneously the
failings of Middle East Christians to find a system that allows them to participate in political
life as equal citizens. For Christians, this leaves unansweredthe traditional questions
concerning their role in society. This perception of vulnerability is apparent when examining
contemporary concerns of the Christian communities. The Coptic community is still
struggling against its traditional position of dhimmi, failed to attain full equality with Egyptian
Muslims and frequently made the scapegoatwhen tensions erupt either between the
communities or between the authorities and Islamic militants. Recovering from the traumas
of the civil war, the Maronites came to the unhappy realization that their secular leadership
had collapsed and their pre-war political dominance was no longer assured. Instead, they
now have to wrestle with the same issuesfacing other Christian communities in the Middle
East, in particular political participation, equality and security. In this context, it is
unsurprising that both communities have turned to the one communal institution which is
has
Just
interests
the
the
their
as
occurred
church.
with
revival of
perceived as serving
is
is
but
instead
Muslim
this
Islam
the
a
radical
not
new
approach
population,
political
among
Christianity
in
historic
the Middle East traditional
aspect
of
and
an updated version of a
hierarchy.
the
through
church
political representation

128

I Robert Brenton Betts, Christians in the Arab East (London, SPCK, 1979) p. 20
2 Otto F Meinardus, Christian Eqvpt: Faith and Life (Cairo, The American University in Cairo Press
1970) p. 17
3 Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam : from Jihad to Dhimmitude (London,
Associated University Press, 1996) p. 162
4 Bruce Masters, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World : The Roots of Sectarianism
(Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001) p. 134
5 Kamal H Karpat, "Millets and Nationality: The Roots of the Incongruity of Nation and State in the
post-Ottoman Era" in Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis (eds), Christians and Jews in the
Ottoman Empire: The Functioninq of a Plural Society Volume One The Central Lands (London,
Holmes & Meier Publisher Ltd, 1982) p. 163
6 Masters, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World p. 134
Betts, Christians in the Arab East p. 22
Youssef Courbage and Phillipe Fargues, Christians and Jews under Islam (London, IB Tauris
Publishers, 1992) p. 79
Samir Khalaf, "Communal Conflict in Nineteenth Century Lebanon" in Benjamin Braude and
Bernard Lewis (eds), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural
Society Volume Two The Arabic Speakinq Lands (London, Holmes & Meier Publisher Ltd, 1982)
p. 129
10 Betts, Christians in the Arab East p. 23
John W Jandora, "Butrus al-Bustani, Arab consciousness, and Arabic Revival*,Muslim World 74(2)
1984 p. 76

: Ibid p. 73
13 Bassam Tibi, Arab Nationalism Between Islam and the Nation-State (London, MacMillan Press
:

Ltd, 1997) p. 103


14Kamil Salibi, "The Christian Role in the Arab Renaissance" The Near East School of Theolow
Theological Review 150) 1994 p. 14
15Jandora, "Butrus a[-Bustani, Arab consciousness, and Arabic Revival" p. 81
'a Tibi, Arab Nationalism : Between Islam and the Nation-State p. 104
17Rashid Khalidi, "Ottomanism and Arabism in Syria before 1914 :a Reassessment" In Rashid
Khalidi et al (ed), The Origins of Arab Nationalism (New York, Columbia University Press,
1991) P. 50
18Mahmoud Haddad, "The Rise of Arab Nationalism Reconsidered" International Journal of Middle
East Studies 26 1994 p. 215
C Ernest Dawn, "The Origins of Nationalism" in Rashid Khalidi et al (ed), The Origins of Arab
Nationalism (New York, Columbia University Press, 1991) p. 12
Kamal S Salibi, The Modern History of Lebanon (London, Weldenfeld and Nicolson, 1965) p. 155
21Kenneth Cragg, The Arab Christian :A History in the Middle East (London, Mowbray, 1992) p. 148
22Tibi, Arab Nationalism : Between Islam and the Nation-State p. 113
23Dawn, "The Origins of Arab Nationalism" p. 15
24Tibl, Arab Nationalism : Between Islam and the Nation-State p. 116
25Hazem Zaki Nuseibeh, The Origins of Arab Nationalism (London, Kennikat Press, 1956) p. 55
26James A Bill and Robert Springborg, Politics in the
le East (New York, Harper Collins, 1994)_p.
74
27 Walid Phares, Lebanese Christian Nationalism: The Rise and Fall of an Ethnic Resistance
(London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1995) p. 15
28Fouad Ajami, The Arab Predicament: Arab Political Thought and Practice Since 1967 (Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 1981) p. 51
29Kamal S Salibl, A House of Many Mansions: A History of Lebanon Reconsidered (London, IB Tauris
& Co Ltd, 1988) p. 48
30Tibi, Arab Nationalism : Between Islam and the Nation-State p. 205
Salibi, A House of Many Mansions p. 54
31John H Watson, Among the Copts (Brighton, Sussex Academic Press, 2000) p. 7
32BL Carter, The Copts in Egyptian Politics (London, Croom Helm, 1986) p. 10
33Mordechai Nisan, Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression (London,
McFarland & Company, 1991)_p.122
34SS Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt: The Century-Lonq Struggle for Coptic
Equali (New York, Oxford University Press, 2003) p. 34
35Aid Tamura, "Ethnic Consciousness and its Transformation in the course of Nation-building : The

129

Muslim and the Copt in Egypt 1906-1919" Muslim World 75(2) 1985 p. 106
36Carter, The Copts in Egyptian Politics p. 65
37Mustafa el-Feki, "A Coptic Leader in the Egyptian National Movement" International Studies 220)
1985 p. 56
38 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Eavot 35
p.

39Jean-Pierre Valognes, Vie et mort des Chrefiens d'Orient (Paris, Fayard, 1994)p. 533
40 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 36
41Carter, The Copts in Eqvptian Politics p. 16
42Ibid p. T6_3
43Christiaan van Nispen tot Sevenaer, "Changes in Relations between Copts and Muslims (19521994) in the light of the Historical Experience" in Nelly van Doom Harder and Karl Vogt (eds)
Between Desert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Today (Oslo, Institute for Comparative
Research in Human Culture, 1997) p. 25
44Carter, The Copts in E-qvptianPolitics p. 143
45Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 38
46Carter, The Copts in Eqyptian Politics p. 143
47lbid p. 145
48JD Pennington, "The Copts in Modem Egypt" Middle Eastern Studies 18(2)_1982 161
p.
49Carter, The Copts in Egyptian Politics p. 145
50Nisan,
rities in the Middle East p. 123
51Asher Kaufman, Reviving Phoenicia : The Search for an Identity in Lebanon (Brandeis University,
Unpublished Dissertation, 2000) p. 236
52Salibi, A House of Many Mansions p. 179
53Phares, Lebanese Christian Nationalism p. 39
54 Ibid p. 71

'55Najib E Saliba, "Syrian-Lebanese Relations" in Halim Barakat (ed), Toward a Viable Lebanon
(London, Croom Helm, 1988) p. 147
56Elizabeth Picard, Lebanon
Realities
Myths
Country:
Wars
In
Lebanon
Shattered
the
and
of
-A
(London, Holmes & Meier, 1996) p. 66
57Theodor Hanf, Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon (London, The Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1993)
P* 70
Roger Owen, State. Power & Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East (London, Routledge,
1992) p. 21
59R Hrair Dekmejian, Islam in Revolution : Fundamentalism In the Arab World (Syracruse, Syracruse
University Press, 1985) p. 109
60Bill and Springborg, Politics in the Middle East p. 39
61Laura Guazzone (ed), The Islamist Dilemma: The Political Role of Islamist Movements In the
Contemporarv Arab World (Reading, Garnot Publishing Ltd, 1995) p. 8
62Owen, State. Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East p. 33
63Tibi. Arab Nationalism , Between Islam and the Nation-State p. 24
64Kirs'ten E Schulze, The Arab-Israeli Conflict (Harlow, Pearson Education Limited, 1999) p. 39
65Martin Kramer, Arab Awakening and Islamic Revival (London, Transaction Publishers, 1996) p. 3
6'3Laurent Chabry and Annie Chabry, Politique et minorites au Proche Orient: Les ralsons d'une
explosion (Paris, Maisonneuve & Larose, 1984) p. 302
Owen, State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East p. 33
68Valogn
ie et mort des Chretiens d'Orient p. 537
69Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Mo
103-4
.
70Nisan, Minorities in the Middle East P. 124
71Theodore Hall Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianity :A History of the CoDtic Orthodox Church
(Greensboro, Fisher Park Press, 1996) p. 155
72Christian Cannuyer, Coptic Eqvr)t: The Christians of the Nile (London, Thames & Hudson Ltd,
2001) p. 103
73Nisan, Minorities in the Middle East P. 125
74Samir Khalaf, "Primordial Ties and Politics in Lebanon" Middle Eastern Studies 4(3 1968 p. 260
75Phares, Lebanese Christian Nationalism p. 88

76Farid el Khazen, The Communal Pact of National Identities (Oxford, Centre for Lebanese Studies,
1991) p. 35
77Andrew Rigby, "Lebanon Patterns Confessional Politics" Parliamentary Affairs 530) 2000

of

p. 170

130

78Ephraim A Frankel, "The Maronite Patriarch : An Historical view of a Religious Za'im in the 1958
Lebanese Crisis" The Muslim World 66(4) p. 245
9 Elizabeth Picard, Lebanon
Wars
in
Lebanon
Myths
Realities
the
Country:
Shattered
of
and
-A
(London, Holmes & Meier, 1996) p. 73
80Khalaf, "Primordial Ties and Politics in Lebanon" p. 236
81Nisan, Minorities in the Middle East P. 186
132
Picard, Lebanon -A Shattered Country p. 80
3 lbid p. 88
4 Raymond G Helmick, "Internal Lebanese Politics: The Lebanese Front and Forces" in Halim
Barakat (ed), Toward a Viable Lebanon (London, Croom Heim, 1988) p. 107
85Haddad, Simon, "Christian-Muslim Relations and Attitudes towards the Lebanese State" Journal of
Muslim Minority Affairs 210) 2001 p. 132

John L Esposito (ed), Voices of Resurgent Islam (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1983) p. 13
87 Ibid p. 13

88R Hrair Dekmejian, Islam in Revolution : Fundamentalism in the Arab World (Syracruse, Syracruse
University Press, 1985) p. 44
8gIbid p. 44
'oIbid p. 33
91Hassan Turabi, "The Islamic State" in John L Esposito (ed), Voices of Resurgent Islam (Oxford,
Oxford University Press, 1983) p. 250
92Yvonne Haddad, "Islamist Depictions of Christianity in the Twentieth Century: the pluralism debate
and the depiction of the other" Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 70 1996 p. 85
93Charles J Adams, "Mawdudi and the Islamic State" in John L Esposito (ed), Voices of Resurqent
Islam (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1983) p. 122
94Gudrun Kramer, "Dhimmi Citizen? Muslim-Christian Relations in Egypt" in Jorgen S Nielson (ed)
The Christian-Muslim Frontier: Chaos. Clash or Dialogue (London, IB Tauris, 1998) p. 41
Ibid p. 40
96 John J Donohue, Muslim-Christian Relations: Dialogue In Lebanon (Washington DC, Center for
Muslim-Christian Understanding : History and International Affairs, 1995) p. 15
97 Ahmad Yousif, "Islam, Minorities and Religious Freedom :A Challenge to Modern Theory of
Pluralism" Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 200) 2000 p. 36
198Haddad, "Islamist Depictions of Christianity in the Twentieth Century" p. 85
99 The perception of vulnerability was made clear in many interviews with Christians In both Egypt and
Lebanon. However, this was certainly more pronounced amongst ordinary members of the church
rather than members of the clergy or elite representatives.
100G Warburg, "Islam and Politics in Egypt: 1952-1980" Middle Eastern Studies 18(2) 1982 p. 145
1()' Valognes, Vie et mort des Chretiens d'Orient p. 539
102John L Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999) p.
95
103Nadia Ramsis Farah, Religious Strife in Egypt: Crisis and Ideolociical Conflict in the Seventies
(London, Gordon and Breach Saerice Publishers, 1986) p. 36
104Ann M Lesch, "The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt: Reform or Revolution" in Matthew C Moen and
Lowell S Gustafson (eds), The Religious Challenge to the State (Philadelphia, Temple University
Press, 1992) p. 194
105John Eibner (ed) Christians in Egypt : Church Under Slege (London, Institute for Religious
Minorities in the Islamic World, 1993) p. 20
'06Christophe Ayad, Geopolitique de I'EqvDte (Bruxelles, Editions Complexe, 2002) p. 58
107Watson, Among the Copts p. 93
10'3
Denis J Sullivan and Sana Abed Kotob, Islam in Contemporarv Eqyi)t: Civil Society vs the State
(London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999) p. 87
109Hamied Ansari, "Sectarian Conflict in Egypt and the Political Expediency of Religion" Middle East
Journal 38(3) 1984 p. 413
'u Eibner, Christians in Egypt: Church Under Sieqe.p. 24
John Watson, "The Desert Fathers Today: Contemporary Coptic Monasticism" In Anthony
O'Mahony (ed), Eastern Christianity: Studies in Modern History. Religion and Politics (London,
Melisende, 2004) p. 132
Cornelis Hulsman, "Christians in Egypt: the impact of Islamic resurgence" Reli-qiousNews
Service from the Arab World 27th December 2002 p. 89
... Elie Podeh, "Egypt's struggle against the Militant Islamic Groups* in Bruce Maddy-Weitzman and

131

Efrairn Inbar (eds), Religious Radicalism in the Greater Middle East (London, Frank Cass, 1997)
p. 50
113Sullivan, Islam in Contemporarv
Eqypt, Civil Society vs the State
128

p.
114Robert Springborg,
"Egypt:
Repression's
Toll" Current History 97j615) 1998 p. 32
115Mona Makram-Ebeid,
"Egypt's 2000 Parliamentary
Elections" Middle East Policy 8(2) 2001 p. 38
118 The Economist, "Not
8th December 2005
yet a democracy"
www, economist. com/displavstorv.
cfm? storv id=5280976
117Mona Makram-Ebeid,
"Political Opposition
in Egypt: Democratic
Myth or Reality" Middle Eastern
Journal 43(3) 1989 p. 432
The Europa Yearbook Volume 1142 nd edition (London, Europa Publications,
2001) p. 1421
119Ibid
p. 420
120John 0 Voll, "Fundamentalism
in the Sunni Arab World" in Martin E Marty and R Scott Appleby
(eds), Fundamentalism
Observed (London, University of Chicago Press, 1991) p. 387
121 Sullivan, Islam in Contemporarv
Eqvp p. 91
122 Fawaz A Gerges, "The Condition
of the Islamist Insurgency in Egypt? Costs and Prospects"
Middle East Journal 54(4 2000 p. 599
Interview with Catholic priest, Cairo, November 2003
124Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt
174
.
125Maurus Reinkowski,
"National Identfty in Lebanon since 1990" Orient 38(3) 1997 p. 501
12" Kirsten Schulze, The Arab-Israeli
Conflict p. 67
127Boutros Labaki, "The Christian Communities
and the Economic and Social Situation in Lebanon" in
Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities
in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future
(Oxford, Clarendon
Press, 1998)
128Phares, Lebanese Christian Nationalism
P. 146
129Labaki, "The Christian Communities
and the Economic and Social Situation in Lebanon" p. 245
130Meir Zamir, "From Hegemony to Marginalism
: The Maronites of Lebanon" in Ofra Bengio and
Gabriel Ben Dor (eds), Minorites and the State in the Arab World (London, Lynne Reinner
Publishers,
1999) p. 122
131 Hanf, Coexistence
in Wartime Lebanon p. 586
132Phares, Lebanese Christian Nationalism
p. 157
133Picard, Lebanon
139
Shattered
Country
p.
-A
134Andrea Z Stephanous,
in the Islamic
Religion and Politics in the Middle East: Political Christianity
Context (University of Manchester,
2002) p. 252
'jo Pennington,
"The Copts in Modern Egypt" p. 168
136Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt
112
.
137Al Ahram Weekl
"A Snag in the National Fabric" 22n' June 2000
,
htm
http: //weekiv. ahram. orq. eq/2000/487/eq8.
The belief that political parties are not pro-active in promoting Coptic candidates
was a commonin Cairo, October-November
held view amongst ordinary Copts interviewed
2003.
138The Economist. "Country Briefings
: Egypt" 1 9th December 2000
cfm? Storv ID=577598
www. economist. com/countries/EavDt/PrinterFriendly.
13gThe Economist, "Not
8m December 2005
yet a democracy"
14Ual-Akhbar, 21sDecember
2005
141Arabic News.
th February 2000
Copts"
4
"Ruling
Egyptian
com,
party nominates
html
http: //www. arabicnews. com/ansub/Dailv/Day/000204/200002045.
142Makram-Ebeid,
"Egypt's 2000 Parliamentary
Elections" p. 39
143Al Ahram Weekly, "A Snag in the National Fabrie 22nd June 2000
144-

Asad, Geopolitique de I'Eqypte p. 56


145Arabic News. com, "Egyptian government first Copt minister in 30 years" 04 January 2006

html
http: //www. arabic. news. com. ansub/Dailv/Dav/060102/2006010218.
1413
Information obtained from interviews with Egyptians covering a wide range of religious and social
background.
147David Zeidan, "The Copts Equal, Protected
Persecuted? The Impact Islamization
148
149
150
151

or
of
on
Muslim-Christian Relations in Modern Egypt" Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations 10(l) 1999 p.
58
Eibner, Christians in Egypt : Church Under Siege p. 26
lbid p. 27
Zeidan, "The Copts - Equal, Protected or Persecuted? p. 57
International Reliqious Freedom Report 2003

132

152Watani International. "And again, Who can stand up to the security apparatus?. 26thOctober 2003
153Hulsman, "Christians in Egypt: the impact of Islamic resurgence" p. 81
154Middle East Online, "Mubarak eases restrictions on church building" 11thDecember 2005
www. copts.net/id-825
, 00 International Reliqious Freedom Report 2003
156BBC News, "Church bells lead to Egypt clashes" 1othFebruary 2002
htti):Hnews.bbc.co.uk/l/hi/World/middle east? 1812730.stm
157Ami Ayalon, "Egypt's Coptic Pandora's Box" in Ofra Bengio and Gabriel Ben-Dor (eds), Minorities
and the State in the Arab World (London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999) p. 59
, 0* Middle East International 616. "Egypt: communal killings" 14thJanuary 2000 p. 17
159The Economist. "Egypt's vulnerable Copts" 6thJanuary 2000
www.economist.com/PrinterFriendiv.cfm?Storv ID=271592
Al-Ahram WeekIv, "The meanings of al-Kosheh" 3r(' February 2000
http://w ekIV.ahram.org.eq/2000/467/eq7.htm
161US Copts Association, "The Egyptian Regime Encourages Persecution of Coptic Christians" 7th
March 2002 http://www.coi)ts.net/print.asp?id=272
162Al Ahram WeekIV, "A[ Kosheh dossier reopened" 81nNovember 2001
http://w ekiv.ahran.org.eq/2001/559/eq6.htm
163International Religious Freedom Report 2003
104Watani International, "Shock acquittals at El Kosheh" 9thMarch 2003
165Eberhard Kienle, "More than a response to Islamism : The Political Deliberalization of Egypt In the
1990s" Middle East Journal 52(2) 1998 p. 230
' Weekly, "The Cabinet's new look" 2 5thJuly2004
166AI-Ahram
http://weekly. ahram.orq.eq/2004/699/eql. htm
167The Economist, "Egypt's Economy" 5"' January 2002 p. 44
Under the Taif Accord, parliamentary seats have been equally divided between Muslims and
Christians. Within each group, the allocation is as follows - 64 Muslim seats -(27 Sunni, 27 Shiite,
2 Alawi and 8 Druze) and 64 Christian seats (34 Maronite, 6 Armenian, 14 Greek Orthodox, 6
Greek Catholic, 4 Other Christians).
See Augustus Richard Norton and Jullian Schwedler, "Swiss Soldiers, Ta'if Clocks and early
elections: Toward a happy ending?" in Deirdre Collings (ed), Peace for Lebanon: From War to
Reconstruction (London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994) p. 52

Farid el Khazen, "Lebanon - Independent No More" Middle East Quarterl


170Ibid p. 48

2001 p. 48

171Farid el Khazen, Prospects for Lebanon : Lebanon's First Postwar Parliamentary Election (Oxford,
Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1998) p. 24-5
172Ibid p. 25

173lbid p. 26
174 Khazen, "Lebanon

48
More"
No
Independent
p.
el
175 Norton and Schwedler, "Swiss Soldiers, Ta'if Clocks and early elections" p. 57
176Charles Winslow, Lebanon : War and Politics in a fragmented socie (London, Routledge, 1996) p.
282-3
177Augustus Richard Norton, "Lebanon : With Friends like these" Current History January 1997 p. 7
Norton and Schwedler, "Swiss Soldiers, Ta'if Clocks and early elections" p. 56

176el Khazen, "Lebanon


48
More"
No
Independent
p.
179lbid p. 47

180Paul Salem, "Framing Post-War Lebanon : Perspectives on the Constitution and the Structure of
Power" Mediterranean Politics 30 1998 p. 17
181Norton, "Lebanon : With Friends like these" p. 9
182Habib C Malik, "The Future of Christian Arabs" Mediterranean Quarterly 17(2) 1996 p. 92
1133
Farid el Khazen, Prospects for Lebanon : Lebanon's First Postwar Parliamentary Election (Oxford,
Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1998) p. 73
184Magnus Ranstorp, "The Strategy and tactics of Hizballah's Current "Lebanonization" Process*
Mediterranean Politics 30) 1998 p. 125
"50BBC News, "Lebanese court releases Christians" 2othAugust 2001
"(1 Christian areas targeted include New Jdeide (March), Kaslik (March) and Achrafieh (September).
Victims of car bombings in 2005 include Samir Kassir aournalist), George Hawi (former leader of
the Lebanese Communist party), Elias Murr (outgoing Defence Minister at time of attack), May
Chidiac aournalist) and Gibran Tueni Gournalistand parliamentary deputy).

133

187The Lebanese Constitution


188Th-eDailv Sta "Does the gateway to the Middle East lie in ruins? I OthFebruary 2004
The Daily Sta "Conference examines youth unemployment dilemma" 30thJanuary 2004
,
'"Valognes, Vie et Mort des Chretiens d'Orlent p. 637

134

Chapter Four The Political Role of Patriarch Shenouda 111,


-

Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa

Introduction

The previous chaptershave attempted to substantiatethe claim that throughout the


centuries, especially with the implementation of the millet system, the Coptic Orthodox
Patriarch has acted as the representativeof the community to the Egyptian authorities. In the
contemporary era, the Coptic community has witnessed the decline of its secular elite who
were influential in the early twentieth century nationalist movement. The rise of political
Islam in Egypt, particularly under the presidency of Sadat,heightened perceptions of
vulnerability amongst the Coptic community. Sporadic outbursts of communal violence add
to the general problems facing Egypt - demandsfor political participation, economic benefits
and security. It is under these conditions that Patriarch Shenoudahas led the Coptic
Orthodox Church since his election in 1971. This study proposes that the patriarch has used
the ample resourcesof the church to consolidate his position as the head of the community
and has filled the leadership vacuum which existed as a consequenceof the decline of the
secular elite.
This chapter will explore the methods used by the patriarch to reinforce the political
authority of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate. Firstly, a short biography will be given of
Patriarch Shenouda. The discussion will then examine his assertive style of rule between
1971-1981 which ended with his banishment to a desertmonastery. The main focus of this
thesis is centred on the activities of the patriarch since his releasein 1985 and will provide an
opportunity to contrast the different methods he pursued, with the aim of explaining the
had
has
Coptic
Renewal
for
The
the
a significant impact on
motivation
change of approach.

135

patriarchal authority. As this revival commencedin the 1940s, its effects had obviously
already been witnessed in the church by the time Patriarch Shenoudabecame the head of the
church. However, it is crucial that it is examined here as it is a vital element of the authority
enjoyed today by the patriarch. As a member, monk and bishop of the Coptic Orthodox
Church, the future Patriarch Shenoudawas active at every level of the renewal movement.
Furthermore as patriarch, he has presided over a vibrant Coptic Orthodox Church and enjoyed
the fruits of the renewal process. The discussion will then look at the ways in which
Patriarch Shenoudahas used the themes of this renewal as tools to enhancethe authority of
the patriarch over the community. This study claims that after his return from the desert in
1985, the patriarch initially concentratedon consolidating power within the church and
community. This will be analysedin relation to the hierarchy, laity and ecumenical
been
Once
had
been
has
illustrating
this
this
that
successful.
achieved,
mostly
organisations,
the patriarch was able to addressother issuesin his role as Coptic civil representative.
The political views voiced by Patriarch Shenoudawill be examined, suggesting that
in
detailed
be
they
the
Coptic
to
earlier,
must
these
the
viewed
grievances
although
relate
look
discussion
The
the
will
at the responseto this political
context of
millet partnership.
laity),
Islamic
(both
Coptic
the
and
clergy
religious representatives
community
role amongst
involvement
leader
in
determine
the
the
to
of
a
religious
political
and
whether
government
issueshas an adverse effect on communal relations. Lastly, the successof these endcavours
by the patriarch will be critically assessedand possible scenarios for the continued role of the
be
Coptic
the
will
the
community
explored. This will
patriarch as
civil representativeof
in
influencing
individual
the
importance
a
patriarch
the
characteristics of
stressthe
of
discussion
Hence,
this
a
provide
on the political
to
will
chapter
response any political role.
dimension of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch under Patriarch Shenoudawith reference to the
in
institution
temporal
leader
authority
the
a crisis of
that
exercise
can
of a religious
extent

136

state enviromnent in a country where relations between different groups are characterised,by a
system which cedes authority to the head of the church.

A Brief Biography of Patriarch Shenouda

The development of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the late twentieth century has been
greatly influenced by its patriarch elected to office in 1971 - Pope Shenouda. Born Nazir
Gayed in 1923 to a middle class family in Assiut (Upper Egypt), he graduated in History from
'
Israel.
Thefuture
Cairo University and was an army officer in the 1948 war against
Shenoudabecame known as a theologian, journalist, orator and poet. Hewasactively
involved in the Sunday School movement, editor of the Sunday School magazine and in 1953,
2
he
Aged
Helwan.
in
thirty-one,
the
the
theology
enteredmonastic
seminary at
was
chair of
life, joining Deir al-Surian in 1954 where he spent sometime as a hermit. Aftereightyears
in the monastery, he became one of the first to take the new position created by Patriarch
Kyrillos VI - general bishop. In 1962, he was consecratedBishop of Higher Theological
Studies and was able to continue his interest in the Sunday School movement. As bishop,
Shenoudawas extremely popular particularly with the Coptic youth. His charisma and
"Shenouda
Heikal
that
the
traditional
states
was the
clergy.
energy contrasted with
determined
to change the
the
monks,
militant
of
new generation
outstanding representative of
Church from an isolated and backward institution into something more in tune with the
his
dars
important
One
meetings
weekly
a1jumaa
was
activity
contemporary world .3
(lesson on Friday). His willingness to answer questions from ordinary members of the
differences
illustrated
but
helped
these
humorous
also
only
remarks not
community often with
to ensurethat he became well-known within the community. Shenoudawas known to be
4
Coptic
rights.
outspoken regarding

137

After the death of Patriarch Kyrillos VI in 1971, Shenoudawas elected by altar lot having
5

come secondbehind Bishop Samuel in the first stageof the elections.

Aged forty-seven

when he became patriarch, Shenoudahas been able to make an impression on the church in all
areas- spiritual, social and political.

As will be seen,the Coptic Renewal movement

certainly cannot be solely associatedwith Shenouda. However, he has played an


instrumental role in ensuring its continuation. According to O'Mahony, "It was to Shenouda,
the product and personification of the Church's renewal, that the task fell of inscribing the
6
leadership
in
history".
Alexandria
new
vocation of the patriarchate of

The Early Years as Patriarch (1971-1981)

As has been seen,under the millet system, the patriarch as the religious representative of the
Coptic community, also enjoyed a de facto political role. Several factors combined to ensure
that Patriarch Shenoudautilised this position in a more assertivemanner than his predecessor.
In fact, Sedra statesthat his election to the patriarchate ended the traditional millet
7
between
the state and the church. Representing the new generation of church
relationship
reformers, Patriarch Shenoudawas eagerto fill the leadership vacuum left by the decline of
the secular Coptic elite. Farah statesthat "The new church modernists saw themselves as
both the religious and political spokesmenfor the Copts". 8 Patriarch Shcnoudawas known
for his charismatic personality, strong political views and authoritarian Icadership.9 As
Bishop with responsibility for education, he held weekly meetings which had taken a political
10
his
Kyrillos
Pope
to
tone to the extent that Nasser pressurised
control
outspoken clcric.
According to Ansari, he representedthe movement within the church hierarchy that was no
longer willing to seekrecourse through the traditional method of private representation of
Coptic concerns to state officials. "

Instead, he saw it as his duty to adopt an assertive role to

138

stand up for the collective rights of the community. Van Nispen statesthat "the patriarch
himself, Pope Shenouda,a very strong personality and one of the symbols of the Coptic
renaissance,came increasingly to play a political role and to be seennot only as the
12
but
leader
Christians".
representative,
as the real political
of the
This new confrontational approach was apparentbetween 1971 and 1981. Thefirstmajor
tension centred on a traditional Coptic grievance regarding restrictions on church buildings.
Due to the difficulties encounteredin gaining the required building permits, churches were
sometimesbuilt unofficially or Coptic owned buildings were used for services. Tension had
increasedin Khanka, a town to the north of Cairo over Coptic attempts to transform the
offices of a Christian society into a church. In November 1972, the premises were set on fire.
However, the patriarch refused to opt for problem solving behind the sceneswith government
officials as had been the tradition under other patriarchs. Instead, one hundred priests and
monks were sent to Khanka in protest at this incident and conducted prayers on the site.
Consequently, the situation escalatedwhen local Muslims attacked Christian property. 13 A
parliamentary commission investigated this incident and recommended several measures
including amending the laws pertaining to church building but these were not implemented.

14

In 1977, tensions were raised again when the government attempted to introduce sharia law
into the Egyptian legal system. The inclusion of the apostasypenalty was viewed by church
leaders as affecting Christians becausethose who converted to Islam for convenience e.g.
divorce or career ambitions, would be unable to return to Christianity. "

Consequently, a

Coptic Conference was held which addressednot only this specific issue but also other
bill,
to
the
The
the
apostasy
reject
annul the
government
general concerns.
conference urged
Ottoman law concerning the building of churches,ensureequal opportunities and take a
16
Shenouda
for
Patriarch
five
Furthermore,
Islamic
to
called
a
robust approach
extremism.
day collective fast to highlight the problems facing the community. This public use of a

139

Coptic ritual illustrates the mood of the community at this time.

O'Mahony

suggests that

these actions by the patriarch should be seen in the context of the community taking on the
17
The government
role of the monastery where all participate through collective action.
abandoned the bill but violence against the Copts increased as many Muslims resented what

they perceived as unnecessaryCoptic interference in a Muslim only issue.18


The third example of this assertive approach occurred in 1980 amidst increasedsectarian
violence and the amendment of the constitution to acknowledge sharia law as being the
principal source of legislation. In an attempt to highlight government inaction regarding antiChristian violence, the patriarch cancelled the 1980 Easter celebrations and retired with the
'
9
hierarchy
desert
to a
church
monastery. This measurewas embarrassing for President Sadat
as government representativesnormally attendedEaster celebrations to proclaim their good
illustrated
Consequently,
Coptic
these
to
the
examples
a break from the
wishes
community.
traditional co-operative political role of the church. However, the majority of these responses
can be related to legislative proposals or attacks against Coptic property. According to
Ansari, "what arousedthe hostility of the militant Copts and compelled them to adopt
defensive measureswas the rise of Islamic militancy" 20
.
Ordinary Muslims were not the only people who opposedthis new confrontational
Church
Orthodox
Coptic
Sadat
the
the
as a threat to his
approach.
saw
reaction of
believed
he
leader
Islamic
As
that he was solely
Muslim
country,
presidency.
of an
a
21
his
care. Tension was also
responsible for ensuring the protection of minorities under
raised due to the refusal of Patriarch Shenoudato lift the ban on Coptic pilgrimage to
Jerusalem. Until the Six Day War in 1967, the Coptic Orthodox Church had encouraged
Jordanian
in
Jerusalem
holy
East
control.
to
the
under
was
which
visits
sites

22

In particular,

they organised annual pilgrimages at Easter. However, these had stopped once Israeli forces
between
Egypt and
With
Jerusalem.
the
the
of
relations
normalization
captured
entire city of

140

Israel as a consequenceof the Camp David Accords in 1978, Sadatwas under pressure from
the Israeli government to increasethe number of Egyptian visitors to Israel. These were
minimal in contrast to the many Israeli holidaymakers who came to Sinai. Acknowledging
that his policy towards Israel was highly unpopular, Sadat acceptedthat few Egyptian
Muslims were likely to be willing to visit Israel. However, he hoped that Copts could be
encouragedto resume their pilgrimages to Jerusalem. In contrast, Patriarch Shenoudadid not
believe that the hostile political relations between Egypt and the rest of the Arab world would
23
remain permanent. Thus, it was crucial to ensure that the Coptic community avoided any
possibility of being labelled traitors to the Arab cause. Patriarch Shenoudatold Sadat that he
would only go to Jerusalemif he was accompaniedby the leader of the Palestinians, Yasser
Arafat. 24 Although this reaction can be seenas indicative of the patriotism of the church
leaders, it is also true that the decision was motivated by his desire to protect the community.
The refusal of the patriarch to lift the official ban on the pilgrimage angered Sadat. This
apparent disobedience heightened the personal rivalry between the two men.
Furthermore, Sadatwas humiliated during his 1980 trip to the United Stateswhen Coptic
6migr6s launched newspaper campaignsand organised demonstrations protesting at the plight
25
in
Copts
Egypt.
On his return, he launched scathing public attacks on the church
of
hierarchy, declaring that the patriarch was aiming to be a political as well as religious leader.
He accusedhim of conspiring to establish a Coptic state in Upper Egypt, accepting CIA funds
to achieve this, stirring up sectarian strife and aiding the LebaneseMaronite militias. 26 Sadat
was able to use the clashes at Zawya al-Hamra, which was a rare casewhen Copts also used
27
integrity
Egyptian
illustrate
the
the
threat
to
that the patriarch posed a
of
state.
arms, to
Consequently, as part of the crackdown on all opposition, he used this opportunity to banish
Patriarch Shenoudato a monastery in Wadi Natroun and thus, appearedto retain his authority
as the political leader of all Egyptians, including the Copts. The assassinationof Sadat ended

141

this particular personality clash. However, it did not lead to the instant release of the
patriarch. It was not until Christmas 1985 that President Mubarak gave permission for his
return. This was partly due to the easing of communal relations and also the realization that
Patriarch Shenoudastill maintained strong support from many Copts who rccognised him as
the only legitimate leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Any attempt to deposethe
patriarch would encounter fierce resistancefrom the community.

The Coptic Renewal Processand Church Govemance

To understand the political role of the patriarch, it is vital to examine the extent of
patriarchal authority in the church. Since his return from the desert, Patriarch Shenoudahas
clearly focused on consolidating his dual position as the head of the church and community.
In his efforts to establish the church as the only institution regarded as truly representative of
the community, he has been able to benefit from the Coptic renewal process that has
revitalised the church since the 1940s. One consequenceof the efforts of church reformers
such as Shenoudahas been the establishmentof the church as the focal point of the
community. This contrasts with the situation in the first half of the twentieth century when
the church was perceived by its members as stagnant,corrupt and plagued with rivalries.
Catholic and Protestant churcheswere gaining converts, partially due to the different style of
28
but
due
to their educational and social services. In response,urbanised
worship
also
educatedmiddle class youth began to work to revitalise the church. Hasan statesthat the
it
for
became
"main
to
their
the
and
proceeded
zeal
use
as a safe
reforming
church
outlet
haven, outside the reach of the Muslim state, from which to launch their project". 29 One of
the major initiatives of this renewal was the Sunday School movement. The credit for the
first
Girgis
is
the
Sunday
Schools
Habib
to
of
one
students on the newly
who was
early
given

142

reopenedtheological seminary in 1893. Greatly concerned at the lack of religious education


received by Coptic children in schools, he attempted to fill this vacuum by establishing
Sunday Schools where they were taught about the bible, Coptic history, traditions and the
30
saints. By 1918, an organisational structure was establishedunder the General Committee
for the Sunday Schools. Teaching methods used were similar to those employed by
Protestant Sunday Schools which was ironic considering one of the reasonsfor the Sunday
Schools was to protect Coptic Orthodox children from Western missionaries.
Other Sunday Schools were started in Cairo in the 1930sand 1940sby university students
31
lack
Christian
in
the
who were similarly concerned at
of
religious education schools. These
student - run schools developed their own specialised fields. For example, the St. Anthony's
branch at Shoubra concentrated on the spiritual roots of the Coptic Orthodox faith in order to
32
The future Pope Shenoudawas a key figure in this school. In
revitalise the church.
contrast, the Giza branch where the future Bishop Samuel worked, can be termed social
33
biblical
Although there were
teaching.
activists who combined material assistancewith
other specializations, the approachestaken by the St. Anthony's and Giza brancheshave been
extremely influential in the wider church, often leading to rivalry between the two groups.
This growth in Sunday Schools meant that the student branches and those created by Girgis
merged in the late 1940s.
At this stage,the key instigators of the reform movement were young lay workers. One of
their main demandswas internal church reform. By the late 1940s,it became clear to this
generation of reformers that the next stepscould only be taken from within the church
hierarchy. Hasan also arguesthat the lack of opportunities in secular politics for the Coptic
34
in
life
From
the church administration.
university graduatesaccentuatedthe attraction of
this period, the key activists in the Sunday School movement entered the clerical ranks. For
example, influential figures such as SaadAziz, Nazir Gayed and Yusuf Iskander (the future

143

Father Matta al-Meskeen) enteredthe monasteries. Although many of the traditional clergy
were hostile to the young reformers, the new patriarch Kyrillos VI who was elected in 1959,
was sympathetic to their plight and nominated them to positions within the church hierarchy.
SaadAziz and Nazir Gayed becamegeneral bishops of Public, Ecumenical and Social
Services and Church Education respectively, reflecting the specialisation of the Sunday
School that each had been involved in. 35 The Sunday School generation had achieved their
aim of gaining accessto the church hierarchy. Now they were in a position to further
influence the Coptic Revival.
Another feature of the reform movement was the monastic revival. Monasticism has
always been a key component of the Coptic Orthodox faith. However, this too had declined
by the twentieth century. By 1956, ten Sunday School leaders had joined monastic life
hoping to have a similar impact on monasticism.36 Their aims were aided by Pope Kyrillos
VI.

Working for a spiritual revival of the entire church, the patriarch ordered all monks to

in
instrumental
to
their
reviving old monasteries and building new
return
monasteries and was
first
his
lay
According
to
Doom-Harder,
the cornerstone
to
acts
as
patriarch
was
one
of
ones.
37
The patriarch also appointed one of the influential
Mina.
Abu
Deir
of the new monastery
new monks as Abbot of Deir Abu Maqar with instructions to rebuild the ruined monastery.
Father Matta al-Meskeen (the former Yusuf Iskander) was keen to revive the notion of the
hermit monk and lived as an ascetic for several years. However, he also founded a lay
38
life
to the church. He
religious movement where young well-educated men pledged their
led his followers to the desert, initially to live a solitary life in the style of the Desert
Fathers.39 Once given the task of rebuilding the monastery, he oversaw its expansion and
became
Consequently,
the
monasteries
centres of activity,
successful agricultural projects.
attracting more monks.

144

Oncehe becamethe headof the church,PatriarchShcnoudacontinuedthe policies of his


predecessor.Consequently,in the twenty-firstcentury,the monasteriesarea key part of the
Copticreligious experience. They areeasilyaccessibleto the community. This leads
O'Mahony to claim that the "deserthasnow beenpartially incorporatedin the city". 40 The
faithful canvisit the monasteriesregularly,participatein servicesandtalk to the monks. The
monasterieshavealsotakenon extrafunctionssuchasholding retreatsandconferences.
Hence,they arenow equippedwith visitors centres. This modernisationhasaddedto the
dutiesof the monks. As well asthe traditionaltasksof scholarshipandagriculturalwork,
new onesincludeconstructionandcomputing. Partrickconcludesthat monasteriescanno
41
longerbe categorisedasmuseums.
UnderPatriarchShenouda,therehasbeena significantexpansionin monasteries. This
increasehasbeenaccompaniedby a steadygrowth in the numberof monks. Accordingto
Watson,therewere two hundredmonksin 1950which hadrisen to 2000in 2000.42 Indeed,
severalmonasteriesareso full that they canno longertakeon new novices. The monksare
between
twenty-five and
graduates
and
aged
predominantlywell-educated,oftenuniversity
forty.43 Grubersuggeststhat the willingnessof thesemento give up their careersandfuture
prospectsin the secularworld canbe viewedasthe continuationof the monastictradition of
44
sacrifice. Certainlyit is clearthat becominga monk is now perceivedasa "prized careee,
45
Copts,
among
particularlythe youth. Otherlessspiritual motivescanincludethe desireto
escapeeconomicor personalhardshipandambitionto reachhigh positionswithin the church
Although
from
the
the monasticrevival
monasteries.
ascandidatesare chosenexclusively
hasconcentratedon male Copts,its wider effectshavealsoled womento seektheir place
increase
in
has
been
Thus,
the numberof both
there
the
an
within
renewalmovement.
contemplativenuns(the traditionalpattern)andactivenunssuchastheBariat Maryam who
46
in
is
latter
in
half of
It
the
the
that
the
experienced
revival
monastic
clear
work
community.

145

the twentieth century has served to energisethe wider church and acted as a focal point for the
community.
Elements of the renewal processhave also been used to relate to contemporary problems.
Hasan statesthat "Coptic religious memory is continuously being reconstructed to guide the
faithful through treacherouspaths and help them to cope with difficulties and take on new
47
challenges". The Coptic Orthodox Church is clearly linked with early martyrs. For
example, it is inspired by St. Mark who according to tradition was martyred in Alexandria.
The Coptic calendar commemoratesthe persecution suffered under the Emperor Diocletian.
This concept of martyrdom is not confined to history. Recent violence against Copts has led
to these victims also being proclaimed martyrs. Meinardus queries if distinctions are being
made between those who are killed due to their religious identity e.g. those who died in the
incidents at al-Zawya al-Hamra in 1981 and al-Kush in 2000 and those martyred due to their
in
1988 and the nine Copts killed during a prayer
in
Diwaina
witness e.g. a priest murdered
48
is
it
Certainly
in
Qurqus.
in
in
Abu
1997
clear that the notion of
meeting
a church
Coptic
Orthodox
faith.
is
Religious
literature
is
the
of
martyrdom still a strong component
overwhelmed by stories of the ancient saints and martyrs. Wakin argues that Coptic religious
leadershave been able to use the idea of persecution as an asset49 Indeed, many Copts stress
.
that the church has a history of hardship and that this is not only part of life as a Coptic
Christian but also strengthensthe community and explains the vibrancy of the church.'o The
identity.
intellectual
The study of the
has
to
this
emphasise
efforts
revival
also encouraged
Coptic
heritage.
been
has
to
Coptic
language
rediscover
as
a
means
encouraged
ancient
Wakin suggeststhat this fulfils an important psychological need as possessinga unique
language reinforces the idea of a separateidentity. 51
One consequenceof the Coptic Renewal is that the church is now central to the Coptic
community. Church attendancehas increasedmassively to the extent that churches are full

146

the needsof the community. Many laity have


andextraservicesareheld to accommodate
beenincorporatedinto the organisationalstructurethroughwork asdeaconsand church
52
greatlyon the youth. Due to the Islamic
servants. The churchhasalsoconcentrated
environmentthat the Coptic OrthodoxChurchfinds itself in, the childrenof Coptic couples
arealmostentirely the only new members,thusgreatemphasisis placedon ensuringtheir
important
in
is
School
Sunday
It
that
the
plays
an
movement
role
allegiance.
no surprise
educatingthe childrenon their faith consideringits influential figuresnow occupytop
positionsin the churchhierarchy. Throughthe Bishopricof Youth, PatriarchShenoudahas
As
further
for
to
their
well asyouth organizations,
young
adults.
as
attempted
cater
needs
they are encouragedto becomekhuddam(churchservers)which canbe regardedastraining
for futurepositionsin the church.53
Leisuretime is dominatedby the church. Activities includeprayergroups,visits to
icons,
churchesandmonasteries. The social
monasteriesandvoluntarywork restoring
The
in
Bishopric of Public,
drawing
to
the
important
is
church.
people
servicenetwork also
Ecumenicaland SocialServicesprovidesmaterialassistance,
educationalclasses,literacy
54

home
by
family
Frequent
job
the
training
visits
priest reinforces
schemes.
programmeand
the link betweenCoptsandtheir church. The communityis invited to sharein someaspects
bonds
the
fasting
thus
strengthening
within the
and
prayer,
of monasticismsuchas
booklets
liturgies,
Recorded
chants
as
well
as
religious
aresold at
and
sermons
community.
influence
In
the
these
of the churchextendsmuch
ways,
shopsat churchesandmonasteries.
furtherthanthe weekly attendanceof a service. Similar to the Islamic revival, this Coptic
have
frequently
homes
is
Christian
religious symbolse.g.
shops
and
renewal alsovisible.
in
bible,
from
depicting
the
wearjewellery
shaped
often
a cross.
andwomen
scenes
pictures
Furthermore,by stressingreligiousidentity, the reformmovementhasbeensuccessfulin

in
In
the
the
that
nineteenth
century.
the
church
particular,
alleviating classstruggles plagued

147

themiddle classeshaveidentifiedwith theseleaderswho areseenassharingthe same


backgroundandthus,being attentiveto their needs.55 The Coptic Renewalhasallowedthe
churchto provide a spacefor Coptswherethey canfully participate. Accordingto Hasan,
"By giving all Coptsa role to play from their early teenson, the churchhasprovidedthem
with a compensatorystatussystemanda chanceof upwardmobility outsideof civil
56
society". However,this appearsto be at the costof withdrawalfrom wider Egyptian
society. Khawagaclaimsthat the renewalhasprovideda senseof belongingto the extent
thatwhen a Copt entersthe gatesof the patriarchate,they feel that it is their home-a place
wherethey aretreatedequally. This self-isolationcanbe seenas a responseto exclusionfrom
the ongoingIslamic revival (questionable
nationallife. The factorsthat haveencouraged
legitimacyof the ruling elite, political exclusionandsocioeconomichardship)canalsobe
seenasaiding the successof the Copticrenewalmovement. It is also likely that the
from
in
identity
the other.
a
encourages
reaction
one
community
emphasison religious
It is clearthat the ongoingCopticrevival hasplacedthe Coptic OrthodoxChurchat the
centreof the community. Althoughthe processcommencedlong beforethe presentpatriarch
becamethe headof the church,he hasbeenableto capitaliseon thesesubstantialresourcesof
the churchin orderto unite the communityunderhim. Building on the fruits of the renewal
his
has
the
Shenouda
to
to
Patriarch
contemporary
church
shape
according
sought
process,
his
in
has
he
to
the
Through
consolidate
authority
striven
vision.
severalmeasures,
him
has
the
with the opportunityto stake
presented
consequently
governanceof
churchwhich
his claim to the historic position asthe civil representative
of the Coptic community. This
in
desert
1981.
Onhisreturn, he
banishment
his
to
the
be
to
strategycan seenasa reaction
in
base
his
the
community
to
orderto preventthis
within
was awareof the need expand power
Copts,
he
had
Although
the
this
class
middle
and
of
support
poor
enjoyed
eventrecurring.
hadnot extendedto the elite or a significantamountof the churchhierarchy. Many members

148

of the clergy had believedthat PatriarchShenoudahad lost sight of his traditionalrole as


spiritual leaderandhad concentratedtoo heavily on political matters. For example,Bishops
Samuel,Gregorius,Johannis,AthanasiusandMichael servedon the papalcommittee
57

appointedby Sadatto run churchaffairs.

Thus,the patriarchsetout to ensurehis authority

over the entirechurchandhence,the community.


Sincethis period, an ongoingprocessof centralizationhasoccurred. Therehasbeena
has
been
Their
direct
transferredto
towards
the
administration
move
control of
monasteries.
58
the patriarchateandthe patriarchappointsthe abbotsof new monasteries. As the church
leadershipis recruitedfrom the monasteries,it is extremelysignificantthat the patriarchhas
direct contactwith many of the monasteries.Valognessuggeststhat somecanbe categorised
59
In
to
the
"Shenoudiarf
'monasteries
allegiance
give
personal
patriarch
members
whose
as
.
from
Anba
Bishqi
Deir
been
have
the
bishops
official residence
chosen
recentyears,many
60
is
led
by
Abu
Maqar,
Father
Matta
from
Deir
In
which
althe
of
contrast,monks
patriarch.
Meskeen,a prominentcritic of thepatriarch,havemostly beenisolatedfrom other
have
In
hierarchy.
to
the
to
order
a successfulchurch
monasteriesandrarely promoted
career,it canbe concludedthatjoining a monasterythat enjoyspatriarchalsupportenhances
theseprospects. Thus,the independence
of oneof the main churchinstitutionshasbeen
adverselyaffected.
Anothercharacteristicof his long reign is the appointmentof the preferredcandidatesof the
in
hierarchy.
For
he
the
that
key
the
example,
same
year
to
church
within
patriarch
positions
Sunday
School
St.
Anthony's
from
the
were
two
colleagues
was electedpatriarch,
61
has
There
Pachomius
bishops
Johannis
al-Buheira.
of
also
and
of
el-Gharbia
consecrated
beena sharpincreasein the numberof dioceses. Therewere twenty-eightdioceseswhen
Shenoudawas electedpatriarch. By 1995,this had increasedto cighty-three. As of June
62
This steadygrowth hasbeenachieved
bishops.
106
2004,PatriarchShenoudahadordained

149

by reducing the territory of a large diocese and sub-dividing a diocese after the death of the
incumbent bishop. Smaller diocesesallow the bishops to cultivate personal relationships
with their congregations. Hence, the pastoral duties of the bishop have also greatly
increased. They are expected to deal with the concerns of their community whether spiritual,
economic, social or political.

The type of candidatewho has succeededunder Patriarch

Shenoudais also important. Many of the new bishops tend to be young and spend only a
short time in the monasteries in stark contrast to past tradition. While this has resulted in
several dynamic individuals being given important posts in the church, it also raises concern
by
be
the apparent quick rise to
the
attracted
regarding
motivation of some novices who may
success. The majority of the new bishops can be called the "spiritual sons" of Patriarch
Shenouda.63 Their loyalty to the patriarch means that the Holy Synod is dominated by his
its
Synod
fulfil
independent
in
to
diminishes
This
the
the
role
as
an
of
voice
ability
proteges.
church administration. Instead, the patriarch has the influence to ensure that his decisions are
implemented. According to Watson, "Shenouda has placed his imprint decisively on the
Coptic Orthodox Church by filling the Holy Synod with educatedexecutives who are more
like personal disciples than products of the establishedmonastic system".64
By placing his proteges at the head of important general bishoprics and church committees,
Patriarch Shenoudais able to ensurethat all sections of the church follow his vision of the
bishops
be
inner
the
An
the
as
patriarch's
who
act
close
advisers
can
circle
of
role of
church.
identified. Yet, simultaneously, this centralisation process of allocating the responsibility of
by
decentralization
been
has
tasks
to
the
within the high
accompanied
many
patriarchate
in
increase
duties
by
Due
the
hierarchy.
to
the
undertaken
the
vast
echelons of
church
patriarchate, the patriarch has actually had to delegate some of these. The amount of
demanding tasks given to certain bishops has challenged their ability to perform at the highest
level in every area. For example in the 1990s,Bishops Serapion and Musa were the direct

150

to the churchesabroadwhile simultaneouslyheadingthe Bishopric of


papalrepresentatives
Public,EcumenicalandSocialServicesandthe Bishopric of Youth respectively.65 Similarly,
the appointmentof MetropolitanBishoi asthe chair of variouscommittees,the Secretaryof
the Holy Synodandthe papaldelegateon ecumenicalmattersobviouslyadverselyaffectsthe
66
he
his
diocese.
Consequentlytherehasbeen
to
amountof attention could personallygive
an expansionof this inner circle in orderto sharerealisticallythe workloadof the church. As
will be discussedin ChapterSix, severalbishopshavebeenappointedto caterdirectly for the
needsof the diasporacommunities. However,it mustbe notedthat this apparent
decentralisationwhile certainlyincreasingthe numberof key figuresin the churchhierarchy,
in reality still reinforcesthe authorityof thepatriarchastheseactivitiesarecarriedout by
bishopswho areregardedassharingthepatriarch'svision of the role of the church.
Within churchgovernance,the othermain challengeto patriarchalauthorityis the al-majlis
been
intra-communal
body
has
(the
This
a
source
of
conflict
al-milli
communitycouncil).
for much of its existence. Although dissolvedin 1962,it was reintroducedby Sadatpartly in
67
during
hope
it
the
this
turbulent
the
that would counterthe authorityof
patriarch
period.
However,importantchangeshadtakenplacewithin the community. The previouscouncils
hadmostly consistedof the Coptic elite. They werereplacedby middle classrepresentatives
who generallysharedthe views andaimsof the churchhierarchy. In the contemporary
Coptic OrthodoxChurch,it is apparentthat the independence
of the al-majlis al-milli has
beenseverelycurtailed. An "unofficial" list of preferredcandidatesis madepublic, thus
68
duly
lay
elected. Its functionshavebeen
ensuringthat the majority of these membersare
limited to administrativeduties. Furthermore,its monthly meetingsarechairedby the
been
has
himself.
Consequently,
the
the
clearly defined. "The laity
of
council
role
patriarch
havethe right to air their views; but not to governthe church".69 Although disagreements

151

still arise between the al-majlis al-milli and the church hierarchy, especially over financial
matters, it is clear that the laity have little power to affect key policies.
Instead, there has been a general trend of incorporating the laity into the church hierarchical
system. Male volunteers are urged to become deaconsand a new position of mukarassat
(deaconesses)has been created for women.70 The traditional post of church servant
(khuddam) has also been affected by this centralisation process. The khuddam are regularly
is
dioceses.
This
the
that
rotated around
ensures
pastoral care standardisedthroughout the
country. However, by removing theseworkers from their home church or diocese, it also
ensuresthat allegiance is given to the central church and thus the patriarch. Services which
were traditionally performed by the laity have also come under the auspicesof the church
hierarchy.
Since the reign of Patriarch Kyrillos VI, general bishoprics have been established. These
bishops are given clear duties but no diocese, a system which can be seen as similar to the
Vatican Curia. 71 Several bishoprics have been created to cater for specialised tasks which
The Bishoprics of Church Education, Public, Ecumenical

were previously left to the laity.

and Social Services and Higher Studies, Coptic Culture and Scientific Research, were all
created by Kyrillos

VI.

In 1980, the Bishopric of Youth was established by Patriarch

Shenouda in order to incorporate the next generation of believers into the church.

Under the

dynamic Bishop Musa, it provides a space for the Coptic youth to discuss challenges facing
72
Although such activities could
belonging
to the community.
them and reinforces a sense of
be undertaken by priests, Bebawi suggests that the authority exercised by bishops allow these
73
initiatives to be more successful
The leadersof the Sunday School generation are now

members of the clergy but they have retained control of this essential aspect of ministry.
Patriarch Shenoudais the official head of this institution and children's activities are
74
Consequently, during the reign of the present patriarch, the laity
by
prioritised
all clergy.

152

have been integrated into the church system and while not completely subservient, no longer
pose the threat to patriarchal authority experiencedby previous patriarchs.
The authoritarian nature of church governanceunder Patriarch Shenoudaserves to
discourage criticism of the head of the church or his policies. For example, the members of
the 1981 Papal Committee (set up by Sadatto govern church affairs in the enforced absence
of the patriarch), experienced varying levels of punishment. Bishop Johannis was forced to
give up his position as Secretary of the Holy Synod, while Bishop Athanasius was confined to
his diocese and the work of Bishop Gregorius was limited to scientific researchonly. 75
Another prominent critic Father Matta al-Meskeen was subjected to similar treatment
including having his books banned from the patriarchal library and church shops.76 The
divisions between Father Matta and Patriarch Shenoudacan be seen as illustrating two
different visions of the role of the Coptic Renewal. As detailed earlier, Patriarch Shenouda
believed that the church should use its resourcesto improve the situation of the Coptic
community in all aspects. In contrast, Father Matta was concerned that this approach would
detract from the main essenceof the revival - the spiritual heritage of the Coptic Orthodox
Church. He was also wary that the social services provided by the church combined with its
efforts to be the sole representativeof the community would attract Copts to the church for
forced
After
the
removal of the patriarch to Wadi Natroun,
material not spiritual reasons.
Father Matta gave an interview to Time Magazine suggesting that there was now more chance
77
Consequently, Father Matta and the
between
the church and the state.
of peaceful relations
involvement
from
in the church.
been
have
Abu
Maqar
wider
ostracised
mostly
monastery of
This type of treatment of internal critics has become normal during the reign of Patriarch
Shenouda.

The refusal of Bishop Arsanios to agree to the excommunication

of a monk-priest

meant that he was not only ostracised by the patriarch and his immediate circle of bishops but
78
in
1992
While
bishops
Baramous
lost
his
Abbot
Monastery
the
of
of
also
position as
.

153

cannot be removed from office apart from in exceptional circumstances, several priests have
been excommunicated from the church by the patriarch. As a consequenceof a crackdown
on corruption amongst the clergy, there has been a substantial decreasein the loss of church
funds.79 However, some of those excommunicated appearto have been punished primarily
due to disagreementswith the patriarch. For example, the dismissal of Father Aghathon, a
priest at a historic church in Old Cairo was regardedby his parishioners as purely due to
differences over financing renovation work 80 There is some unrest concerning the conduct
.
of influential figures within the church such as Metropolitan Bishoi. In such instances,the
head
in
has
hesitation
to
to
the
traditional
the
respect
given
of the
patriarch
no
appealing
finances
The
dissent
the
the
to
community.
patriarchal
or
raise
church
church counter
within
further problems. Several members of the laity constantly demand that these accounts should
be made transparent. However, Patriarch Shenoudahas replied that this suggestsa lack of
trust in the patriarch. Consequently, this ensuresthat few Copts, especially within the
hierarchy, are likely to outwardly criticise the policies of the patriarch due to the potential
it
is
From
discussion,
this
to
their
this
and
status.
position
outcome of
action -a swift end
apparentthat Patriarch Shenoudahas establishedhimself as the undisputed leader of the
Coptic Orthodox Church. Furthermore, the successof the Coptic renewal process has
is
in
the
that
the
twenty-first
church
at the centre of the community.
ensured
century,
Consequently, it is clear that these strategieshave provided the foundations for Patriarch
Shenoudato develop the temporal dimension of the office.

The Political Role of Patriarch Shenoudain the Mubarak Era

PatriarchShenoudahasprovedwilling to addresspolitical
In contrastto his predecessors,
issues. Sincehis releasein 1985,it is clearthat the patriarchhasmodified his political

154

strategy to become less confrontational. Hasan suggeststhat while the tactics of the patriarch
may have changed, so too have the circumstances. While it is evident that a gradual
Islamization of Egyptian society has occurred under Mubarak, the president has not actively
pursued this. Unlike Sadat, Mubarak did not use the Copts as scapegoatsor declare
81
Coptic
communal clashesa result of
conspiracies. Thus, the patriarch adopts a particular
approach to correspond to the attitude of the governing authorities. The patriarch himself
highlighted the importance of the personality of the ruler. In an interview on the occasion of
his eightieth birthday, he said "Sadat easily got angry and annoyed and might make violent
decisions. However, President Mubarak thinks twice before becoming irritated and his anger
is not as dangerousas that of Sadat. Sadattended to destroy his opponents. But President
Mubarak tends to engagein dialogue with them and give them a chance".82 As both
Mubarak and Pope Shenoudaacknowledged that they sharedthe same enemy - Islamist
extremism, the patriarch no longer called for demonstrations after attacks on Christians but
instead acceptedthat diplomacy was the only meansto solve these problems.
The abandonmentof his earlier confrontational approach does not mean that Patriarch
Shenoudahas relinquished his political presence. In interviews, he frequently answers
questions regarding political issues. Until recently, the church hierarchy did not support
specific candidatesor parties instead solely advising that the community should participate in
national life. While this remained true in the 2005 parliamentary elections, the patriarch
controversially gave his full support to PresidentMubarak in the first presidential elections
held in 2005. In an edition of al-Keraza, (the official church magazine) an article described a
document signed by the Holy Synod before Mubarak had even annouhcedhis nomination.
This declaration expressedtheir contentment with the Mubarak years and listed his electoral
83
strengths- political wisdom, tolerance and experience. The patriarch has frequently
complimented the President, stating that he is attentive to Coptic concerns. "Relations

155

between Muslim and Coptic figures are excellent.

President Mubarak is an enemy of all sorts

84
9
of extremism, bigotry and discrimination' . Thus, this strategy illustrates the political

astutenessof the patriarch as he is aware that while conditions may not be perfect, the
Mubarak regime has proved relatively tolerant to the Coptic community which could not be
guaranteedunder other candidates.
Concerning Coptic electoral participation, the patriarch has used his authority to encourage
the community to take part in elections.

On a trip to Upper Egypt in 2004, he asked the

crowds to hold up their voting registration cards and congratulated them for performing what

he termed their national duty. 85 He arguesthat if Copts continue to be unsuccessful at


86
becoming
politically apathetiC. While the
winning seats,it is no surprise that they are
election of Youssef Boutros Boutros Ghali in 2000 was welcomed, the patriarch highlighted
that this government minister neededtwo rounds to succeedeven though he stood in a
predominantly Coptic area. Regarding the controversial option of quotas, which was rejected
by Coptic politicians in the Wafd, he refusesto specify a preference but is adamant that the
interview
Coptic
In
find
that
representation.
an
on
suitable
guarantees
state must
a system
the occasion of his eightieth birthday in October 2003, he stressedthat it was "the duty of the
state to find a practical solution" and that "it is unacceptableto tell foreigners that Copts have
(parliament).
Assembly"
He
in
People's
0.5%
the
also mentioned that
only
of representation
87
"President Sadathad allocated a certain percentageof seatsto youth and women".
Although he has refrained from further elaboration, these comments illustrate the concerns
held by Patriarch Shenoudaregarding Coptic representationand the apparent lack of
Copts
issue.
He
that
in
interest
this
are not seeking special
emphasises
government
solving
in
Egyptian
He
full
instead,
but
to
society.
also
participation
only wish enjoy
privileges
dictate
because
Coptic
should
not
politics and a
the
religion
political party
rejects
notion of a
88

just
the
one segment.
not
whole
community
party should serve

156

However, it should be noted

that this party would challenge the authority of the church in the Coptic community, thus it is
unsurprising that the patriarch cautions against its formation.
On the issue of discrimination, the patriarch has made a few selectedcomments. He has
highlighted the difficulties facing ordinary Copts in gaining employment in sectors such as
thejudiciary and universities, contrasting this with the situation from the 1930s-1950s.
While there have been several disturbancesover disputed conversions to Islam, the patriarch
has mostly refrained from making public statementsand instead, relied on private liaisons
between senior clerics and government officials. This is often the preferred method of the
patriarch in dealing with many of the contentious issues e.g. conversions and church building.
One notable exception was the Wafaa Constantine affair in December 2004. In brief, the
wife of a Coptic Orthodox priest purportedly converted to Islam. Rumours immediately
forcibly
had
been
in
Coptic
that
and
the
abducted
converted.
she
community
spread
Protestors gathered outside the patriarchate in Cairo and clashed with security forces.
Eventually, the woman was returned to the church authorities where she eventually
before
However,
her
had
the
this
all.
that
after
was
not
religion
announced
she
not changed
in
had
been
distress
Natroun
had
Wadi
that
the
to
not
apparently
event
patriarch
retreated
89
resolved quickl Y. The significance of this symbolic act cannot be overemphasisedas this
was exactly the type of method employed by Patriarch Shenoudaduring the tense Sadat years
to draw attention to Coptic grievances. The next edition of al-Keraza (which is edited by the
issue
Coptic
fears
Firstly,
disturbances.
this
the
over
were claimed
patriarch) concentrated on
to be directly linked to communal tension in other regions including Sarnalut and Assiut.
Secondly in the account of the affair, the security services are clearly blamed for their
tardiness in resolving the problem i. e. finding and returning Wafaa Constantine to the church
Mubarak
President
is
in
to
the
This
to
who was out
given
praise
authorities.
sharp contrast
Thirdly,
his
instructed
but
to
the
a
quick
solution.
the
time
ensure
the
officials
of
country at

157

theme of police brutality is extremely strong. Several pictures are enclosed of bloodied and
bruised Copts including a priest.90 Clearly, this responsecan be regarded as a messagefrom
the patriarch to the authorities that conversion issues should be between the church authorities
and the individual concerned. Any indication that the security forces were not acting within
the legal framework which accords them the responsibility of recording any conversion, could
result in public protests which could only be dispelled by Patriarch Shenouda. On the other
controversial issue of church building, again the patriarch rarely comments. However, each
new permit for construction or repair work is mentioned in al-Keraza and accompanied by a
91
Mubarak.
messageof appreciation to President
On security issues,the patriarch does voice his concerns when deemed necessary. After the
escalation of events at al-Kush in 2000, an article in al-Keraza urged the government to
resolve issues rather than reverting to the traditional responseof covering up problems. The
church hierarchy justified these comments as necessaryto counter the inaccurate reporting
about this event. The patriarch expressedhis confidence in the central government in Cairo
final
The
illustrates
local
lay
the
that
the
authorities.
sentence
with
and stressed
problem
view of Patriarch Shenoudaon such incidents. "True reconciliation can take place only after
92
justice".
The patriarch also made known his
the blood of these victims receive
dissatisfaction after the subsequenttrial when 92 out of the 96 defendantswere acquitted.93
While this may have been a factor in the government decision to order a retrial, its failure to
convict the suspectshas left bitterness among the Coptic community at the apparent inability
to achievejustice in this case.
Patriarch Shenoudais also keen to highlight that Copts are an integral part of Egyptian
society. Various statementsare made stressingthis "national unity" e.g. "sons of a single
homeland". 94 He clearly rejects the idea that Copts are a minority, stressing that they are part
interference
Coptic
Egyptian
the
regarding
any
outside
wams
against
nation and
of

158

95
concerns. "We do not acceptany foreign interferencein our internalaffair, which we are
96 Therehasalsobeen
solving in peacewith the responsiblepersonsin our country9t.
increasedeffort to fostercloselinks with Islamicreligiousrepresentatives,
particularly the
GrandSheikhof al-Azhar. Thepatriarchperceivesthat theseactivitiesparticularly at festive
occasions,canhelp to strengthencommunalties. Regardingcommunaliftars, he said,
"Muslims andCoptssit sideby sidein thesedinnerswhich gives a goodimpressionand
pictureto the west aboutEgyptiansandthe goodrelationsthey have".97
The patriotic credentialsof PatriarchShenoudaarealsowidely recogniseddueto his firm
commitmentto the Palestiniancause. Thepatriarchhasbannedany pilgrimageto Jerusalem
until it is oncemore underArab control. Although someCoptsstill go, this is at the risk of
excommunicationfrom the church. While this strongappealagainstZionism doesenhance
the notion of the Coptic communityasloyal Egyptianssupportingoneof the major Arab
political issues,it must alsobe mentionedthat othermotivessuchasthe ongoingstruggle
over Deir as-Sultanmay influencethe stanceof the Coptic OrthodoxChurchtowardsthe
Israeli-Palestinianconflict. In conclusion,sincehis return from the desertmonasteryin 1985,
PatriarchShenoudahasadopteda pragmaticapproachtowardsthe governmentandreinforced
the ideaof Coptsasloyal Egyptians,an imagethat hadbecomeerodedduring the tensions
with Sadat. However,this hasnot beenat the expenseof voicing his concernsat timesof
crisis.

The Responseto the Political Role of Patriarch Shenouda

Although the experienceof the Coptic OrthodoxChurchin recentdecadeswould suggest


that its political role would automaticallybe acknowledged,in practice,thereis still debate
within Egypt, on whetherthe churchactuallyis involved in politics. The patriarchhimself is

159

ambiguous concerning the evolution of his office from a religious to a religio-political


symbol. Patriarch Shenoudaassertsthat the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch cannot be separated
from the state becauseit is part of it. He also argues that the state should deal with one
person i. e. the patriarch in order to successfully resolve problems rather than appealing to
each individual member of the community. 98 However, he claims that the call of the church
is spiritual and statesthat the church is not political but instead, has a responsibility to
99
its
duty.
Members of the church argue that although the patriarch is
perform
national civic
certainly the Coptic spokesmanto the state, this does not automatically make him a political
leader. Instead, many agree that the church only becomesinvolved in political matters when
politics infringes on religious freedom. Furthermore, it is argued that as an Egyptian citizen,
the patriarch has every right to give his opinion on political issues. However, this does not
mean that this is the official stanceof the church. While this may theoretically be true, the
stature invested in the office of patriarch, meansthat in practice, comments by the patriarch
can be seen as guidance for the community. After his statement of support for the candidacy
of Mubarak in 2005, the media provided various quotations from ordinary Copts willing to
replicate the political choice of their spiritual leader. For example, "Pope Shenoudahas
100
his
knows
he
is
Mubarak
best
for
his
to
pledged
support
and absolutely
what
sons".
Concerning the impact of this apparentpolitical role, opinion appearsto be divided.
Clearly, the strong leadership of Patriarch Shenoudahas contributed to the community
rediscovering its identity not just as Coptic Christians but also as Egyptians. Thiscanbe
seenas a product of the Coptic Renewal which affected the whole community not just the
church, thus allowing the patriarch to undertake the leadership role of the community.
However, concern has been raised that under Patriarch Shenouda,the church has become
politicised. Although the patriarch has acted against his critics within the church, it is clear
that the two contrasting visions of the Coptic Renewal can still be identified. Consequently,

160

the influential FatherMatta al-Meskeenarguesthat the churchshouldnot seekpower on earth


101
it
is
but
God
to
the
to
as
responsiblenot
state
alone. He warnsthat involvementin political
issueswill adverselyaffect the spiritualrole of the churchasthe hierarchywill become
concernedwith worldly mattersandendangerthe whole religiousreform movement.102 The
tendencyof the patriarchto concentrateon Copticconcernsis alsocriticised. Although he
employsthe "national unity" rhetoriccommonto mostEgyptianpublic figures,his political
statementsgenerallyrefer to exclusiveCopticissues. A book written anonymouslybut
presumedto be by a monk from Deir Abu Maqarstressesthat the churchmust standup for
any injusticenot just thosewhich affect Copts. "The church'scredibility dependsupon
103
defendinganyonewho is persecuted,
without regardto religion or race".
Otherswithin the communityfeel that thepatriarchis too concernedwith politics. While
somechurchleadershavecertainlybecomemorepoliticised,it is extremelydifficult in the
Egyptiancontextto separatereligiousandpolitical issuesespeciallyasthe headof the church
is more or lessrecognisedasthe legitimateleaderof the communityandtherefore,
responsiblefor all issuesaffectingit. Arguing that Christianityseparates
religion and
involvement
in sensitiveissues,statingthat
intellectuals
Coptic
church
politics, some
criticisc
104
does
harm
this
than good. For example,somesuggestthat the involvementof the
more
churchis partly why Coptic issuesaremostly viewedassecuritymattersbecauseof the
likelihood of communalclashesoccurring. Yet, it canalsobe seenthat the traditionalCoptic
elite hasmostly endorsedthe returnof the millet partnershipbetweenthe Coptic Orthodox
Churchandthe state. This is primarily becauseany alternativewould involve the increased
impact
influence
laity,
the
on
power
and
participationof middle class
of this
which would
105
Somehumanrights activistsalsoappealto the churchto withdraw from the political
elite.
sphere. "The Churchshouldconfineitself to religiousmattersandpolitics shouldbe dealt
'
0'
by
with civil societyorganizations". However,it mustbe notedthat suchfigureswould

161

gain extensively from a decline in the political role of the church as they would attempt to fill
this vacuum, just as the clergy did in the 1970s.
Since the return of Patriarch Shenoudain 1985, cordial relations with President Mubarak
have allowed the millet partnership to re-emerge. Mubarak appearscomfortable working
107
historic
issues
Coptic
Yet as outlined
this
within
system on
relating to the
community.
earlier, Coptic concerns are not a high priority for the government. When Mubarak came to
power, the main aim was to combat the militants who advocatedthe overthrow of the state.
The quest for peace and stability has remained an integral policy of the Egyptian authorities.
According to Watson, the patriarch remained in his desertmonastery until 1985 partly due to
108
have
his
impact
threats to
any attack would
personal safety and the
on communal relations.
Political stability and economic growth are key aims of the regime. Hence, government
attitudes to Coptic concerns primarily dependon the likely effect these will have on the above
in
late
has
1990shas been attributed to
As
been
the
the
on
militants
goals.
seen,
crackdown
the adverse impact these attacks had on tourism -a crucial source of revenue. Although this
action was not taken as a direct responseto the threat posed to Copts by militants, the removal
in
Coptic
Upper Egypt where
benefited
these
the
community,
especially
of
groups obviously
the majority of these attacks occurred.
Consequently, Christian-Muslim tensions tend to be seenas part of a bigger picture.
Ayalon statesthat there was an assumption that once the Islamist militants had been
109
While this maybe partly true regarding
Coptic
contained, the
problem would also subside.
security matters, it is clear that Coptic concernscover a wide range of subjects including
insistence
building.
The
discrimination
of the
church
and
political representation,
government in dealing with all of these as security matters rather than as socio-political ones
has had a major implication on relations between the state and community. There is a clear
from
incidents.
Individuals
both sides are
to
to
the
pattern
government response violent

162

spokento by the police, public reconciliationsarcheld andstatementsgiven by key political


andreligious leadersthat suchactsdetractfrom the "national unity" found in Egypt. This
unwillingnessto separatethe victim from theperpetratorhascausedangeramongstthe Coptic
community. It is apparentthat the governmentresponsestill tendsto be reactive. According
' 10 Atthe
to O'Mahony,the policy is still only to "reprimandwhereabsolutelynecessary".
outbreakof trouble,the authoritiesdo attemptto preventfurther confrontationor a re-run of
the al-Kushincidentbut thesecanbe categorisedasreactivemeasuresonly. Therehasbeen
no concertedcampaignby the centralgovernmentto tacklethe underlyingfactorsbehind
theseincidents(suspicionof the other,political alienation,economichardshipsetc). Instead,
the authoritiesin Cairoregularlyhaveto intervenein goverriatesparticularly in UpperEgypt
to avoid further escalation.
In recentyears,the Mubarakgovernmenthasbeenkeento cmphasisethat Coptsare an
integralnot just toleratedpart of the Egyptiannation. Severalissuesraisedby Coptshave
beenaddressed.As discussedabove,the 2000electionswitnessedan increasein Coptic
candidatesfor the NDP andYoussefBoutrosGhali was appointedheadof a crucial ministry
(finance)-a significantmovewhenviewedin the contextof the Islamic tradition of dhimmi.
The increasein licensesfor building new churchesis an importantmeasure. Another
significantmovewas the declarationof 7h January- Coptic OrthodoxChristmas- asa
nationalholiday in 2003. In general,the Copticcommunitywas delightedby this symbolic
step. The patriarchproclaimedit a beautifuldecisionwhile YousscfSidhornstated,"What is
is
it
important
in
that
the
givesCoptsthe sensethat all
particularly
president'sannouncement
feasts
because
their
treated
areworthy of national
religious
citizensare
equally,
"'
recognition".

Christianshadalwaysbeenableto takethe day off but someCoptshad

th
January.
7
Other
in
the
on
scheduled
actionsto
were
protested
pastwhen schoolexams
improvenationalunity includethe review of history textbooksin schoolsto includesections

163

12
Coptic
ignored!
The Minister of Awqaf formed ajoint
on the
erawhich werepreviously
committeebetweenthe Ministry andthe CopticOrthodoxChurchin orderto return someof
113
in
1950s.
The governmenthasalso
by
the churchpropertyconfiscated the regime the
promotedChristianpilgrimageon the Holy Family routein Egypt andis renovatingOld
114
Cairo,an areawith severalancientChristianchurches.
In recentyears,the governmenthassoughtto increasethe visibility of PatriarchShenouda
andhencethe Coptic community. For example,he wasnominatedfor the UNESCOMadanjeetSinghPrize for the Promotionof ToleranceandNon-Violencein 2000. Pope
15
Shenoudabecamethe first individual to receivethis award! At religiouscelebrations,
his
At
Muslim
is
to
the
to
the
shown
counterparts.
same
respect
effort made give
patriarch
the annualNationalUnity Iftar banquetheld by the Ministry of ReligiousEndowmentsduring
the Muslim holy month of Ramadan,PatriarchShenoudais placedat the top tablealongside
the PrimeMinister, Presidentof Parliament,Minster of ReligiousEndowmentsandthe
116

Sheikhof al-Azhar.

Similarly, on the occasionof Easter,the patriarchreceivesseveral

delegationsincluding amongstothers,the PrimeMinister, Headof the ConsultativeCouncil,


Cairo
head
Alexandria
leaders,
the
the
governors
of
and
and
cabinetministers,political party
'
17
like
Sheikh
is
invited
key
Shenouda,
Tantawi
Patriarch
to
Cairo
Security
the
of
office.
held
both
July
Revolution
Day
Police
Forces
the
the
celebrations,
at the
and
eventssuchas
PoliceAcademyin Cairo.' 18 A patternhasemergedthat both religiousrepresentatives
are
invited to speakat conferencesandlectures.
Consequently,the abovemeasurescanbe interpretedasillustrating not only the importance
is
the
he
but
enjoying
that
as
sameprivilege and
the
publicly
seen
also
of
office of patriarch
by
On
the
by
Sheikh
visits
undertaken
pastoral
the
any
al-Azhar.
of
statusasexercised
in
For
in
Upper
Egypt
is
by
he
example,
officials.
government
greeted regional
patriarch,
March 2004,he waswelcomedby the governorsof SohagandQena,given civil awardsand

164

'
19
be
These
met many state representatives.
measurescan seen as a government attempt to
full
Egyptians
Copts
to
that
and
contributors to Egyptian
as
equal
prove all
are regarded
society. Yet at the same time, they can also be categorised as merely cosmetic measuresto
placate the community rather than wholeheartedly addressing the complex issues as the heart
of Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt. Furthermore, these improvements do not mean that
President Mubarak and Patriarch Shenoudameet regularly or necessarily enjoy close
by
between
discussions
Instead,
the
state
are
generally
conducted
and
church
relations.
advisers to the two men.

The Consequencesof the Political Role of the Patriarch and Future Prospects

Upon entering the patriarchate, Patriarch Shenoudaembarked on two missions. The first
just
Hissuccessin
the
the
church.
not
to
community
was assertpatriarchal authority over
this endeavour through the total renewal processof the Coptic Revival has been illustrated.
The second aim was to use this influence to become the sole civil representativeof the Copts
for
full
In
in
the
this area,
to
their
community.
rights
achieve
order
concerns
and articulate
the verdict is mixed. Hasan arguesthat Patriarch Shenoudahas certainly succeededin
120
into
The initial
a political countcrspace.
transforming the Coptic Orthodox religious space
first
he
have
highlighted
took
by
the
the
office,
may
when
pope
assertive approach undertaken
Church
but
failed
Orthodox
Coptic
head
functions
to produce any
the
the
of
of
political
it
fact,
In
that
for
improvements
the
some
argued
was
community.
significant
Muslim
Under
further
it
the
to
public
opinion.
antagonise
only
counterproductive as served
Mubarak presidency, the strategy adoptedby Patriarch Shenoudawould appearto reflect his
the
that
the
patriarch autonomy over the
the
allows
partnership
of
millet
rules
acceptanceof
Coptic community in exchangefor support of the regime.

165

Therehavebeensomemovesto addressconcernsraisedby the patriarchandthe


community. Concerningrelationsbetweenthe Coptic communityandthe state,many regard
the Mubarakera asthe bestsincethe Revolution. Yet thereis still awareness
of the many
issuesnot addressed.This is demonstrated
by the titles of Watani-editorialswhich dealwith
these-'Troblems on Hold". 121The Mubarakpresidencycanbe summarisedasattemptingto
appeaseMuslim opinion while preventingcommunaltensionwhich couldjcopardisepolitical
andeconomicstability. The benefitsthat the communityhasreceivedin recentyears
representthe rewardsof co-operatingwith the authoritiesandadvocatingparticipationin
in
in
key
2005 servesto
brief
A
events
church-state
relations
of
nationalaffairs.
mention
illustratethe mannerin which the millet systemoperates. Firstly, the stateauthorities
resolvedthe Constantineaffair accordingto the wishesof the patriarch. This was followed
in
Mubarak
by the ringing endorsement
the presidentialelections. During this
President
of
increase
in
the numberof building permitsgranted
be
to
there
a significant
period,
appeared
to the church. Finally, in the aftermathof the successof the Muslim Brotherhoodin the
decree
to easeaspectsof the restrictionson church
the
parliamentaryelections, presidential
Hence,it canbe arguedthat the
building canbe interpretedasa modeof appeasement.
Mubarakgovernmenthasbeenableto co-optthe Coptic OrthodoxPatriarchin a similar
intellectual
Coptic
A
Sheikh
to
the
well-known
remarkedthat
manner
of al-Azhar.
"Shenoudahaskept the Coptsin his pocket,andMubarakhaskept Shenoudain his
122
Brotherhood
further
Muslim
2005
The
the
will
of
ensurethat
success
electoral
pocket".
this situationremainsthe statusquo. It would be surprisingif the churchhierarchysupported
is
be
force
NDP
to
the
the
to
the
considered
party
as
ruling
only
any major political challenges
which canpreventan Islamistvictory.
increasing
is
the
However,oneconsequence
the
activism of the
renewal
process
church
of
Coptic community. Wheneventsarisethat areperceivedasdamagingthe Coptic Orthodox

166

faith or the reputation of Copts, the passive responseof the past is no longer adopted. While
the more militant tendenciesof the church leadership halted after 1981, aspectsof these can
be found in the communal responseto certain incidents, particularly in the twenty-first
century. Such reactions have the potential to adversely affect church-state relations. In the
al-Nabaa scandal, this Egyptian newspaperpublished allegations and photographs in 2001 of
a defrocked monk said to be sexually targeting women at the Monastery of Deir al-Muharraq,
123
holy
by
Copts.
In response,thousandsof Copts flocked to the patriarchate
regarded a
site
to hold demonstrations that lasted for four days to condemn the newspaper. One significant
aspectof this incident was that for the first time, Copts protested alone in the streetsof Cairo
beside the patriarchate, resulting in skirmishes with the police. 124 While obviously
condemning the journal, the church hierarchy struggled to pacify the crowd to the extent that
the weekly bible meeting held by Patriarch Shenoudawas cancelled and he remained in
Alexandria. The incident was resolved when the government closed down the paper and
suspendedits editor.
A further example is the reaction of some Copts to an Egyptian film releasedin the summer
of 2004, which featured a Coptic family in the 1960s. While some saw it as exploring social
issues,certain scenesof Baheb es-Sinema(I love the Cinema), especially those set in a
church, were regarded by others as marring the reputation of Copts. A small amount
(estimated around one hundred) demonstratedat the patriarchate for the removal of the film
125
film
had
The
the
themselves.
they
not actually viewed
even although some admitted
issue
involvement
hierarchy
this
tried
to
stating that although it did not wish
on
church
avoid
its
if
beliefs
have
to
the
the
opinion
voice
right
religious
a censorship role,
are
church should
believed to be violated. 126 Finally, the Wafaa Constantine affair discussedearlier illustrates
the potential for clasheswith state authorities over such incidents. These incidents have
attracted substantial press coverage in Egypt and raised the notion of Christian extremism. It

167

is apparentthat the Coptic renewalhasresultedin the increaseof strict religious adherence


amongsomeCoptsthat could explainthis moreassertiveresponseto suchincidents. In
generalthis "extremism" doesnot takethe violent form which is associatedwith Islamic
extremistgroups. However,someCoptsfeel that thereis a dangerthat the aboveattemptsto
defendtheir communitywill becomeinterpretedin the sameway.
Therewould appearto be an ambiguousrelationshipbetweenthe churchleadersandthese
activists. While not openly supportingsuchprotests,therehasbeenlittle official
discouragement.Sedrastatesthat the patriarchcannotreversethis political mobilisationof
127
the communityespeciallyof the middle class. However,dueto the extentof power that
the patriarchenjoyswithin the community,it would be expectedthat this activismwould
mostly be guidedandcontrolledby the churchhierarchy. The outcomeof the incidents
examinedabovewould appearto suggestthat a public showof force from the communitycan
leadto concessionsfrom the authorities. Yet, this is a risky courseto follow. Similar
Sadat
intensify
during
by
the
to
the angerof
the
years
served
only
strategiesemployed
church
increase
Consequently,
in
this
Egyptians
tense
activism could
situations.
many
andescalate
but
damage
to
the
the
present
version
of
alsoto
only
system
not
millet
potentially causegreat
the Coptic communityat large.
The future relationsbetweenthe Christiancommunityandthe statealsodependon the
personalityof the leaders. The stability enjoyedin recentyearsowesmuch to the
understandingbetweenMubarakandPatriarchShenouda. However,undertheir successors,
this could change. The eventsthat occurredunderSadatillustratethe dangersposedto
EgyptianChristianswhen a new ruler seeksto consolidatehis power. In manyMuslim
legitimacy.
Consequently,
is
Islam
achieving
popular
of
as
a
means
countries,
still used
Sadat
is
leader,
the
future
that
Egyptian
there
scenariowill not reguarantee
no
undera
Shenouda
in
his
first
Patriarch
Similarly,
ten years
the
of
approach
confrontational
emerge.

168

of office alsocontributedto the eventsin this tenseperiod. Hence,the responseof a new


patriarchto any changesundertakenby the state,will determinerelationsnot only between
the churchhierarchyandthe governmentbut alsoamongordinary citizens. However,it
would appearthat likely patriarchalcandidateswould favour the continuationof the status
quo and follow the approachadoptedby PatriarchShenoudasince 1985.
Futuredevelopmentsin wider Egyptiansocietywill alsoaffect the political role of the
patriarch. Therehaslong beentalk of the needfor political reform in Egypt. Suchmeasures
would be likely to includelifting the EmergencyLaw andestablishinga credibleparty system
wheredifferent partiescouldposea genuinechallengeto the ruling NDP. A by-productof
increasedpolitical participationamongall Egyptianscould be the integrationof Coptsinto the
political systemin contrastto the currentsituation. This would be aidedif a future Egyptian
from
Coptic
to
and
refrained
concerns
perceivingthese
governmentwerewilling address
is
Brotherhood
likely
Muslim
issues.
the
to be the
However,
at
present,
solely assecurity
main beneficiaryof any liberalizationof the electoralprocess. Thus,political reform would
improvement
be
by
Coptic
the
lead
considered
an
to
would
which
a situation
not necessarily
fear
the
As
demonstrated
support
status
quo
out
of
of their
many
earlier,
community.
treatmentundera Muslim-Brotherhood-ledregime. If the crisis of stateconditionswereto
legitimate
lead
the
the
this
to
patriarch
as
sole
civil
challenging
ease, could
other actors
hierarchy
The
the
Coptic
to these
the
of
church
response
community.
representativeof
developmentsis likely to be mixed. Sincethe churchleadersmainly enteredthe active
it
is
Islamization
the
to
the
state,
possiblethat they would agreeto
of
political sphere prevent
had
been
if
that
their
they
rights
to
perceived
return a more exclusivelyspiritualrole
is
It
likely
if
Brotherhood
Muslim
(unlikely
that
the
power).
equally
gained
safeguarded
hierarchy,
(secular
the
the
the
religious),
or
particularly
government
regardlessof
natureof
PatriarchShenoudamay hesitateto voluntarily cedethe communalauthoritycurrently

169

exercised, which is often regarded as a vital element of the renewal process. Furthermore,
the appearanceof credible lay representativeswould heighten tension between the church and
the community as illustrated by the al-majlis al-milli experience. While these developments
could challenge the authority of the patriarch, this is unlikely to occur in the immediate future
as the catalyst required - significant political reform - has yet to move beyond the rhetorical
stage.
It is also possible that the general problems affecting Egyptian society as well as those
related to Copts, will continue to grow. Increasedthreats to security and perceptions of
both
intolerant
affecting
atmosphere
sides, where
vulnerability can encouragea more
As
has
been
in
frequent
becomes
the
seen,
some
elements
occurrence.
communal violence
a
community already urge its leaders(i. e. the patriarch) to adopt a more vigorous policy and
demand that the government addressthese concerns. In this context, the church hierarchy
increasingly
feel
With
be
faced
dilemma.
they
activist
middle
class,
may
an
would
with a
that the church needs to accurately reflect the mood of the community. Yet, this is likely to
in
1971-1981.
To
the
turbulent
period
of
as
occurred
relations
adversely affect church-state
its
demonstrate
broadly
hierarchy
that
to
this,
the
need
co-operative
would
avoid
church
approach to the government, is indeed beneficial to the community. Therefore, the extent of
the temporal authority of the patriarch dependsnot only on the measuresundertaken by the
in
Egyptian
developments
hierarchy
but
society.
wider
church
also

SUMMM

It is clearthat the long reign of PatriarchShenoudahashada monumentalimpactnot only


The
leadership
but
traditional
Church
the
Orthodox
Coptic
the
on
community.
also
on
in
in
history
the
the
by
pivotal
role
the
of
church
combined
with
contributed
patriarchate

170

Coptic identity especially since the Coptic renewal, provided the legitimacy required for
Patriarch Shenoudato pursue his vision of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch assuming
responsibility for the entire community. The patriarch personifies the successof the Sunday
School generation in enacting the Coptic Renewal
-a process which affected all strands of the
community and whose fruits are still being experienced. This renewal process has been
utilised to ensure that the church is perceived as the focal point for the community in both
spiritual and civil matters. The absenceof credible Coptic laity leadership has allowed
Patriarch Shenoudato use the resourcesof the church to fill this vacuum. His patriarchy has
been greatly affected by political developmentsin Egypt, particularly outbursts of communal
violence. The assertivepolices undertakenbetween 1971-1981 failed in terms of achieving
equality and security for Copts. Yet, Patriarch Shenoudawas able to maximise his role as
head of the community. This has been reinforced since 1985. The incorporation of
communal activities under the auspicesof the church and the centralization processwithin it
have ensuredthat the patriarch enjoys near total control over the community. Thus, he acts
as their civil representative and is a leading advocate of Coptic concerns to the state. While
some patriarchal statementsare consideredcontroversial especially those addressingparty
politics, on the whole, this political role is acceptedin the context of the millet system of
church-state relations.
In this casestudy, the participation of a religious leader in political affairs has not causeda
major upset to communal relations in post-SadatEgypt even although the patriarch is widely
regarded as articulating the specific views of the Coptic community rather than those of wider
Egyptian society. This is partly due to the general consensusin the country that the head of
the Coptic Orthodox Church is expectedto have a temporal dimension. Under the millet
system, the patriarch is recognised as the civil representativeof the Copts. This arrangement
has suited both parties. During the Mubarak years, this role has been recognised by the

171

government almost to the extent that the patriarch can be regarded as co-opted by the regime.
However, this also means that the patriarch is vulnerable to being made the scapegoatin times
of communal tension. Although Patriarch Shenoudamay have been successful in
consolidating power within the community, this has not been transformed into tangible
reforms from the government.

Instead, concessionshave primarily been cosmetic acts to

placate the patriarch and the community. The conciliatory approach has fared little better
than the assertive strategy in the Sadat era in meeting Coptic needs, especially regarding
discrimination and security.
The church hierarchy must perform an increasingly difficult balancing act to reassurethe
community that they are still the most effective institution to represent Coptic interests, while
simultaneously proving to the government that the community and the church in particular,
remain loyal Egyptians. As long as the statusquo continues especially concerning relations
with the state, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch will be regarded as the main legitimate
representative of Copts on all aspects- spiritual and civil.

However, this authority could be

undermined by the increased activism among some Copts -a by-product of the very process
that allowed the Sunday School generation to gain this position. In order to retain his
predominance, the patriarch may resort to more assertive strategiesas in the past even
although he has witnessed the severerepercussionsthat this could have on both himself and
the wider Coptic community. In conclusion, Patriarch Shenoudahas revitalised the
traditional predominant role of the office adding a more political activist dimension, but by
failing to deliver all the promises of the Coptic Renewal, has left a potential opportunity to as
yet unknown actors, to challenge this temporal authority.
I Theodore Hall Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianity :A History of the Coptic Orthodox Church
(Greensboro, Fisher Park Press, 1996) p. 169
2 Otto Meinardus, Coptic E-gypt: Ancient and Modern (Cairo, American University In Cairo Press,
1977) p. 13
3 Mohamed Heikal, Autumn of Fury: The Assassination of Sadat (London, Corgi Books, 1984) p. 171
4 PJ Vatikiotis, The History of Modern Egypt (London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991) p. 421

172

5 In the last two papal elections, an electoral college consisting of lay representatives from elite
families selected three candidates from a list of figures nominated by the Holy Synod. The actual
decision is left to chance (or God) by writing the name of each candidate on a separate piece of
paper as well as a fourth choice. One name is drawn by lot by a young boy.
See SS Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt : The Century-Long Struggle for Coptic
Equali (New York, Oxford University Press, 2003) p. 245-6
6 Anthony O'Mahony, "The Politics of Religious Renewal : Coptic Christianity in Egypt" In Anthony
O'Mahony (ed), Eastern Christianity: Studies in Modern History. Religion and Politics (London,
Melisende, 2004) p. 148
7 Paul Sedra, "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict: Coptic Christian Communities in Modem
Egyptian Politics" Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 10(2) 1999 p. 225
8 Nadia Ramsis Farah, Reliqious Strife in Eqypt: Crisis and Ideological Conflict In the Seventies
(London, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1986) p. 50
9 Andrea Z Stephanous, Religion and Politics in the Middle East: Political Christianity In the Islamic
Context (Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, Manchester, University of Manchester Press, 2002) p. 208
10Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern E-qypLp.87
11Hamied Ansari, "Sectarian Conflict in Egypt and the Political Expediency of Religion" Middle East
Journal 38(3) 1984 p. 398
Christiaan van Nispen tot Sevenaer, "Changes in Relations between Copts and Muslims (19521994) in the light of the Historical Experience" in Nelly van Doom Harder and Karl Vogts (eds),
Between Desert and City: The CoDtic Orthodox Church Toda (Oslo, Institute for Comparative
Research in Human Culture, 1997)"p. 30
13Ansarl, "Sectarian Conflict in Egypt" p. 400
14EJ Chitham, The Coptic Community in Egypt : Spatial and Social Change (Durham, Centre for
Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, 1986) p. 104
15John Eibner, Christians in Eqypt: Church Under Siege (London, Institute for Religious Minorities In
the Islamic World, 1993) p. 8
16Sohirin Muhammad Solihin, Copts and Muslims in Egypt: A Study In Harmony and Hqa!l&
(Leicester, The Islamic Foundation, 1991) p. 74
17O'Mahony, Interview, London May 2004
18Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianity p. 172
19JD Pennington, "The Copts in Modern Egypt" Middle Eastern Studies 18(2) 1982 p. 174
20Ansari, "Sectarian Conflict in Egypt" p. 402
21Jean-Pierre Valognes, Vie et mort des Chretiens d'Orient (Paris, Fayard, 1994) p. 563
22There was an exception in 1961 when Patriarch Kyrillos V1imposed a ban on Coptic pilgrimages to
Jerusalem in protest at the decision of the Jordanian authorities to recognise the ownership claim of
the Ethiopian Orthodox Church concerning Dair as-Sultan. The bishops sought and obtained
Nasser's intervention. Once it became a political issue between Egypt and Jordan, the Coptic
Orthodox regained ownership of the keys to the holy site and recommenced pilgrimages. The role
of Nasser in resolving this issue was publicly recognised by the patriarch.
See Otto F Meinardus, Christian Egypt : Faith and Life (Cairo, The American University In Cairo
Press, 1970) p. 462-5
23 Heikal, Autumn of Fury p. 230
24 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 109
25 Ami Ayalon, "Egypt's Coptic Pandora's Box" In Ofra Bengio and Gabriel Ben-Dor (eds), Minorities
Inc, 1999) p. 58
and the State in the Arab World (London, Lynne Reinner Publishers
Eibner, Christians in Eqvpt : Church Under Siege p. 18
27 Ansan, ; Sectarian Conflict in Egypt" p. 411
28 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern EMt
p. 73
29 Ibid
p. 3
30 Wolfram Reiss, "Renewal in the Coptic Orthodox Church, notes of the Ph. D thesis of Revd Dr
Wolfram Reiss" translated by Cornelis Hulsman, Reliqious News Service
November 2002
31 O'Mahony,
"The Politics of Religious Renewal" p. 145
32 Reiss "Renewal in the Coptic Orthodox Church"
33 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 77
34 Ibid
p. 57
35 Reiss, "Renewal in the Coptic Orthodox Church"
36 Ibid

173

from the Arab World

22 nd

37 Nelly van Doorn-Harder, "Kyrillos VI (1902-1971): Planner, Patriarch and Saint" in Nelly van DoomHarder and Karl Vogts (eds), Between Desert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Today (Oslo,
Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, 1997) p. 236
38 Edward Wakin, A Lonely Minority: The Modern Story of Egypt's Copts (New York, William Morrow
& Company. 1963) p. 142
39 Father Matta el-Meskeen, Coi)tic Monasticism & The Monasterv of St. Macarius (Wadi Natroun,
Monastery of St. Macarius, 2001) p. 6
40 O'Mahony, "The Politics of Religious Renewal" p. 137
41 Partrick, Traditional Eastern Christianity p. 173
42 John Watson, "The Desert Fathers Today: Contemporary Coptic Monasticism" in Anthony
O'Mahony (ed), Eastern Christianity: Studies In Modern History. Religion and Politics (London,
Melisende, 2004) p. 114
43Otto FA Meinardus, Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Deserts (Cairo, American University in
Cairo Press, 1989) p. x
44Mark Francis Gruber, "Coping with God : Coptic Monasticism" in Nelly van Doorn-Harder and Karl
Vogts (eds), Between Desert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Today (Oslo, Institute for
Comparative Research in Human Culture, 1997) p. 62
4 Watson, "The Desert Fathers Today: Contemporary Coptic Monasticism" p. 114
45
a Nelly van Doorn-Harder, "Following the Holy Call : women in the Coptic Church" Parole de I'Orient
25 2000 p. 740
47Hasan. Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 103
413
Otto FA Meinardus, Coptic Saints and Pilgrimages (Cairo, American University in Cairo Press,
2002)p. 28
4gWakin, A Lonely Minoritv: The Modem Storyof Egypt's Copts 37
.
50Interviews with Coptic clergy and deacons, Egypt, October-November 2003
51Wakin, A Lonely Minority: The Modern Story of Egypt's Copts p. 153
52Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 131
53Maurice Martin, "The Renewal in Context 1960-1990" in Nelly van Doorn-Harder and Karl Vogts
(eds) Between Desert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Today (Oslo, Institute for
Comparative Research in Human Culture, 1997) p. 17
54 Sedra, "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict" p. 226
55 David Zeidan, "The Copts Equal, Protected or Persecuted? The Impact of Islamization on MuslimChristian Relations in Modern Egypt" Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations 1100) 1999 p. 59
56 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt 198
.
57 Reiss, "Renewal in the Coptic Orthodox Church"
58 Dina el Khawaga "The Political Dynamics of the Copts: Giving the Community an Active Role" In
Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future
(Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1998) p. 183
59 Valognes, Vie et mort des Chretiens d'Orient p. 256
60 Otto F Meinardus, Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (Cairo, American University in Cairo
Press, 1999) p. 11-12
61 Reiss, "Renewal in the Coptic Orthodox Church"
62 al Keraza 1 1thJune 2004

www.co ticpope.orq/ena-keraza/enqkeraza11-06-2004.i)d
63 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Eqvr)t p. 124
64 John H Watson, Among the Co]2-tS
(Brighton, Sussex Academic Press, 2000) p. 118
65 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 236
66 Ibid p. 236

67 Dina el-Khawaga, "The laity at the heart of the Coptic Clerical Reform" in Nelly van Doom-Harder
and Kari Vogts (eds), Between Desert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Today (Oslo, Institute
for Comparative Research in Human Culture, 1997) p. 151
68Sedra, "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict" p. 229
69Meinardus, Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christiani p. 74
70van Doorn-Harder, "Following the Holy Call: women in the Coptic Church" p. 743
71John H Watson, "The Transfigured Cross: A Study of Father Bishol Kamel" Coptic Church Review
230-2) 2002 p. 37
Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Eavot p. 184
73GH Bebawi, "The Bishop in the Coptic Church Today" in Peter Moore (ed), Bishops But What Kind?
(London, SPCK, 1982) p. 74

174

74Nora Stene, "Into the lands of immigration" in Nelly van Doorn-Harder


and Karl Vogts
(eds) Between Desert and City : The Coptic Orthodox Church Todav (Oslo, Institute for
Comparative Research in Human Culture, 1997) p. 191
7 Reiss, "Renewal in the Coptic Orthodox Church"
75
8 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 115
77John Watson, "Hermits and Hierarchs" in David Thomas and Clare Amos (eds), A Faithful
Presence: Essays for Kenneth Cram (London, Melisende, 2003) p. 280
Reiss "Renewal in the Coptic Orthodox Church"
79
Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern EqvD p. 248
80Sedra "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict" p. 229
:21 Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 116
al-Musawwar "Interview with Pope Shenouda" 10'" October 2003
83al-Keraza, 22Lnd
July 2005
www.copticpope.orq/downloads/enq-keraza/enqkeraza22-07-2005.pd
84Arabic News.com. "Pope Shenouda highlights Egypt's religious tolerance, Improvements needed"
Tl-r-May2002
httr)://www. arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Dav/020531/2002053135.htmi
85 al-Keraza, gin April 2004
www.copticpope.orq/downloads/enq-keraza/enqkerazaO9-04-2004.i)d
'36Oriental Orthodox News Service, "An Interview with HH Pope Shenouda on EI-Gezira TV Channel"
March 2000 www. uk-christian.net/oons
87 al-Musawwar. "Interview with Pope Shenouda" 1othOctober 2003
Stephanous, Religion and Politics in the Middle East p. 217
BBC News, "Egyptian Pope goes into seclusion" 20in December 2004
http://news. bbc.co.uk/I/hi/World/4110861.st
go al-Keraza, 171nDecember 2004
www. copticeope.orq/downloads/enq-keraza/enqkerazaI 7-12-2004.pd
91 al-Keraza, 5'nAugust 2005
www. coi)ticl)ol)e.orq/downloads/enq-keraza/enqkerazaO5-08-2005.Dd
92 al-Keraza "Coptic Neomartyrs in the New Millennium" in Coptic Church Review 210) 2000
htti):Hhome.ptd.net/-vannev/coi)tic-neomartvrs. pdf
93 Al Ahram Weeki "Al Kosheh dossier reopened" 8'" November 2000
,
httD://weeklv. ahram.orq.eq/2001/559/e,q6.htm
94 Sedra, "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict" p. 221
95 al-Gawhary, "Copts in the Egyptian Fabric" p. 21
96 Copticpope.org, "His Holiness Pope Shenouda III's declaration concerning the events of el-Kosheh"
5in November 1998 www.cor)tici)ope.or-q

97 al-Hava loth November 2003


,

a[-Musawwar. "Interview with Pope Shenouda" 1othOctober 2003


Ur-i:
e--ntalOrthodox News Service, "Interview with Pope Shenouda III : Marriage, Politics and
Jerusalem" May 1999 www. uk-christian.net/oons
looAl Ahram Weekly, "Jumbled Reactions" 18' August 2005
htti)://w eklv.ahran.or-q.e-q/2005/756/eql2.htm
lo' Stephanous, Reliqion and Politics in the Middle East P. 213
102Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern EqypLp. 93
103John H Watson, "Christianity in the Middle East" in Anthony O'Mahony and Michael Kirwan (eds)
(London,
Melisende,
2004)
Dialoques
ChristianitV
Politics.
Theoloqv.
p. 219
:
-World
IU4 Solihin, CoDts and Muslims in Eqvr)t p. 87
'o, Sedra, 'Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict" p. 227
lo6 Al Ahram Weekly. "A snag in the national fabric" 22ndJune 2000
107el Khawaga "The Political Dynamics of the Copts" p. 189
108Watson, Among the Copts p. 113
log Am! Ayalon, "Egypt's Coptic Pandora's Box" in Ofra Benglo and Gabriel Ben-Dor (eds), Minorities
and the State in the Arab World (London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999) p. 62
O'Mahony, "The Politics of Religious Renewal" p. 156
Al Ahram Weekly, "A Christmas like no other" 2 ndJanuary 2003
httr)://w eklv.ahram.orq.eq/2003/619/lil. htm
112Interview with member of Permanent Committee of al-Azhar Dialogue with the Monotheistic
Religions, Cairo, November 2003

175

113 Hulsman, "Christians in Egypt: the impact


of Islamic resurgence" p. 24
114 Ibid
p. 25

1is AI-Ahram Weekl Prized Tolerance 2ndNovember 2000


,
hfti)://weekly. ahram.orq.e.q/2000/506/eq3.htm
. 2004
Ila al-Keraza 5'n November
vA". copticpope.ora/downloads/ena-keraza/enqkerazaO5-11-2004.
pd
111al-Keraza, 23roApril 2004
www.copticpol)e.orq/downloads/enq-keraza/enqkeraza23-04-2004.r)d
"a al-Keraza, 301AJanuary 2004
www.copticeor)e.orq/downlads/enq-keraza/enqkeraza30-Ol-2004.pd
al-Keraza, Vn August 2004
www.copticRope.orq/downfoads/enq-keraza/enqkerazaO6-08-2004.
pd
11w
al-Keraza, ginApril 2004
www.copticpope.orq/downfoads/enq-keraza/enqkeraza09-04-2004.pd
120Hasan, Christians Versus Muslims in Modern Egypt p. 262
121See Watani International Editorials www.watani.com.e-a
122Sedra, "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict" p. 227
123Al Ahram Weekl "Going for the roots" 5thJuly 2001
,
http://weekiv. ahram.or-q.eq/2001/541/eq6.htm
124Asad, Geopolitique d'EqvDte p. 203
125Al Ahram Weekl "They don't love this movie" 15thJuly 2004
,
http://weekIV.ahram.orq.eq/2004/669/eq7.htm
126Al Ahram al-Arabi "The first fiction movie on Copts released" 12thJune 2004
'" Sedra, "Class cleavages and Ethnic Conflict" p. 227

176

Chapter Five - The Political Role of Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros


Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Maronites

Introduction

The earliersectionsof this studyhavedemonstrated


that throughouthistory, the Maronite
patriarchhasenjoyeda temporaldimensionto his role asthe spiritual headof the community.
Furthermore,postwar Lebanoncanbe charactcrised
asa crisis of stateenvironment,
especiallyfor the oncedominantMaronitecommunity. Maronitesecularleadership
collapsedpreciselywhen guidancewasneedednot only to rebuild the war-ravagednationbut
facing
the community. UnderPatriarchSfeir, the
to
to
the
also respond
multiple challenges
MaroniteChurchhasenjoyeda reawakeningof its political activitiesasthe representativeof
the Maronitepeople. This thesisproposesthat PatriarchSfeir hasfilled this leadership
vacuumwith considerablesuccess.Thus,thepersonalattributesof the patriarchwould
appearsignificantin determiningthe extentof this political role.
This discussionwill provide a detailedanalysisof the methodsusedby the patriarchto exert
his authorityover the community. Firstly, a shortbiographywill be given of PatriarchSfeir
andthe early yearsof his patriarchy. The spiritualrenewalin the Maronitechurchin the post
war erathat hasbeenguidedby PatriarchSfeir canalsobe regardedasa strategyto emphasise
traditionalpatriarchalauthority. By uniting the communityunderhim, PatriarchSfeir was
for
forge
to
the
a political path the communityasthe only
presentedwith
opportunity
been
have
leader.
The
Maronite
usedto strengthenthe
resources
church
recognisedpopulist
fill
its
The
in
to
this
to
the
political
vacuum.
ability
order
maximise
position of
church
be
His
key
Sfeir
by
the
Patriarch
stance
on
examined.
will
political activitiesundertaken
Maronitegrievanceshighlightedearlierwill be analysed,illustrating that the patriarchappears
177

to sharemany of these concerns. While a significant proportion of this discussion will focus
on the period from 2000 until the Syrian withdrawal in 2005, his attitudes towards the
momentous developments in Lebanon since the assassinationof Hariri will also be explored.
This provides an opportunity to contrast the methods adopted by the church hierarchy in these
two periods to determine if changesin the political situation affect the role of the patriarch.
The involvement of a religious leader in national affairs has the potential to foster harmonious
communal relations and stability or alternatively could endangerthe fragile peace after the
civilwar.

In order to judge the effect that the political actions undertaken by Patriarch Sfeir

have had on Lebanon, the responseof the following groups will be examined: the Maronite
clergy and faithful, other Christian communities, politicians of all persuasions,government
final
The
different
Muslim
the
section will explore possible
communities.
officials and
in
future,
for
the
the
the
temporal
emphasising the significance of
patriarch
scenarios
role of
the personality of the patriarch in determining the outcome of such activities. Thus, this
institutions,
by
highlight
the spiritual
to
the
represented
religious
which
extent
chapter will
leader, can exercise political authority in a crisis of state environment in a region where the
in
been
have
the
experienced
a similar manner to the
not
process
effects of
secularization
West.

A Brief Biography of Patriarch Sfeir

The path of the MaroniteChurchin Taif Lebanonhasbeengreatly shapedby Patriarch


NasrallahBoutrosSfeir who was electedduring the lastphaseof the civil war. Born in
Rayfoun,Kesrouanin 1920,NasrallahSfeir was educatedat the St. Maron Seminaryin
GhazirandstudiedPhilosophyandTheologyat the Universityof St. Josephin Beirut. In
1950,he was ordainedinto the priesthoodandservedin his homeparishof Rayfoun. From

178

1956until 1961,he was professorof translationin literatureandphilosophyat the Maronite


BrothersSchoolinJounieh. After beingordainedBishop of Tarsusin 1961,he servedasa
PatriarchalVicar andcontinuedto be the Secretaryof the MaronitePatriarchateuntil his
electionin 1986.1 During this period,NasrallahSfeir was known for his moderatepolitical
views in contrastto the radicalizationthat affectedmanyin the communityasa consequence
thosein the Maronite
of the Lebanesecivil war. Helmick statesthat this bishoprepresented
communitywho werenot frightenedof their Muslim neighboursbut insteadworked to restore
harmoniousrelations.2 Accordingto Valognes,NasrallahSfeir was electedto the highest
Maroniteoffice becausethe Synodwasunableto choosebetweenthe declaredcandidates
he
who representedspecificpolitical factions. Having servedunderhis two predecessors,
was extremelyexperiencedin the spiritualandcivil activitiesof Bkerke(the Maronite
3

books
is
Sfeir
Patriarch
the
of
several
andtranslationson the
author
also
patriarchate).
Maronitefaith. His position asheadof the Catholiccommunitiesin Lebanonwas reinforced
in
Paul
1994
John
II
President
by
Pope
he
Cardinal
and
appointed
of the
a
when was made
SpecialAssemblyof the Synodof Bishopsfor Lebanononeyear later.

The Early Years as Patriarch (1986- 1989)

On his election, the patriarch was aware of the acute problems facing the Maronite
community. The setbacksexperiencedduring the civil war led to a crisis of identity - of
Both
long
been
had
the community and
faith
Maronite
core
element.
as
a
the
regarded
which
As
Patriarch
Sfeir
factions
divided
to
hierarchy
support.
was not the
over
what
church
were
immediately
he
Christian
dominant
this
time,
Forces,
Lebanese
the
group
at
the
candidate of
faced opposition to his policies. Once elected, he tried to continue reconciliation measures
indicated
he
his
letters,
his
his
Through
by
position on
pastoral
sponsored
predecessor.

179

Lebanon,
including
for
issues
the
opposition to
supporting
a
multicultural
unity,
several
need
Islamic theocratic rule and condemnation of both Israeli and Syrian intervention in Lebanon.4
He received religious representativesof other communities when possible including a meeting
5
in
he
Algeria
1987,
On
his
to
Sunni
the
met the
a visit
election.
with
mufti shortly after
leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat and later declared that
the Palestinian causewas "sacred'.P6 This diplomacy did not gain a favourable responsefrom
for
blamed
Palestinians
the outbreak
Maronite
the
the
community who still
many sections of
of violence in Lebanon.
After the mandate of President Amin Gemayel expired in 1988, the patriarch (with Vatican
invitation
from
Arab
League
be
held.
Receiving
to
for
the
to
an
elections
support), was eager
in
foster
heads
Lebanese
to
the
Kuwait
to
the
communities
order
to
of
other religious
go
meet
7
in
This
Christian
to
he
held
gain a
was
order
politicians.
with
a
summit
a peaceprocess,
by
betrayal
being
the
community
of
this
accused
of
to
mission and avoid
mandate undertake
participating in an Arab peaceinitiative.

Patriarch Sfeirjustified this approach by stating

8
Acknowledging
dialogue.
the grave situation
by
that Lebanon needed liberation
reason and
(the
National
Understanding
Taif
Document
1989
he
Christians,
the
of
the
supported
of
Accord) -a revision of the National Pact but one that sanctioned the presenceof the Syrian
it
in
legitimacy
Christian
to
doing
he
In
the
circles
allow
a
agreementenough
so, gave
army.
9
believed
that at this specific period,
Maronites,
Like
the
patriarch
some
chanceto succeed.
it was best to accept a pro-Syrian president and consequentSyrian influence in order to
his
However,
Lebanese
position contrastedwith many ordinary
the
state.
preserve
Maronites, especially the followers of General Aoun (the caretaker Prime Minister), whom
Patriarch Sfeir criticised for launching his War of Liberation in 1989. He believed that this
had
that
the
lead
the
patriarchate
always
to the partitioning of
country - an outcome
could
been against since the establishmentof the mandate. Incensed at the acquiescenceof their

180

patriarchto what they perceivedasSyrianhegemony,the patriarchwasjostled by


10
demonstrators
in
Syrian
andconsequentlysoughtrefuge the
occupiedsector. This was the
first time that the moral authorityof thepatriarchhadbeenseriouslychallengedby the
intra-Christianfighting
community. The patriarchpublicly condemnedthe subsequent
betweenthe Geagea(leaderof the LebaneseForces)andAoun factions,deemingit
"collective suicide".II By the endof the civil war, the patriarchateresembledthe wider
Maronitecommunity-weakened, disunitedanddefeated. Therefore,the main aim of the
patriarchin the post-warerawasto overseethe rejuvenationof the Maronitechurchandasa
the entirecommunity.
consequence,

The Post-War Spiritual Renewal of the Maronite Church

Sincethe civil war, both the Vaticanandthe Maronitehierarchyhaveaddressed


the
divisionswithin the churchin orderto rebuildcommunalunity. During the conflict, the Holy
Seeencouragedmediationbetweenthe different factionsandsentreconciliationmissions
underthe commandof veteranVaticandiplomats. The attitudeof the Holy Seewas affected
by wider aimsregardingthe Middle East. Lebanonwasperceivedasa living modelof
coexistencebetweenChristianandMuslims that shouldbe ardentlydefendedby Rome. The
Popewarnedthat the eventsin Lebanoncouldhaveconsiderableimplicationson Christian
letter
Papal
1984
to the EasternCatholic
In
the
throughout
the
communities
region.
PatriarchsandBishopsin Lebanon,the PoperemindedLebaneseChristiansthat the fate of
linked
directly
to themandthat they shouldrememberthat
Christians
Middle
East
was
other
12
just
their own concerns. SomeMaronitesregardedthis
they wereresponsiblefor morethan
Being
by
their
betrayal
the
the
to
of
church.
tantamount
spiritual
authorities
a
attitudeas
largestCatholiccommunityin the Middle East,manyMaroniteshad expectedautomatic

181

support from the Vatican in their effort to ensureLebanon remained a refuge for Christians
and did not becomejust another Arab Muslim dominated state. Consequently, there was a
fundamental clash between the policies of the Vatican and the Maronite community.
According to Irani, many Maronites felt that "Lebanese Christians were being sacrificed on
13
Christian-Islamic
dialogue".
For example, President-Elect Bashir Gemayel
the altar of
stated that the Vatican must understandthat LebaneseChristians were not "guinea pigs" for
interfaith dialogue. 14 Vatican policy was perceived as out-of-touch with the actual situation
in Lebanon. This was highlighted by the meeting between the Pope and the Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat only one day after the assassinationof Bashir Gemayel. Once the civil
instigated
it
to prove
that
Vatican
that
the
measures
were
was
vital
war was over,
recognised
to the disillusioned Maronite community that it could still representtheir interests.
Consequently, The Special Synod for Lebanon (1991-1995) was convened and stressedthe
join
It
in
Lebanon
together
for
to
to
Catholic
attain
spiritual
renewal.
all
communities
need
future
Christians
Muslims
Lebanese
Papal
the
the
one
where
work
and
vision of
outlined
together to rebuild their country. A quote from the Pope "Lebanon is more than a country:
Lebanon is a message"became the inspiration for many Lebanese- Christian and Muslim
15
"A
New
for
Exhortation
Hope
Lebanon"
Apostolic
followed
by
This
the
which
was
alike.
in
1997.
Apostolic
Lebanon
The
Exhortation
his
during
to
by
Pope
the
acts
visit
was signed
dialogue
its
Lebanon,
for
the
to
the
and
calling
mission
church,
situation of
as a guide
between the Christian churches, the Muslim communities and the need to work together for
national reconciliation.

16

The post-civil war era has also seenthe Maronite Church enact its own initiatives for church
had
for
Synod
Maronite
to
decades,
the
For
called
a
church
within
elements
renewal.
many
take account of the many changessince the last council in 1856. Writing in 1983, three years
before he was elected patriarch, the then Bishop Sfeir stated that in the past, councils had

182

greatinfluenceon churchlife, especiallythe 1736Mount LebanonSynod. As the church


was in needof renewal,not only becauseof VaticanII but alsodueto eventsin Lebanon,he
17
best
arguedthat the
way to achievethis wasthrougha new council. The wish of his fellow
campaignerswas finally grantedin 2003. TheMaronite Synodis regardedby the faithful as
a defining momentfor the modemMaroniteChurch. Its importanceis shownby the opinion
of oneparticipantwho describedit as"somethinglike VaticanII for the Maronite Church`.18
It is the first time that membersof the "Maronite family" havebeenbroughttogetherfrom
aroundthe world to discussthe affairsof their church. PatriarchSfeir was alsokeento
encouragethe involvementof all Maronitesin the event. Thus,the faithful areinvited to
pray for its success,seekspiritualrenewalin their personallives anddiscussthe topics
19
by
addressed the council. The Synodalsoenjoyedmediacoverageand setup its own
websiteto inform thoseinterestedin the latestdevelopments.Following the precedent
of otherreligiouscommunities
establishedat the SpecialSynodfor Lebanon,representatives
in Lebanon- ChristianandMuslim - wereinvited to attend. During the first sessionin June
2003,the participantsdiscussedthepreparatorytexts andagreedamendments.This
Special
Synod
for
from
Lebanon
the
differs
that
of
wherethe
methodology
significantly
Synodfollowed the guidelinessetby PopeJohnPaulII. Instead,the continualconsultation
that this processis
andrevision of textsby all membersof the MaroniteCouncil, emphasiscs
by all the Maronitefaithfulfor the Maronitefaithful.
in the first sessionweredivided into five files. The first file examined
The topics addressed
the identity andmissionof the MaroniteChurch,affirming its Easternidentity, Antiochian
Apostolic
Exhortation,
Synod
Reflecting
the
Syrian
tone
the
the
tradition.
of
also
rootsand
stressedthe ecumenicalvocationof the MaroniteChurchandsoughtto continueefforts to
in
fully
Christian-Islamic
Christian
different
to
the
and
participate
churches
reconcile
dialogue.20 The secondfile coveredissuesrelatingto pastoralrenewal,stressingthe

183

importanceof educationamongthe clergy. This sectionalsoaffirmed that the office of


patriarchactsasa referencepoint for all believersandcombinedwith the liturgy, ensures
Maroniteunity. The third file entitled"The Maronite Churchin Today's World" addresses
issuesrelating to political, socialandeconomicquestions. The Synodclearly definedits
view on the Maroniterole in Lebanon- Maronitesshouldstrive for "coexistenceand
intercommunityharmony".21 They statedthat in the political sphere,the Maronite Church
hasno wish to be seenas"a nationalchurchandits vocationhasneverbeento lay handson a
land of its own to the exclusionof others".22 The contentsof the fourth sectionweremore in
line with previouschurchcouncils,examiningcanonicalmatters. However,the fifth file
reflectedthe changeswhich haveoccurredin the Maronite Churchby addressingthe
importanttopic of emigrationandthe consequentexpansionof the Maronite Churchoutside
of the traditionalhomeland. The Synodagreedthat it was vital to preserveMaroniteidentity
in
between
links
Lebanonandits adherents
the
to
the
church
andstressed need retainclose
outsidethe patriarchalterritory.
Consequently,it is clearthat this MaroniteSynodin the twenty-first centuryhasthe
influential
Church
1736Mount Lebanon
be
for
Maronite
the
the
to
as
potential
assignificant
Synod. The continualcalls for churchreformthroughthe holding of a Maronitecouncil,
been
have
1920s,
the
answered. Its participantsareeagerthat their
eventually
voicedsince
efforts to reform the churchfrom insidewill not only allow spiritual renewalbut alsobring
in
Lebanon
impetus
hope
to
the
whether
or elsewhere. However,it
and
community,
new
mustbe notedthat it took over onehundredyearsto implementthe changesagreedby the
1736Synod. Therefore,it is hopedthat the MaroniteChurchwill experiencethe bencfitsof
the reformsof this council significantlyquickerthanoccurredregardingthe precedingone.
This Maronitespiritual renewalis alsoapparentwhenexaminingthe devotionto the saints.
At the canonizationof the nineteenthcenturymonk NeamatallahKassabHardini in 2004,

184

50,000 Lebanesepilgrims travelled to Rome while thousandsmore attendedcelebrations in


the Monastery of Kfifane. This canonization and that of St Rafqa in 2001, are viewed by
Patriarch Sfeir as illustrating that God will not abandonhis people and a great event for all
Lebanese.23 While the above spiritual renewal is not comparableto contemporary
movements such as the Coptic revival since the mid twentieth century, this focus on
spirituality can provide solace for the Maronite community in times of difficulty.
The social role of the church is also important in preserving Maronite identity. In the post
war era, the church has tried to maintain its presencethroughout the country by repairing
institutions and supporting the return of refugeesin areasthat have been depopulatedof
Christians. Aware of the economic plight of the country, the church, particularly through the
monastic orders, has continued its key role in education and health as well as providing land
for affordable housing. While the hierarchy has tried to provide for the needsof the
community, some Maronites have criticised theseefforts as inadequateconsidering the extent
24
land
institutions.
Patriarch Sfeir also
that
the church possessesespecially
of resources
and
seeksto encourageLebaneseChristians, especially the youth, to resist the attractions of
emigration. He welcomes initiatives that createjobs and easethe pressureon young
Lebanese,urging them that "the attachmentto the homeland, especially in times of trial, is
25
first
duties".
It is clear that the Maronite Church has tried to addressthe postone of your
war situation through spiritual renewal and social means- seenas acceptableactivities by a
church. However, by uniting the community around him, the patriarch has not only been able
to re-establishpatriarchal authority over his flock but also tried to use the church resourcesto
re-emphasisehis temporal role. In this "crisis of state" environment, the church certainly has
the potential to fill the Maronite leadershipvacuum. It is the political role of the Maronite
Church - so significant in its past - that has receivedmost attention both within the church
and in Lebanon in general.

185

The Political Role of Patriarch Sfeir in Post-War Lebanon

Under Patriarch Sfeir, the church has rediscoveredits voice as the leader of the Maronite
community. However, it is unclear whether this has developed into temporal authority as in
the past. In the post-war era, the Maronite Church hasbeen consistentin its call for the full
implementation of the Taif Accord. The methodsused to achieve this aim have varied
depending on events in the country and the wider region. According to the rational choice
approach,these different strategiescan be seenas the most fruitful for each circumstance.
For most of the 1990s,the patriarch pursueda diplomatic approach;still speaking out against
injustice such as the electoral laws and supporting the 1992 opposition boycott, yet being
careful not to intentionally causeany controversy for the church or the community. The
views of the patriarch were given through the monthly communiqu6sof the Bishops'
meetings, sermonsand messagesat feast times. For example, several sermonsin 1992
concentratedon Christian concernsregarding the Taif Accord, in particular, the electoral
conditions explained in ChapterThree which were seento disenfranchiseopposition voters
(many of whom were Christian).26 This diplomatic approachcan be explained by the relative
weaknessof the Maronite community in the immediate post-war period and the eagernessof
ordinary Lebanesecitizens to avoid any return to the years of conflict that was still a fresh
memory.
However by 2000, the political commentsby the patriarch had becomemore pronounced.
This changecan be attributed partly due to the deteriorating economic situation and the failure
from
South
Israeli
The
Taif
implement
the
ten
to
withdrawal
after
provisions.
of
years
many
Lebanon in May 2000 acted as a catalyst for opposition activists to increasetheir campaign
againstSyrian influence in Lebanon. Hence, the church hierarchy was keen to avoid being

186

out of touchwith popularopinionin the communityasoccurredin 1989over supportof the


Taif Accord. It hadbeenhopedthat the 2000electionswould provefairer thanpreviousones
held underSyriantutelageandenableparliamentto be more representative
of the different
views andideologiespresentin Lebanesesociety. However,few membersof the anti-Syrian
oppositionwere successfulin gainingoffice.
Combinedwith the absenceof influential Maronitefiguresin the cabinet,a shift towardsa
morepro-activerole for the patriarchateoccurredduring this period. Therefore,in
September2000,the monthly communiqu6wasusedasan appealto all Lebanese,listing
for
Lebanese
the
calling
crisis
and
sovereignty
economic
complaintsconcerningelections,
while retainingcloserelationswith Syria. The contentsof the communiqu6werenot new
it
first
Sfeir
However,
by
had
Patriarch
been
the
and
other
clergy.
was
and
statedpreviously
27
document.
In fact, the
time that they hadbeenlistedtogetherandpublishedasan official
it
identical
(Islamic
led
it
to
to
in
as
regard
afatwa
some
manner which was presented,
28

ruling).

The impactof the appealwasreviewedoneyear later in anothercommuniqu6

being
instead
the
considered,the authoritiesactuallyreacted
that
concerns
of
which stated
had
initiatives.
It
dialogue
that
the
also
acknowledged
people
was
againstany consequent
29
hierarchy
demands.
From
the start
their
the
the
thus,
reiterated
church
supported appealand
have
become
the
communiqu6s,
these
especially
and
of
appeals,patriarchalmessages
However,
thesearenot addressed
than
at the
ones.
previous
substantiallymorepoliticised
expenseof exclusivechurchandspiritualmatters.
The patriarchandthe Maronitehierarchyhaveissuednumerousstatementson the political
influence
in
Syrian
Lebanon.
The
focused
in
In
these
Lebanon.
on
particular,
situation
in
Syrian
the
for
troops
always
placed
contextof
the
were
of
withdrawal
repeatedcalls
bishops
The
in
Taif
Accord.
the
rejectedthe notion that the
regainingsovereigntyasoutlined
Syrianpresencewas necessaryto ensurestability in Lebanon. "When peoplesay"it's either

187

the Syrian army or chaos", it is an argument that simply does not stand up". 30 This campaign
enjoyed limited successwith the gradual redeployment of troops from Greater Beirut, Mount
Lebanon and the North since June 2001. However, many Syrian troops remained in the
Beqaa region and it was not until the developmentsset in motion by the assassinationof
Hariri in 2005 that a complete withdrawal took place. Syrian political influence over
Lebanon was also identified by the bishops as eroding the distinct characteristics of Lebanon.
"Lebanon is vanishing little by little, losing its identity; its peculiarities, the constitutional
institutions and even its entity". 31 Patriarch Sfeir has remained adamant that historically
Lebanon was and should continue to be, an independent country. The hierarchy acceptsthat
the two countries should be close but not at the expenseof sovereignty. Therefore, they are
consistent in their calls for the full implementation of the Taif Accord in order to achieve
these aims. In one communiqu6, the bishops asked for the help of God, "we ask him to
hatred,
from
hearts
grudge
and
unite our ranks for our own good
restore our affairs, clean our
its
the
the
of
proper conditions, especially its dignity as a
recovery
and
glory of our country,
32
independence,
free
decision".
Syria
its
identity
having
sovereignty
and
enjoying
state
own
is indirectly blamed for the problems faced by Lebanon. Speaking in May 2004, Patriarch
Sfeir said that "The fact that this country cannot operate safely without foreign assistance
33
interference".
be
blamed
should
specifically on ....... outside
Regarding the scheduled 2004 Presidential elections which were postponed in favour of an
bishops
has
become
Lahoud,
for
"It
President
the
the
stated,
extension of
existing mandate
known that the Lebanesedo not have the last say in the presidential elections and a lot of
them have started to see it as a natural thing ...... which indicates a reduced senseof dignity
and an absenceof national Will99.34In a sermon, the patriarch stated that the amendment
"would destroy, once and for all, the little democracy that we pride ourselves on" 35 At the
.
time, he voiced his concerns about the impact of the extension. Due to international

188

condemnation, the reputation of Lebanon would be adversely affected, adding more


difficulties to an already dire political and economic situation.36 The patriarch supported the
United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1559 which was co-sponsoredby the
United States and France as a consequenceof the constitutional amendment. He indicated
that it sought the same measuresas the Taif Accord, namely the restoration of Lebanese
sovereignty and the withdrawal of foreign forces.
Throughout this tense period, the patriarch continued his constant campaign to fulfil these
demands including a visit to the French President JacquesChirac in January 2005 where he
thanked the French government for their support in the Lebanesequest to regain
37
The Maronite Council responseto the assassinationof Hariri acknowledged
sovereignty.
the huge loss for the country and urged all Lebaneseto restrain emotions, act in unity and end
foreign interference.38 While recognising the subsequentstreet protests against the killing
be
Sfeir
Patriarch
that
Syrian
the
all
sides
must
cautious and solve
warned
and
presence,
demonstrators
lead
in
than
to
take
the
the
allowing
rather
arena
political
problems peacefully
2005,
Washington
In
March
DC
the
dangerous
lead
this
to
patriarch
visited
unrest.
as
could
in
Lebanesepolitical
W
Bush
turning
George
President
point
at
a
crucial
and met with
developments. He emphasisedto all his audiencesthat Lebanon, just like any other country,
desired freedom and independenceand was capable of fulfilling these ideals. While other
Lebaneseleadershad also met with influential officials in the State Department and Bush
Sfeir
Patriarch
that
to
the
the
visit,
ensured
was
patriarchal
given
administration,
prominence
figure
key
in
delicate
in
both
Lebanon
the
negotiations
as
a
and
abroad,
publicly recognised,
United
in
to
the
This
to
future
Lebanon.
contrast
previous
visits
the
was
of
concerning
States,which had not included an audiencewith the president, reflecting the different
situation in 2005.

189

Once a caretaker government was in place in April 2005, the patriarch turned his attention
to the electoral system. Political participation had long been a subject addressedby the
patriarch. Throughout the Taif era, he encouragedLebaneseto take part in elections as part
of their democratic duty. However, this did not deter criticism of government conduct during
elections. Concerning the 2000 parliamentary elections which were deemed to be relatively
fair on the actual election days, the bishops statedthat "The results of the elections were
known by the time election day arrived". 39 In the tense atmospherefrom September2004
onwards, the bishops demandedinternational monitoring for the 2005 elections in order to
prevent yet another rigged electoral law and reiterated their support for an electoral system
based on small districts (known as the qada system).40 In contrast to the existing system
where constituencies were drawn to favour particular groups or individuals, the qada system
(as explained in Chapter Three) was perceived to allow a greater number of votes to directly
affect the election result. The retention of the previous electoral system for the first elections
free of Syrian dominance was met with bitter disappointment, echoing the general sentiments
of the Maronite community. In an emergencymeeting, the bishops stated that this electoral
law contradicted the Taif Accord and would lead to a negative reaction from Christians who
would be justified in thinking that little had changed. As before, Christians would not be
41
to
able elect their preferred representatives. Although they refrained from advocating a
boycott, this issue has constantly been referred to in subsequentstatements.
The patriarch has also become attentive to the controversy over the presidency. As stated
earlier, there was a clear condemnation of the constitutional amendment which extended the
term of President Lahoud. However, once this law was passed,his position was accepted albeit grudgingly - as a fait accompli. The policy of the patriarch has been to stressthe
importance of the institution of the presidency. During the time of the street protests in
March 2005, the patriarch made it known to the opposition that he was not in favour of

190

forcing Lahoud to resign as had happened with Prime Minister Karanu.

Instead, lie urged

that they should work within the constitution as the removal from power of all tile previous
42

incumbents would leave a vacuum that could be filled by political unrest


.

Again when

clamours for the ousting of Lahoud grew as the release of the Melifis report drew near,
Patriarch Sfeir made his position clear. In the Annual Maronite Bishops Declaration released
in September 2005, the bishops demanded that Lebanese citizens stopped attacking tile
43
institution
by
halo
be
"surrounded
The
presidency - an
a
of respect".
which should
but
October
2005
Mehlis
the
stated that some elements
released
patriarch welcomed
report
in
needed to be clarified.

This can be regarded as a reference to the rumours that tile president,

like other pro-Syrian officials, was in some way, party to the developments which led to tile
assassination of Hariri.
The patriarch's protection of the presidency must be examined in the context ofthe
confessional system. Ever since the institution was established in tile mandate era, it has
been recognised as a Maronite post. Thus, Patriarch Sfeir has endeavoured to ensure that this
accessto power will remain. He has been careful to clarify that the issue of the presidency
affects all Lebanese not just the Christians and has discouraged any n1ovcs that could be
interpreted as one sect (the Maronites) determining tile identify of the next president (head of'
the entire Lebanese state). To this end, he refused to sponsor any meetings ofChristian
politicians at Bkerke to discuss these issues and publicly at least, will not nominate one
44
This illustrates the desire of the patriarch to remain above party politics.
candidate.
Instead, he has kept close relations with leading figures and potential rivals e.g. Michel AOU11
and Samir Geagea. Consequently, he would appear to wish that the fate of President Lahoud
be deten-nined by the political situation of the country rather than pre-eniptcd by others Nvho
may be acting in their own interests rather than those of the country as a whole.

191

This issueof self-interesthasbecomea key concernto the patriarch. With the departureof
Syriantroopsandthe electionof a new government,manyhad hopedthat this would leadto a
new era in Lebanon. Yet the immediateperiod sincethe electionsin Junedoesnot appearto
havefulfilled this hope. Political actorsfrom all confessionalgroupsareaccusedof
furtheringtheir own interestsat the expenseof nationalunity andreconciliation. Although
the vast majority of Lebaneseagreedthat a new governmentneededto be formedinstantly
after the elections,disputesover the allocationof certainpostsmeantthat the countrywas
without a cabinetfor over onemonth. The hierarchyvoicedconcernat this "rush" to secure
positionsaccordingto confessionalstatus. "Bickering betweenpolitical partiesandblocs
insideParliamentincreasestensionswhile a true refon-nneedsthe achievementof national
45
accordandreconciliation". In the AnnualDeclarationand subsequentstatements,the
bishopshavedespairedof the inability andperhapsunwillingnessof the politiciansto
implementpromisedreforms. Thepatriarchhasconstantlystatedthat any true relationship
betweenthe govcrnmentandthe peoplemustbe basedon truth andintegrity. Yet, to his
dismay,the primary aim of political actorsstill seemsto be the protectionof their own
interests.
The patriarchhasbeenparticularlyscathingof Christiandisunity. He ascribedthe weak
inherent
in
Lebanon
factionalism
to
the
Maronite
the
post-war
community
position of
Christian
leaders
(Michel
Aoun
With
during
the
the
of
populist
return
civil
war.
experienced
from exile and SamirGeageafrom prison),therewas initial hopethat Christianswould be
first
the
full
to
to
republic. Yet, the Christian
under
able return
participationenjoyed
including
Several
Geagea's
2005
divided
the
groups
elections.
at
communitywas sorely
LebaneseForcesallied with the recognisedoppositionled by SaadHariri andWalid Jumblatt.
However,oppositionnegotiationswith Aoun's FreePatrioticMovementcould not reachan
Aoun
districts,
Michel
Zahle
Murr, a
in
Lebanon
Mount
Thus,
the
allied
with
and
agreement.

192

key figure in the previous pro-Syrian regime and defeated several Christian opposition
46
In responseto this lack of unity, Patriarch Sfeir lambastedthe "chaos prevailing
politicians.
47
issue,
his
Christian
As
the
concerning
presidency
approach
within
cautious
ranks".
with
this can be seen as a warning to the Christian leaders that disunity could lead to a loss of their
political status and power.
The Maronite bishops have also addressedsecurity issues. Under the pro-Syrian regime,
the erosion of freedom and lack of respect for human rights in Lebanon was a key concern.
Stressing the history and identity of Lebanon, they argued "What worth is Lebanon without
freedom?' 9.48 The patriarch continually called for the release of political prisoners -f rom all
49
has
been
Geagea.
Patriarch
Sfeir
Samir
just
individuals
also
as
such
communities not
outspoken about the use of repression againstprotestors and opposition activists. During the
Murr affair in 2002 when Gabriel Murr an opposition politician, was removed from his seat
bishops
"measures
being
that
his
taken to
the
television
stated
are
and
station was closed,
50
free
speech". The patriarch has
silence every free voice, although the constitution secures
if
it
double
he
been
highlight
standards
could potentially
to
even
as
perceives
what
not
afraid
aggravatethe religious divide e.g. the unequal treatment of protestors. With the changes that
have occurred in 2005, new concernshave been added to their list, most notably insecurity
due to a series of bomb attacks. On the whole, these have targeted Christians, whether aimed
Unsurprisingly,
developments
individuals
these
areas.
at specific
or residential/shopping
have led to general uneaseand feelings of vulnerability, affecting not just Christians but all
Lebanese. The responseof the patriarch has been to focus on the inability of the government
to prevent these attacks and discover the identity of the perpetuators. He has restated his
belief that the priority of the political elite must be to restore confidence in the government,
which must involve tackling security concerns.

193

Thepatriarchhasalsopublicisedhis viewson the controversialShiite resistancemovement


Hizb'allah. He hasalwaysbeenkeento emphasisethepatriotic credentialsof the Maronite
Church. Thus,the churchreleaseda statementwhich rejoicedat the Israeli withdrawal from
SouthLebanonin May 2000. Although stressingthat all Lebanesesuffereddue to the
occupation,the hierarchyrecognisedthe role of the resistancemovementandpraisedits
5

1
willingnessto conductcelebrationsasa nationalnot confessionalvictory. Similarly, the
bishopswelcomedthe successfulnegotiationsbetweenHizb'allah andIsrael in 2004which
resultedin the releaseof someLebaneseprisoners. However,they alsousesuchoccasionsto
stressthat theseactionsaffect all Lebanesenotjust oneconfession. Thus,the hierarchytook
the opportunityof the aboveprisonerreleaseto reiteratea demandthat the Lebaneseand
Syriangovernmentsinvestigatecasesof peoplemissingsincethe civil war era.52 This
Syrian
This
has
troops.
has
the
of
period
alsowitnessed
withdrawal
message continuedsince
demonstrations
During
Hizb'allah.
the
tense
towards
period
of
street
morecritical statements
in
fully
Sfeir
Hizb'allah
Patriarch
to
the
Hariri,
the
urged
participate
after
assassination
of
Lebanesepolitical systemandhelp solveproblemsaffectingall Lebaneseratherthan dwelling
demonstrations
by
in
issue.
Syrian
This
the
the
of
counter
organised
context
on
was
53
for
Hizb'allah which rallied support the pro-Syrianstatusquo at that time. The Annual
BishopsDeclarationof September2005indirectly calledfor the disarmamentof Hizb'allah as
is
international
is
the
It
that
the
aware
of
climate
patriarch
clear
a constitutionalrequirement.
United
Nations
Western
from
the
that the remit of
the
states
and
constant
calls
powerful
and
the LebaneseArmy shouldextendto the entirestateandconsequently,result in the
disarmamentof any remainingmilitias. Again, this illustratesthat the political strategy
pursuedby the patriarchis highly dependenton the political situationencounteredat a
specifictime.

194

On economicissues,PatriarchSfeir hasbeenscathingaboutthe inability of successive


governmentsto solvethe severeeconomicproblemsfacing the country. In the July 2004
Communiqu&,he stated,"Officials do not seemconcernedwith the lack ofjob opportunities,
exorbitanttaxes,the corruptionspreadin themobile (phone)andelectricity sectors,the
54
debts".
The patriarchhasgiven his
endlesssquandering,chaosin public departments
and
supportto variousstrikesandconsistentlyspokenout for workers' rights, economicjustice
andtackling the crippling nationaldebt. He stressesthat it is the responsibilityof the
governmentto combattheseissuesespeciallyunemployment-a major factor for emigration.
"Lebanonsinksday after day in the oceanof excessivedebts,while his active forcesemigrate
55
abroad,maybeneverto return".
Oneof the major criticismsof the Sinioragovernmenthasbeenthe lack of tangible
improvementsin everydaylife of the Lebanese.Although the constantsecurityfearshave
heightenedthis challenge,the patriarchbelievesthat economicsecurityis vital to ensuringthe
stability of the country. It is evidentthat the concernof the patriarchregardingthe impact of
the economiccrisis on ordinarycitizensextendsto Lebanesefrom all communities- not just
Maronites. Indeed,almostall of the issuesraisedby the patriarch,particularly those
concernedwith daily life, arestatedon behalfof all Lebanese. As an example,the Final
Communiqu6of the Maronite Synodin 2003assertedthat "the invitation of the Churchto
embracethe valuesof participationandliberty in orderto restoreto Lebanonall the
56
its
independence
decision
is
to
componentsof sovereignty,
andautonomyof
addressed all,,.
Throughoutthesemany declarationson significantissuesin Lebanesepolitical affairs, the
bishopshavebeeneagerto clarify that their vision of a sovereignLebanonis oneof national
unity andreconciliationwhereall Lebaneseregardlessof their sectcan enjoy equal
participation,representationanda decentstandardof living. Regardingnational
that terrible actswerecommittedby some
reconciliation,the hierarchyacknowledges

195

Maronites during the civil war, just as occurred in other communities but urges all groups to
look to the future together. "It is time for us to be conscious of and learn from our mistakes,
57
it
disintegrates".
many
before
for
to unite in order to seek the right solutions
our country
Lebanon
Church
Maronite
have
been
the
that
as a
perceives
made
stressing
public statements
living example of Christian-Muslim dialogue and coexistence. "Lebanon is the nation of
58
Christian
Islamic
it
is
freedoms and of religious diversity
the country of
coexistence".
and
...
Similarly, "Even if there have been ups and downs in the history of relations between
Christians and Muslims, Lebanon can and must be an example of how well Muslims and
Christians can live together". 59 The patriarch clearly believes that conviviality has always
intervention
in
Lebanon
receded.
outside
once
and would continue
existed
The new government formed in July 2005 was welcomed by the patriarch as a first step
towards national reconciliation. Its multiparty formation was perceived as positive as
first
including
for
in
the
the
different
cabinet,
groups participated
representativesof many
time, a ministerial portfolio for Hizb'allah.

One of its first steps added to this favourablc

impression - the release of several detaineesincluding Samir Geagea. However, relatively


little progress has been made in the following months and consequently, the patriarch made
clear his concern at the spreadof sectarianismonce more.
Personal reconciliatory initiatives of the patriarch include an extremely symbolic visit - the
first of a Maronite patriarch for 200 years - to the Chouf area, the sceneof Christian-Druze
including
1860
Massacres
Lebanon,
Mount
the
history
in
times
the
of
recent
conflict several
60
depopulated
Christians.
While
left
the
War
of
1983
Mountain
almost
area
which
and the
before
be
from
first
it
the
he
that
soul
abolished
must
deconfessionalism,
states
not against
issue
important
for
Christians.
is
This
deconfessionalism
an extremely
occurs.
political
(i.
East
in
Middle
Christians
believe
countries
e. with an
Christians
that
Many Lebanese
other
the
full
do
under
rights
and
political
Muslim
equality
enjoy
not
majority)
overwhelming

196

different governing systems. Desperateto retain their active participation in the Lebanese
state, they are against any changeswhich would hinder their position.
To gain Christian support for deconfessionalism,the Lebaneseauthorities would have to
implement a widespread secularization processin an attempt to confine religious identity to
the private sphere only. Considering the history of the Lebanesestate and the general failure
of the secularization process in the Middle East to replicate its successin the West in
relegating religion to the private sphere,this would appearto be an unlikely development.
Without this process, Christians would regard the abolition of the confessional system as
influence
decisions
to
them
the
that
significantly
on Lebanese
removing
allow
safeguards
national affairs. Instead, the Muslim majority population would be able to exercise political
power without any institutionaliscd measuresto ensure consultation with other groups.
Patriarch Sfeir is also clearly aware of the xegional environment that is the reality for the
Maronite community. He has repeatedly condemned frequent violence in the Holy Land and
Iraq. The patriarch reiterated the anti-war stanceof the Pope regarding Iraq. This reflects
the attentivenessof the patriarch to Christian fears that Middle East Christians could become
in
Land
Iraq.
Holy
due
the
Muslim
the
to
cycle
of
violence
and
continual
at
anger
scapegoats
Instead, the patriarch has stressedthat the unity between the different communities illustrates
that a clash of cultures or religions does not exist in Lebanon but instead all can live together
61
peacefully.
The political activities of the patriarch are not solely restricted to issuing public statements.
He has also used his position to tackle a long-running problem amongst the Christian
in
Taif
lack
the
Asa
the
to
political
representation
genuine
of
response
community- unity.
Qomet
Shehwan
Gathering).
(The
helped
called
the
create a political grouping
era,
patriarch
This group is named after the monastery where it held its first meeting in April 2001. The
impetus for its formation came from the 2000 communiqu6 calling for the withdrawal of

197

Syrian troops. As the September2001 statementnoted, "The knots in the tongues were
62
Deploring
began
to voice their convictions, albeit with caution" .
untied, and people
Maronite disunity that had harmed the community so greatly especially during the last years
of the civil war, the patriarch was eager to encouragethe opposition to unite not just within
Maronite and Christian circles but also to expand to include other communities. As the
leader of the entire Maronite community, Patriarch Sfeir could not be associatedexclusively
with one faction. Instead, a bishop was initially chosento chair the group and acted as the
representativeof the patriarch.
While the patriarch played an instrumental role in creating the conditions for the
"patriarch's
the
Qornet
Shehwan,
the
was
not
perceived
as
political
group
establishment of
involved
in
is
being
Instead,
in
the
the
the
actively
politics.
opposite
party"
patriarch
senseof
true. Qornet Shchwan was formed to take the ideas of the hierarchy into the political arena
in
be
directly
involved
its
believes
the
because
cannot
the
representatives
precisely
church
lost
hierarchy
ideas
Once
the
the
their
political
process,
entered
actual political system.
into
fit
by
the
the
to
because
politicians
political
them
they
adapted
often
were
control of
Christian
leaders
that
they
the
Furthermore,
the
are
against
community
state
church
reality.
forming one monolithic political bloC.63 Firstly, this would encouragefurther division in
Lebanon along confessional lines and hinder attempts to develop cross-communal alliances.
Secondly, they also believe that the Christian community, like all groups, has diverse views
is
be
heard.
They
be
that
this
to
the
that
these
stress
one of the
opportunity
and
should
given
Qornet
Shehwan
is
The
to
democratic
features
of
role
enable
system.
political
main
a
of
different political movements and individuals to work together to express common principles.
Qornet Shehwan can be categorised as an umbrella group of various politicians rather than a
in
former
from
Its
participants
pro-Syrian
vary
members
cohesive organised political party.
governments, those who adopted a policy of soft criticism and others who were more

198

aggressivein their criticism of Syrian influence in Lebanon. It appearsthat the only issue
which united them was what they stood against - the Syrian presence. Even their means to
oppose this differed greatly. Consequently, Qomet Shehwan cannot be viewed as an
alternative government but instead a loose coalition of individuals. While the group includes
non-Maronites, there has been little successin reaching out to Muslim politicians.
The record of Qomet Shehwan can be regarded as mixed. It has been successful in gaining
publicity and making its views known - probably benefiting from its association with the
patriarchate. However, it has also been beset with internal divisions. Their poor results in
the 2004 municipal elections exposeddisunity as they failed to organise effective alliances
Furthermore,
to
their
thus
as
a
appeal
national
opposition.
ability
with other groups,
affecting
has
been
Qomet
Shehwan
between
tested. Qomet
the
also
and
co-ordination
patriarch
Shehwan regarded the 2002 Metn by-election as an opportunity to confront the regime.
Hence, they chose to support one of their members Gabriel Murr. The situation became
extremely tense as he was running against the daughter of one of the most pro-Syrian
be
his
happened
brother.
Hence,
Patriarch
to
Minister,
former
Interior
the
who
politicians,
Sfeir regarded the contest as a family feud and acceptedthe compromise candidate for the
disputed Greek Orthodox seat- the nephew of the deceasedincumbent.64 The successof
Gabriel Murr, although short-lived, illustrated not only the strength of support Qomet
Shehwan could attract when united, but also highlighted that the patriarch could not exercise
temporal authority in the same manner as enjoyed by his predecessors. His wish to field only
Qomet
Shehwan.
By
2004,
by
there
of
members
most
one candidate was not respected
Qomet
The
Shehwan.
between
Bkerke
have
been
and
to
a rapprochement
appeared
Lahoud
Emile
the
to
allowed
group
unite with
the
of
mandate
extension of
presidential
Bkerke in their opposition to this development. Qomet Shehwan statementsand meetings

199

were co-ordinatedwith PatriarchSfeir suchasthe decisionnot to join the cabinetunless


substantialreformswere undertaken.
The political developmentswhich occurredthroughout2005 are likely to havea lasting
impact on QornetShehwan. Many individual membersof the groupingallied with the
oppositionled by Hariri andJumblatt. The resultsweremixed. GibranTueni andNayla
Mouawadwere successfullyelected(the latterappointedSocialAffairs Minister) but Nassib
LahoudandFaresSoueidwereboth defeated.The patriarchappearsextremelypragmatic
aboutthe future of the group. This makessenseif oneremembersthe circumstanceswhen it
be
filled.
desperately
to
formed.
A
needed
was
political vacuum
With the changedsituationanda new vibrant oppositionaswell asAoun's FreePatriotic
Movement,this was no longerthe case. Instead,it washopedthat therewould be an
Christian
political circles- one of the main
of
to
outside
opportunity expandco-operation
aims of Bkerke. Previously,effortsweremadeto establishrelationswith othergroupsand
individuals that opposedthe constitutionalamendmentandthesehavebeenintensified.
However,it is clearthat therearestill substantialdifferenceswithin the different elements
Qornet
Shehwan
Consequently,
hinders
the
their
case
of
showsthat
which
progress.
PatriarchSfeir, while keento usehis influenceto assistoppositionmembersto maximisetheir
become
is
he
that
adamant
equally
will
not
regime,
efforts againstan unaccountable
he
believes
he
better
In
in
that
involved
this
servenot
way,
can
politics.
party
personally
justification
for
but
This
Lebanese.
interests
his
the political
the
all
own community
only
of
Maronite
from
Patriarch
the
tradition
the
of
exercising
role examinedaboveclearly stems
these
to
is
the
to
It
response
activities.
examine
now essential
civil authority.

200

The Responseto the Political Role of Patriarch Sfeir

In publicising their views on national matters, the Maronite hierarchy is aware that they are
open to criticism. As has been seen,the use of the Council of Bishops to relay these opinions
to the public indicates collective responsibility among the clergy. However, they accept that
naturally, "The Patriarch is the reference point of the Church, its father and its head".65 Thus,
the patriarch statesthat his role as head and father of the community means that he must
defend his people. Like all spiritual chiefs, he is obliged to take positions on issues such as
freedom, justice and human rights.

66

The 2003 Final Communiqu6 of the Maronite Synod

also outlines the role the church perceives for itself

"The Church position is but a reminder

of the rights of human beings and their dignity; a defense of freedoms and a warning against
67
independence
free
for
homeland".
the
selfish passions; a call
and
choice of the
sovereignty,
Patriarch Sfeir also defends his right to speak out on issuesconcerning Lebanon as his
patriotic duty and denied any external interference in these positions. In answer to
accusationsthat he is acting on behalf of foreign interests, he statesthat, 'Tcoplc say one day
it is Rome, the next that it's the United States,or even Israel behind our statement,but we
don't need anyone's permission not even the president's - to expressour opinion on the
future of the country" 68
.
In general, the responseof the Maronite community and some other Christians, has been
favourable towards this proactive church role. The majority accept that due to the absenceof
genuine representative Christian civil leaders,the patriarch is attempting to fill this vacuum.
The fact that Patriarch Sfeir evidently has few personal political ambitions also attributes to
their willingness to accept his involvement. The patriarch insists on providing general
principles only rather than intricate detailed programmes. One Qornet Shehwan member

201

described this as giving the "headlines" of the problems facing Lebanon and how they should
be resolved 69 He is also perceived as one of the few Lebanese figures whose political
.
discourse has been consistent in the post-war era, always calling for the full implementation
of the Taif Accord. Furthermore, the history of the Maronite Church ensuresthat in times of
crisis, the community expects the patriarch to defend their rights. Consequently, people treat
him as an influential figure by telling him their grievances in expectation of finding a
solution, handing over petitions to him and holding rallies at Bkerke. The extent of support
that the patriarch attracts is illustrated by the large turnout of followers (numbering into
thousands) during patriarchal visits or on his return from trips abroad. Few other Christian
leaders could muster such support. A press releaseby the International Maronite Foundation
provides a concise summary of the general consensusamong the Maronite community
regarding the role of the patriarch.
"He has the moral duty to set forth his thoughts as well as the collective
thoughts of the bishops of his church on the circumstances and
inalienable
further
has
He
his
the
impact
that
right
people.
conditions
to speak out to redressconditions of wrong that he seesin his
jurisdiction.

This by no meanscontravenesthe national authority to


00

govern but sets out the opinion of the church' .

While it is true that few Maronites consider this political role of their church to be an ideal
leadership
is
in
Maronite
that
the
secular
a position to represent
situation, many accept
until
the community, a politically active church is the best option available. Christian opposition
by
Lebanese
that
the
stress
when
political
self-interest,
motivated
politicians, perhapspartly
hierarchy
functioning
fully
becomes
the
should return to concentrating on
more,
once
system
Aoun's
Free
Patriotic
Movement
One
duties.
the
groups
opposition
of
main
pastoral
Syrian
influence
during
but urged
influential
the
the
the
years
of
patriarch
role of
recognised

202

him to use his position wisely and to constantly denounce the situation in Lebanon."

Yet

others feel that Patriarch Sfeir should be less politically active becausethey are against the
involvement of any religious officials - whether Christian or Muslim - in the political system.
This argument is particularly used by some politicians who are distrustful of the participation
of Hizb'allah (an Islamist party which has several members of the ulema as party activists and
leaders) in the electoral system. They fear that the political role of the Maronite patriarch is
72
involvement
in
direct
justify
their
political parties.
used by groups such as Hizb'allah to
The reaction of other communities has mostly been favourable. As has been seen,the
Maronite patriarchate has generally been well-respected - some even go so far as to call the
head of the Maronite church the Patriarch of Lebanon. Thus, Patriarch Sfeir hears the
73
As
but
just
Maronites
of
other
communities.
many of the
members
also
grievances of not
benefiting
Lebanese,
by
all
as
especially concerning
the
taken
stances
patriarch are regarded
his
The
defuse
helps
to
conflict
over
role.
absenceof
this
confessional
economic matters,
his
in
disregarded
by
factor
is
that
language
views
ensuring
are
not
another
emotive sectarian
desires
independent
he
is
that
to
It
a
sovereign
and
all
clear
other confessional groups.
Lebanon. Unlike many Christian political leaders,he is able to articulate these views without
necessarily being perceived as anti-Syrian or anti-Arab.
However, the communiqu6s calling for the withdrawal of the Syrian presencedid result in a
predictable inflammatory responseand the polarization of public opinion along confessional
lines. Several influential ulema (Muslim clerics) warned of the danger in blaming Syria for
74
Lebanon.
Ajoint
Lebanon's problems stressingthat Syria guaranteedthe security of
Qabalan
Council
Sheikh
Abdel-Amir
Shiite
Higher
President
by
Vice
the
and
of
statement the
Sunni Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, expressedtheir surprise at the
declaration and emphasisedthe sacrifices that Syria had made to ensure the survival of
Lebanon.75 At the time, Sheikh HassanNasrallah, Secretary-Generalof Hizb'allah, stressed

203

that the Lebanesepeoplemuststopholdingoutsidersresponsiblefor the situationin Lebanon


andinsteadacceptthat a sectarianproblemexistsin the country. He added,"Thosewho are
76
Syria
leave
Lebanon".
This reaction
to
asking
only representthemselvesandnot all of
reflectsthe widely held fearby Muslims thatwithout the Syrianintervention,Lebanese
ChristiansespeciallyMaroniteswould revertto their political predominanceof the pre civil
war era. According to Moubayed,"To Lebanon'sMuslim religiousandpolitical leaders,the
only balancingforce keepingthe Christiansat bay andpreventingthem from subordinating
Muslims was the Syrians".77 Although therewas not a widespreadfurore over the September
2005 statementthat indirectly calledfor Hizb'allah to disarm,someIslamic leadersdid offer a
similar response. At a pressconference,SheikhAfif Naboulsi,the presidentof JabelAmel
Scholars'Committeedecriedthe proposalfor its "dangeroussectarianstrand"andurgedthe
78
its
in
defence
bishopsto join the resistancemovement
of the country. In general,such
divide
issues
the communities.
limited
to
the
which
reactionsare
core
While the patriarchenjoyscordialrelationswith the religiousrepresentatives
of other
include
issues
to
it
difficult
these
has
that
to
co-operation
on
extend
communities,
proven
arousemore controversysuchasthe Syrianpresence. The religious leadersdid share
concernaboutthe constitutionalamendmentto extendthe mandateof PresidentLahoud. One
day after PatriarchSfeir denouncedthe extensionduring his Sundayscrmon,SheikhsQabalan
Constitution
"to
in
the
Qabbani
the
respect
need
with regardto
urged
and
ajoint statement,
79
issue".
Although the absenceof one statementfrom
the presidentialelectionsor any other
in
difficulties
it
is
illustrates
leaders
the
the
reaching
an
acceptable
consensus,
all
religious
figures
different
between
the
andthus,undercertain
that
still clear
respectexists
in
Yet,
developments
Lebanon
it
be
to
a
response.
co-ordinate
circumstances, may possible
illustrate
identity
has
to
that
Hariri
confessional
the
appear
would
since assassination
of

204

increased at the expenseof efforts towards national reconciliation, thus damaging attempts at
co-operation between the main religious leaders.
In general, the government response(up to February 2005) to the political activities of
Patriarch Sfeir was a combination of countermoves, exploiting divisions and working towards
improving relations with Bkerke. Reacting to the communiqu6s regarding the Syrian
withdrawal, President Lahoud accusedthe bishops of provoking "confessional, sectarian
instincts which do not serve the nation's highest interests".80 The Maronites were also
reminded by pro-Syrian figures that Syria had actually entered Lebanon in 1976 to save the
Christians.81 Reconciliation initiatives between the Lebanesecommunities were obstructed
immediately
Christian
150
than
the
opposition
activists,
mostly
such as
arrest of more
following the visit of the patriarch to the Chouf 82 The government tried to exploit divisions
within the opposition by advocating good relations with Bkerke while targeting activists from
Patriotic
Movement.
Free
Thus,
Forces
the
Lebanese
the
some prisoners
and
groups such as
were releasedfrom Syrian jails in December 2000 as the result of mediation by the Speaker of
83
hierarchy.
Parliament Nabih Berri, in an effort to appeasethe
The recognised influence and importance of the patriarchate ensuredthat government
figures endeavouredto get close to the hierarchy in order to gain credibility and popularity.
Thus, the patriarch was "consulted" by the authorities, in the sensethat he was often one of
the first figures to be informed of major decisions. In particular, meetings between the
increased
during
times of crisis.
ministers
patriarch and government

For example, during

Easter 2004, Patriarch Sfeir received separatevisits from President Lahoud and Prime
Minister Hariri

84

This can be seenin the context of the debate regarding the presidential

According
Star,
2004.
771e
Daily
"Both
November
for
to
elections which were scheduled
figure
ties
that
such
an
close
with
eminent
national
and a
maintaining
men seemedconvinced
prominent Christian authority - who furthermore enjoys the support and respect of Damascus

205

be
beneficial
images
legitimacy
for
to
their
could
only
their
own
and
would
provide
more
85
political stands". This rapprochement,especially between Bkerke and Damascus, can be
understood in the context of increasingly tense United States-Syrian relations at this time.
Analysts suggestedthat the Syrian government was keen to maintain favourable relations with
Bkerke becausethe patriarch was perceived as one of the few leaders who could dampen antiSyrian rhetoric among some LebaneseChristians. For example, The Daily Star suggested
that by February 2004, such meetings were used by Damascus to illustrate that "this particular
sword of theirs had been temporarily changedinto a ploughshare in appreciation for the
patriarch's understanding in recent months while Syria faced the discomfort of US forces on
its border". 86
Certainly, in early 2004, there were fewer calls for Lebanesesovereignty in some
detail
in
in
Chapter
Six,
kept
be
As
the
greater
patriarch
also
explored
communiqu6s.
will
his distance from opposition groups which successfully lobbied the United States Congress to
Sovereignty
Restoration Act. One part of this
Lebanese
Syrian
Accountability
the
and
pass
law related to the Syrian presencein Lebanon calling for an immediate withdrawal to allow
the Lebaneseto recover their sovereignty and independence. While this aim was supported
by many Lebanese(not just Christians), few residing in Lebanon were willing to openly voice
their support as they were aware of the hostility towards US policies in the region. Support
for measureswhich involve foreign intervention could have been interpreted by some
Lebaneseas an indication of the lack of Christian loyalty to the country. Due to the
fragmented Lebanesesociety, there is always danger that any deterioration in communal
illustrates
that the overriding concern of the
Again,
lead
this
to
relations could
unrest.
his
for
dealing
his
is
that
strategies
the
with the state are
and
community
of
security
patriarch
dependenton the political climate. However, the hierarchy were quick to assertthat they had

206

not retreatedfrom their key demandsbut wereawareof the currentsituationandthus


recognisedthe needto prioritise certainissuessuchaspreservingnationalunity.
Significant governmentconcessions
to thepatriarchincludedpartial troop redeployments
andthe decisionto revokea contentious1996naturalizationdecree. This had grantedmass
citizenshipto over 300,000peoplewithout individual investigationsaswould normally be
expected. Christianshad beenparticularlyoutragedasthe majority were Muslims of Syrian
87
Palestinian
or
origin. As the Lebanesepolitical systemis theoreticallybasedon numerical
representationof eachgroup,any futurechangeswould takeinto accountthis significant
growth in the Muslim population. Already awarethat their proportionof the overall
Lebanesepopulationwas declining,the Christiancommunityhadcampaignedto havethese
decisionsreassessed.
The views of the patriarchwerealsotakeninto considerationconcerningthe decisionto
has
been
As
Patriarch
Sfeir
Lahoud.
President
the
seen,
condemnedany
extend mandateof
However,
this
the authoritiesuseda
to
to
the
aim.
achieve
attempt amend constitution
bishops.
Maronite
Firstly, a simplethree
the
the
tactics
to
of
combinationof
quieten reaction
in
than
constitutional
any
permanent
an effort to
changes,
year extensionwas chosenrather
appeasePatriarchSfeir. Anothertroop redeploymentin September2004 after UNSCR 1559
waspassed,can alsobe regardedasa cosmeticresponseto both internal andexternal
demandsfor the withdrawalof the Syrianmilitary. Secondly,the governmenttried to divide
the oppositioncentringon ChristiangroupsandWalid Jumblatt. Many governmentfigures
aswell asthe Presidentof Syria,Bashiral-Assadstressedthe massacreof the Christiansin
the Chouf in 1982at the handsof Jumblatt'sforces. This selectiveuseof the pastcanbe
98
divided
lines.
alongconfessional
perceivedasan attemptto keepthe Lebanesepeople
Similarly, Christianswerealsowarnedaboutrelying on the West for supportthrough
Resolution1559,citing the failure of Westerninterventionto cometo their aid during the

207

civil war. Finally, the question of abolishing political sectarianism was raised again. As
Christians perceive that this would lead to the loss of their remaining political power, this
threat has been routinely used to halt overt Christian opposition to the political situation in
Lebanon.
The extension of the presidential mandate clearly dampened the apparent rapprochement
between Bkerke and Damascus and once more led to a change of political strategies by both
the patriarch and the government.

From January 2005 until the withdrawal

of Syrian troops

in April, there were periodic verbal attacks on the patriarch from groups which were regarded
as pro-Syrian.

An anonymous electioneering leaflet was distributed in the southern suburbs

of Beirut as well as Jbeil and Kesrouan praising the role of al-Assad, Lahoud and Hizb'allah
Shehwan
Qomet
to
the
candidates.
reject
and warning
people

One notable line stated that

"Conspiracies are being cooked in the kitchen of the Qomet Shchwan Gathering by their
leader Patriarch Sfeif" while the leaflet later accused anyone associated with Qomct Shchwan
89
in
first
direct
Similarly,
being
the
American/Israeli
the patriarch, a
attack
on
agent
of
an
.

in
before
February,
in
Lebanon
from
the assassinationof
Ba'th
Party
shortly
the
statement
Hariri, claimed that Patriarch Sfeir took "direct orders from the French and American
90
embassies". These accusationswere used in a desperateattempt to prevent the notoriously
divided anti-Syrian opposition overcoming their mutual suspicions. By questioning the
loyalty of the patriarch, this was calculated to reopen traditional Muslim fears that Lebanese
Christians would seek foreign intervention to securetheir predominance at the expenseof
Muslim political participation as has occurred several times in the past.
Consequently, these measuresdemonstratethe extent of recognition given by both
influence
in
Maronite
to
the
as
a
significant
patriarch
position of
supporters and critics
Lebanesenational affairs. This has continued under the new Lebanesegovernment.
Throughout the crucial developmentsof 2005, the patriarch has been visited by many political

208

actorsandkept informedof events. For example,on his return from abroad,SaadHariri met
with the patriarch. Politiciansof all persuasionsstill flock to be seenat Bkerke. While the
patriarchis naturally associatedwith the anti-Syrianopposition,to a certainextent,he has
tried to project the imageof beinga nationalleaderandthe voice of the peopleratherthan
representinga particulargroup. Thus,the patriarchateis opento all representatives
of the
Lebanesepeople. Similarly, the patriarchrefutesaccusationsthat dueto his political views,
he disenfranchises
a sectionof the Maronitecommunitywhich identifiesitself with a proSyrianposition. It is clearfrom this discussionthat regardlessof the sometimeshostile
reactionto his involvementin nationalaffairs,the patriarchbelievesthat it is his duty to
provide guidancenotjust for Maronitesbut all Lebanese. However,the strategiespursuedby
the patriarchto achievethis do appearto differ accordingto the changesin the Lebanese
political scene.

The Consequencesof the Political Role of the Patriarch and Future Prospects

This thesishasattemptedto demonstrate


that during the patriarchyof NasrallahSfeir, the
Maronite Churchhasrediscoveredits political dimension. The crisis of stateenvironment
which hasheightenedMaronitefeelingsof vulnerability hasallowedthe patriarchto fill this
leadershipvacuum. However,this hasnot beento the sameextentasoccurredin the past.
The churchhascertainlybeenvocal andpublicisesits position on mattersthat affect the
have
in
by
the
The
changed
patriarch
the
responseto the
methodsused
churchand country.
volatile political situation. In the immediateyearsafter the civil war, neitherthe church,
communityor countrywerein a positionto risk mountinga severechallengeto the status
desire
forces
the
Israeli
to recoverthe
By
2000,
the
with
combined
quo.
withdrawalof
independence
of the country,allowedthe patriarchto representthe significantproportionof

209

Lebanesewho wished to seesubstantial changes. Aware that there were relatively few
immediate threats to the security of the Christian community at this time, the demands in the
communiqu6s became more blunt towards the Syrian presence. These were tempered during
2004 when deteriorating relations between the United Statesand Syria led the church leaders
to believe that more would be gained by demonstrating their independencefrom unpopular
Western policies. However, recognising that the Western powers were intent on forcing
Syria to reconsider its involvement in Lebaneseaffairs, the political strategy of the Maronite
church once more focused on securing independence.
Yet regardless of the different approachesfollowed by the church, the announcementshave
had little impact on the realities of the Lebanesepolitical situation. The redeployment of
some Syrian troops from 2001 onwards can be viewed as a concession to the demandsof the
patriarch. Further measureswere rare and can be considered rewards for good behaviour. It
took renewed international interest in the Syrian presencein Lebanon and the momentous
force
Hariri
by
to
the withdrawal of Syrian troops and offer
the
events started
assassinationof
the Lebanese another opportunity to regain sovereignty. While Patriarch Sfeir can certainly
take credit for remaining an often lonely voice in the wilderness calling for the recovery of
independence,it is clear that his role was restricted to rhetoric rather than action. Yet, this
his
his
Sfeir
Reliant
highlights
Patriarch
to
that
the
ascribes
offlice.
on
moral
actually
role
issue
draw
to
Sfeir
Patriarch
a
specific
attention
and reiterate his
authority alone,
can only
demands. Lacking the ability and willingness to force the government and others to fulfil his
demands,the patriarch will continue to be a spokespersonfor the Lebaneserather than a
his
interprets
leader
Sfeir
is
Patriarch
It
that
role
as
of the community
political activist.
clear
leaders
fill
he
the
that
until
credible
civil
vacuum
emerge.
political
present
as meaning
must
Thus, the patriarchate is unlikely to revert to the type of temporal authority enjoyed in the past
by his predecessors.

210

Furthermore,it is evidentthat the personalityof PatriarchSfeir hassignificantly affectedthe


role playedby the churchin thepost-Taifera. The patriarchis highly esteemedby many
Lebanese,especiallydueto his insistencethat he speaksout for the goodof all Lebanon
Muslim andChristian. It is widely held that the presentpatriarchhasusedhis position wiscly
andendeavouredto speakon behalfof all Lebanese,thusattemptingto preventany sectarian
backlashto the political involvementof Christianreligiousleaders. Consequently,the
characterof the eventualsuccessorto PatriarchSfeir will be a major factor in determiningnot
only the future role of the churchbut alsorelationsbetweenthe different communities. As
hasbeenseen,the Maronitepatriarchhasthepowerto mobilise the entirecommunity.
Although the ideasof the isolationistcurrentin the community,which supporteda smaller
Maronite state(eitherthroughseparationor federalism)were discreditedin the aftermathof
the civil war, this approachstill hassubstantialsupportamongsectionsof the Maronite
has
Sfeir
in
Patriarch
If
to
repeatedlydismissedany calls for
who
community.
contrast
in
Lebanese
together
to
shapingtheir state,a future patriarch
work
cantonizationandurgedall
is
danger
be
ideas,
that
the
isolationist
there
to
these
a
political
would
role
wasreceptive
interpretedassolely in the interestsof the Maronites,ratherthan for all Lebanese. This
would onceagainraisethe spectreof confessionalconflict, as eachgroupwould fccl the need
to protectits own position andinterests. An increasein political activismcould havea
increased
As
friction with the
impact
the
the
well
as
negative
country.
on
stability of
different confessions,the involvementof the Vaticanwould alsobe expected. As occurred
during the civil war, conflicting aimsbetweenthe MaronitecommunityandRomecould
facing
further
the
the
disunity
in
complicating
situation
the
cause
churchandcommunity,
Maronites. However,in generalthe Christianpopulationis unlikely to be supportiveof an
assertiveapproachthat could reawakenmutualantagonismsandendangercommunalrelations
asthe memoriesof the civil war arc still raw andthe likelihood of successslim.

211

The political role of the patriarchis likely to be affectedby the changesthat haveoccurred
in Lebanonafter February2005. The withdrawalof Syrian forcesanddeclineof its influence
seemedunlikely evenafter the UN Resolution1559waspassed. However,the processsetin
motion by Hariri's deathled to a rapid upheavalof the statusquo. This thesishasproposed
that PatriarchSfeir becamean outspokenfigure in Lebanesepolitics in order to fill the
leadershipvacuumleft vacantby the deepsplits amongstthe Maroniteelite. The 2005
parliamentaryelectionswerethe first in the Taif erawhich werenot held underSyrian
tutelage. This declinein Syrianinfluencewould be expectedto leadto the emergenceof
included
figures.
Christian
The
representatives
of different
otherpolitical
politicians
elected
factionssuchasthe LebaneseForces,FreePatrioticMovementandQornetShehwan. With
the return of Michel Aoun andthe releaseof SamirGeagea,the Christiancommunitynow has
two credibleleaderswho enjoypopularsupport,especiallyamongstMaronites. The success
of Aoun in the Mount Lebanondistrict at the expenseof the mainstreamChristianopposition
demonstratedthat he is regardedasthe voice of the Christianstreet. His insistencethat his
his
by
is
support
appealingto membersof
also
enlarge
party a non-sectariangroupingcould
is
It
based
on
communal
affiliation.
clearthat Aoun
solely
otherconfessionsweary of parties
Lahoud. After being
would be willing to presenthimself asa candidateto replace/succeed
has
from
Geagea
from
in
2005,
July
publicly
aloof
political events.
remained
released
prison
However,it is apparentthat he still enjoysa substantialfollowing andwould be expectedto
be a naturalrival to Aoun. The strengthof his supportwas illustratedin June2005when his
wife was electedto parliamentunopposed.
It would be expectedthat the reintroductionof thesepolitical actorswould impact
Maronites.
The
the
the
the
the
of
community
as
representative
patriarch
negativelyon
role of
leaving
leadership,
the churchto reflect on spiritual
"secular"
be
to
to
would able return
hostility
by
be
it
the patriarchas
If
with
greeted
this
affairs.
occurred, would not necessarily

212

on severaloccasions,PatriarchSfeir hasindicatedthat he is only attemptingto fill the


political vacuumleft by the collapseof civil leadershipratherthanclaiming permanent
temporalauthority. It is impossibleto predictfuture developmentsbut a few clarificationson
this ratheridealisticresponsecanbe made.
Firstly, while PatriarchSfeir hasstatedthat he hasno wish to be involved in the Lebanese
political system,it is clearthat he believesthat oneof his dutiesaspatriarchis to give
guidanceon both spiritual andcivil matters. Thus,it is unlikely that the political tone of the
bishops' statementswill change. Consequently,with the challengefrom crediblepoliticians,
this could developinto the re-emergence
of communaltensionbetweenthe churchand elite as
occurredin the past. Again, it would appearthat this is the normal situationwithin the
Maronite communitydueto the historic role of the patriarch. Secondly,populist Maronite
leadersmay havereturnedto the political arenabut so far, this doesnot seemto havehad an
adverseeffect on the patriarch. Instead,all actorshavecontinuedto consultthe patriarchand
recognisedhis role in remainingconstantto the belief that Lebanonshouldbe a fully
independentsovereignstate. Thepatriarchis clearly respectedas a figure who can help unite
variousfactions-a skill that is in greatneedto ensurethat Lebanonremainsa stableand
peacefulenvironment. Thirdly, manyof the figurespolitically active todaywereprominent
actorsin the civil war era. Bitter memoriesandlong-lastingfeudsare unlikely to be
forgotten. Thus,the return of Aoun andGeageacould actually intensify factionalismwithin
the Maronitecommunity. It is in this type of climatethat the patriarch'spolitical role can
Throughout
but
Lebanese.
his long reign ashead
just
for
Maronites
the
all
proveusefulnot
the ability to adjusthis view on the
of the Maronite Church,PatriarchSfeir hasdemonstrated
correctmeasuresto be takento furtherhis aimsaccordingto the political situation. Yet, hc
hasstill remainedtrue to his goal of resurrectinga sovereignLebanon. While the political
situationremainsunstableandthe securitysituationcontinuesto deteriorate,the crisis of state

213

conditions still exist and consequently in this enviromnent, the political role of the patriarch is
likely to remain constant.

summ4a

It is clearthat underPatriarchSfeir, the patriarchatehasbeenre-establishedasthe main


legitimaterepresentativeof the Maronitecommunityandalsoasa respectednational
institution. The traditional leadershiprole of the patriarchandthe significantpart playedby
the churchin Maronite identity providesthe legitimacyto pursuethis path. In timesof
hardship,it is naturalthat the communitywill turn to the patriarchfor leadership. The
patriarchyof NasrallahSfeir hasbeendeeplyaffectedby the conditionsin Lebanon. The
effectsof the conclusionof the civil war haveprovidedan environmentwherethe churchcan
of the community,enjoyingalmostexclusiveauthority.
maximiseits role asthe representative
However,this hasbeendevelopedaccordingto the vision of PatriarchSfeir. In rebuilding
the churchandthe community,he hasconcentrated
on threeaspects- spiritual, socialand
interdependent,
All
three
reinforcing the notion of the churchasthe
are
political renewal.
focal point for Maronitesconcerningall issues. The patriarchhasaddressedthe main
Maronite grievances- political participation,discrimination,securityandthe economy.
While the political role of the churchhasattractedthe most attention,the patriarchhas
followed a clearpolicy of defendingthe interestsof all Lebanese,whetherregarding
issues.
in
Thus,
the majority of cases,the
or economic
sovereignty,political representation
instead,
into
drifting
has
mutual
suspicions
to
and
often
these
avoided
response
activities
by
the
acknowledged concernsraised the patriarch.
In this casestudy,the involvementof a religiousleaderin nationalaffairs appearsto have
aidedintercommunalrelationsasthe patriarchhasshownhis sensitivityto the complex

214

concernsof eachcommunitywithout diluting his demandsfor a free andindependent


Lebanon. Yet, his position asa religiousleaderhasleft him opento attacksby other actors
who wish to manipulatethe fragile reconciliationprocessin Lebanonin orderto further their
own aims. Comparedto the situationof the Maronitechurchandcommunityin the late
1980s,a major achievementhasbeenthe ability of the patriarchto unite the Maronitesand act
asa rallying point. His ability to alter political strategiesaccordingto the changingpolitical
situationin Lebanonhasmeantthat to a certainextent,he hasremainedrepresentativeof the
dominantopinionsin the Maronitecommunitywithout greatly risking the securityof the
in
community. However,it is evidentthat the churchhasenjoyedfew actualsuccesses
attainingits goal.
PatriarchSfeir hasunderstoodthat thepolitical role of the headof the Maronite Churchin
contemporaryLebanonmustconcentrateon providing guidanceto the communityandthe
country at largeratherthan advocatingradicalmeasuresto achievetheseaims. As Vithany
advice,it is preciselythat - the giver cannotforce the questionerto act upon it. Although
PatriarchSfeir hastried to exerthis authorityover the community,following Maronite
tradition, this hasnot led to his dominationof the communityto the sameextentasother
religious leadershaveachievede.g. the Coptic OrthodoxPatriarch. Instead,thereis still a
generalconsensusamongstthe Maronitecommunitythat political representationshouldbe
performedby bodiesotherthan the church. Thus,the return of "secular"politicians could
reducethe impactof the patriarch'spronouncements.However,this political role will
fill
Maronite
leadership
to
if
the
emerge
actors
vacuum,
remainconstanteven otherpolitical
his
dual
head
duty
is
because
it
the
the
as
position
patriarch
as
of the
of
precisely
of
part
churchandthe people. To conclude,asthe figureheadof the community,reinforcedby
centuriesof civil leadership,the patriarchhasretainedhis traditionalpredominantrole but this
hasnot beentransformedinto credibletemporalauthorityasexercisedby previouspatriarchs.

215

CV of H.B. Cardinal Sfeir Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All The East
www. bkerke.or-q.lb/Sfeirl e.html
Raymond G Helmick, "Internal Lebanese Politics : The Lebanese Front and Forces" In Halim
Barakat (ed), Toward a Viable Lebanon (London, Croom Helm, 1988) p. 313
3 Jean-Pierre Valognes, Vie et Mort des Chretiens d'Orient (Paris, Fayard, 1994) p. 388
4 Ibid p. 397
Theodor Hanf, Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon (London, The Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1993)
p. 310
6 Valognes, Vie et Mort des Chretiens d'Orient p. 394
7 Ibid p. 398-9
8 Hanf, Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon p. 577
9 Farid el Khazen, Prospects for Lebanon : Lebanon's First Postwar Parliamentarv Election 1992
An Imposed Choice (Oxford, Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1998) p. 13
10 Valognes, Vie et Mort des Chretiens d'Orient p. 399
11 Charles Winslow, Lebanon: War and Politics in a Fragmented Society (London. Routledge, 1996)
p. 278

12 George Emile Iran!, The Papacy


and the Middle East (Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame

Press, 1986) p. 149

13 Ibid p. 118
14 Annie Laurent, "Le Dialogue Islamo-Chretien
au Liban a la Lumiere du Synode Special des
Eveques" in Marie-Therese Urvoy (ed), En Hommage au Pere Jacques Jomie (Paris, Editions du
Cerf, 2002) p. 311
Is Antoine Najm, "Envisioning a Formula for Living Together In Lebanon: In Light of the Apostolic
Exhortation" Journal of Maronite Studies 2(2) 1998
www. mari.orq/JMS/april98/Envisioninq a Formula.htm
16 Exhortation Apostolique Post-Synodale "Une Esperance Nouvelle pour le Liban" (Vatican, Librerla
Editrice Vaticana, 1997) p. 10
17 Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir Lent Message 2003
htm
maronitesvnod.
orq/Enalish/intro/l)at-letter.
www.
18 Interview with member of 2003 Maronite Synod, Beirut, April 2004
19 Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir Lent Message 2003

20 Final Communiqu6 of the First Session of the Patriarchal Synod 21 "t June 2003
htm
www. maronitesvnod. orq/Enqlish/sessionl/final-communique.
21 Ibid

22

Ibid
23The Daily Star "Lebanese monk among 6 granted sainthood" 17thMay 2004
24Ea-baki,"The Christian Communities and the Economic and Social Situation In Lebanon" p. 253
25Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir Lent Message 2003,
26Khazen, Prospects for Lebanon : Lebanon's First Postwar Parliamentary Election 1992 0.13
27Communiqu6 September 2000
httr)://www.geocities.com/Cal)itolHill/Parliament/2587/declaration.html
28Middle East International " Paths to Dialogue" 13'nOctober 2000 p. 15-16
Communiqu6 September 2001
enq.html
www. bkerke.or.q.lb/commsei)t2OO1
6uMiddle East Times "Maronite-Shilte divide over Syrian presence In Lebanon 13thOctober 2000
31 Communiqu6 September 2001
32Communiqu6 October 2002
www. bkerke.orq.lb/commoct2002enq.htmI
.
The Daily Star, "Sfeir blames Syria for problems" 6thMay 2004

34 Middle East Times "Maronite Patriarch calls on Syria to respect Lebanese sovereignty" 23d June
2000
1hAugust2004
35The Daily Star, "Harid holds talks
Sfeir
in
Diman"25
with
36 : Fh-e
Daily Star, "Sfeir concerned about international consequences of Lahoud's extension"
-Ur-September 2004
37The Dailv Sta "Chirac tells Sfeir France committed to 1559" 29th January 2005

,
.. The DailV Star, "Lahoud praises Hariri as Lebanese call for Syria to leave" 17'hFebruary 2005
39Communiqu6 September 2000

216

40The Daily Star, "Maronite Bishops lash


th
Rigged
"inevitable4
November 2004
out:
elections
41The D'aily Star, "The Maronite Statement in Full" 12thMay 2005
4" The Daily Star, "Lebanese opposition calls for resignation of security chiefs" 3rd March 2005
43
ailv Star, "Annual Maronite Bishops Declaration" 8"' September 2005
44The D'ailVStar, "Sfeir
uncommitted to ousting Lahoud from office"2 ndNovember 2005
40The Daily Star, "Maronite Bishops' Council criticizes political bickering" 4thAugust 2005
46The Daily Star, "FPM victory scores leadership
positions of 21-seat parliamentary bloc" 14thJune
2005

47The Daily Star, "Maronite Bishops Council" 2ndJune 2005


48
uniqu6 May 2003

www. bkerke.orq.lb/commmay2003.enq.htmI
4'The Daily Star"After 10 years in jail, Geagea's supporters demand a full pardon" 22ndApril 2004
50
uniqu6 October 2002
51Communiqu6 June 2000
www. bkerke.orq.lb/commiuneenq.htmI
Communiqu6 February 2004
www. bkerke.orq.lb/commfeb2004enq.htmI
"'The DailV Star "Sfeir: Hizb'allah should stop rallies and Join political life" 14thMarch 2005
54The Daily Star "Bishop's Council: Elections not in Lebanese hands" e August 2004
Communiqu6 September 2002
www. bkerke.orq.fb/api)eal3.html
00Final Communiclu6 of the First Session of the Patriarchal Svnod 21't June 2003
57
uniqu6 September 2000
N The Daily Star "Crowds greet Lahoud on route to Diman" 2ndAugust2004
59
East Times "Maronite-Shiite divide over Syrian presence In Lebanon* 13thOctober 2000
60Kfid-dieEast Times "Lebanon patriarch urges national reconciliation" 10thAugust2001
61Communiqu6 March 2003
www. bkerke.orq.lb/commmarenq.htmI
Communiqud September 2001
63Interviews with members of the Maronite hierarchy, Lebanon, April 2004
64Middle East International "Byzantine Politics" 31't May 2002
65Final Communiclu6 of the First Session of the Patriarchal Synod 21't June 2003
"t' Interview, Patriarch Sfeir, Beirut April 2004
67Final Communiqu6 of the First Session of the Patriarchal Synod 21't June 2003
th
68 Middle East Times "Maronite-Shiite divide over Syrian presence in Lebanon" 13 October 2000
Interview with member of Qornet Shehwan, Beirut, April 2004
70International Maronite Foundation Press Release 25t October 2001
th
January 2004
htm
4
011025.
www. maronet.orq/news/release
71The Daily Sta "Aoun condemns Harirl, says media is spreading false rumors" 17'hApril 2004
,
Interviews with Christian politicians, Beirut, Lebanon, March-April 2004
73Labaki, "The Christian Communities and the Economic and Social Situation In Lebanon" p. 232
74Middle East Times "Maronite-Shiite divide over Srlan presence In Lebanon" 13,h October 2000
75Middle East International, "Paths to Dialogue" 13' October 2000
'5 Sami Moubayed, "Lebanon dodges bullets of another civil war" Washington Report on Middle Eas
Affairs 20(4) 2001 p. 21
lbid p. 21
7'3The Daily Star, "Bishops indicate support for disarmament- 9thSeptember 2005
79The Daily Star, "Leaders weigh in after Sfeir opposes new mandate" 24thAugust2004
"u BBC News, "Syria hits back at Lebanese bishops" 22ndSeptember 2000
th
81
In
Lebanon*
October 2000
Syrian
13
divide
East Times "Maronite-Shiite
presence
over
82-6-BCNews, Lebanon rounds up Christian opposition.8 thAugust 2001
83Middle East International, "The disappeared" 22d December 2000
a4The Daily Star, "Sfeir is a popular man to visit at Easter time* 15thApril 2004
50[bid
86The Dailv Star, "End of reign" in Beirut?" 14th February 2004
87Th--eDa-ilyStar, "Murr announces revocation of citizenship of up to 4000" 2 I't April 2004
88The Daily Star, "Syria's mention of Lebanese civil war draws criticism* II thOctober 2004
"" The DailV Star, "Anti Maronite Patriarch leaflets distributed" 7thJanuary 2005

go-The Dailv Sta

"Lebanon's Baathists call patriarch Western agent" 5th February 2005

217

Chapter Six- The Implications

of Global Expansion on the

Political Role of the Patriarch

Introduction

A study of the contemporary Middle Eastern Christian communities has to take into account
the issue of migration and the impact this has had on the respective churches. Although the
church hierarchies have tried to prevent this trend as it negatively affects the community left
in the Middle East, they have also sought to reinforce their authority among the faithful in
their new places of residence. Due to this expansion, the churches in the Middle East can
now be perceived as global "universal" churches. This chapter commences with a general
homeland
host.
in
diaspora
the
the
to
and
model of
relation
activity
The discussion turns to the validity of religious diasporas arguing that the theories
into
insight
Firstly,
the
the
in
Chapter
One
role
of
church
abroad.
encountered
can provide
the fruits of the globalization process,namely communications technology and transport
advanceshave allowed the church hierarchy in the Middle East to retain close links with the
is
distance
in
diaspora,
that
the
no longer an impediment to church
communities
proving
authority. Secondly, as the migrants are leaving a society where religion retains social and
political influence, it is likely that they will try to replicate these relations. Thirdly, aspects
leaders
bridge
between the
that
the
can
act
thesis
as
a
church
of
suggest
secularization
traditional culture of migrants and their new society. Religious institutions are usually one of
the first communal groups to be establishedand help the newcomers to settle into a different
influence
is
has
likely to decline. Finally,
integration
this
However,
occurred,
country.
once
in
if
the new countries remains the
that
the
church
a rational choice approach would presume
actor best placed to provide the services required by migrants, it will survive challenges to its

218

position. Consequently,the role of the Coptic Orthodoxand the Maronitechurchesin the


diaspora,will be examinedin the abovecontext. After outlining the churchresponseto
emigration,the discussionwill then focuson the expansionof the churchesand the role taken
by the hierarchies,especiallythe patriarchs. The additionalchallengesfacing the church
leadershipwill alsobe examinedincludingthe activitiesof 6migr6groupsand the complex
issueof communalidentity.

A Theoretical Framework of the Diaspora

The Historical Formationof the Diao-Ora

The term diaspora comes from the Greek diaspeiro meaning to sow or scatter from one end
1
toanother. Historically, it related to three distinct groups -the Jews, Greeks and
Armenians. Recently, there has been substantial interest in the notion of diaspora. Esman
has
from
to
"generalized
to
has
been
any
population
migrated
which
that
term
refer
the
states
its country of origin and settled in a foreign land, but maintains its continuity as a
distinguishing
diaspora
from other groups such
92
This
a
when
community'.
causesconfusion
it
diaspora,
be
In
to
a
would
expected that the
as
qualify
order
as expatriate communities.
influence
host
large
the
to
be
society. There has
potentially
enough
group must
significantly
been difficulty in reaching consensusconcerning the criteria neededto be rightfully
basic
be
three
Van
Hear
diaspora.
requirements
must
met; the
suggests
categorised as a
is
lands,
there
homeland
from
to
is
dispersed
a continual presenceabroad
the
other
population
3
Safran
dispersed
is
between
the
adds that the group
there
populations.
and
an exchange
desire
belief
A
homeland
that
the
an
eventual
return.
and
must retain a collective memory of
4
feelings
of alienation. While a
they are not fully acceptedby the host society also adds to

219

senseof exile is likely to increase solidarity among the diaspora, diasporas can be formed as a
result of both forced and voluntary migration.
Two main causescan be identified for the increase in the number of diasporas since the late
twentieth century. Firstly, in the post-Cold War era, there has clearly been a resurgenceof
5
"rights
by
Hear
This
terms
the
ethnic nationalism, accompanied what van
revolution".
means that many ethnic groups are now placing their demandswithin the diaspora context as
they believe that this presentsa stronger claim to recognition as a distinct group (and often
6
including
being
than
political settlements
merely
self-govemancc, autonomy),
a minority.
Secondly, as explored earlier, the globalization process tends to accentuatedifferent identities.
While migration is certainly not a new trend, advancesin transport and communication
technology have aided individuals to retain links with their homeland.

The Political Activities of a Diaspora

Diasporasare formedonceimmigrantswho sharea specific identity find hostcountries


decide
to settlepermanently. Sheffersuggeststhat
and
which areperceivedaswelcoming
migrantstend to drift into diasporasalmostaccidentallyratherthan arriving in a host country
identity
The
is
diaspora
the
aim.
notion
as
a
main
of
a
separate
with
establishmentof a
reinforcedby links with the homelandthroughvisits, remittancesand a constantstreamof
7
new arrivals. Communalorganisationsareestablishedto help membersadjustinto the host
identity
fundraising,
their
include
These
e.
g.
administering
not only maintaining
society.
health
religious,
providing
andsocialservices
and
schools,establishingcommunitycentres
8
but alsoactingin defenceof the community. In this context,the diasporais likely to
becomepolitically activeonly to gain andpreservebasicrights for the community.
Concerningtheir relationshipwith the hostcountry,Sheffercitesseveraloptionsavailableto

220

the diaspora. Firstly, they can adoptan integrationistapproachwherethey fully participatein


societybut maintaintheir interestin their own culture. Secondly,they canpreservetheir
identity while remainingactivein societyeitherthrougha looseframeworkor gaining formal
recognition. Thirdly, they canseekspecialrights e.g. schools,mediaandreligious
institutions.9 Onedifficulty for the diasporais overcominginternaldisunity suchasclassor
ideologicaldifferencesaswell asdisagreements
over aimsandmethodsof the group.
Thereis more scopefor political activity in the internationalarena. A diasporamay try to
representthe interestsof the homelandgovernment. However,many of thesestatestendto
be suspiciousof their diasporasin othercountriesandarewary of co-operation. In cases
wherea senseof exile is strong,a diasporamay campaignagainstthe presentregimeandurge
host governmentsto intervene. Someseekto establishtheir own homelandand attemptto
lobby other governmentsandglobal institutionsto gain support. Belongingto a diasporaalso
homeland
both
While
that
to
loyalty.
issue
state
allegiance
many
and
the
of
raises sensitive
host is compatible,thereis oftenconcernamongthe host societythat emotionalattachmentto
immigrants
loyalty
to
the
the
homeland
state
where
rcside.
the
any notionof
would supersede
Thus,the diasporacanoften find its loyalty doubtedby both homelandandhost.

The Existence of a Religious Diaspo

The above discussion, as does the majority of the literature on diasporas, concentrateson

two
this
Concerning
topic
the
diasporas.
study
of
religiouscommunities
ethnicnationalist
identifies
through
their
be
to
solely
religious
these
which
a
group
applied
criteria
can
identity? Therewould appearto be a dilemmafor both casestudies. Are they part of the
diasporaor canthey be moreaccuratelydescribedasthe Coptic/Maronite
Egyptian/Lebanese
diaspora? Canmembershipof the secondgroupbe complementedby alsojoining the

221

national diaspora? Just as these questionshave not been fully addressedin the respective
homelands, it is unsurprising that such issueshave not been resolved in host countries.
Diasporas identified by religious affiliation are not unusual. After all, religious communities
can be regarded as one of the oldest types of transnational communities. However, in the
existing literature, discussion on religious diasporastends to be limited to either global faiths
e.g. Islam or Catholicism or else to those which overlap with a distinctive ethnic identity e.g.
the Armenians.
Both the Coptic and Maronite communities abroad would appear to satisfy the basic criteria
to be categorised as a diaspora. A distinct homeland exists and collective identity has been
kept especially though not exclusively through the church. Communal organisations have
been formed and frequent contact maintained both with the homeland and between the
migrant communities in different host countries. The activities of the diaspora also have an
impact on both the community and wider society in the homeland. Clearly, religion can play
life.
As
faith
important
in
helping
to
their
adjust
new
a
often provides core
migrants
an
role
identity.
Members
it
of the religious community
reinforce
can
values of a specific culture,
tend to worship collectively which accentuatescommunal tics. Spiritual leaders can
accompany the migrants or arc sent to minister to their needs, thus maintaining links with the
homeland. In fact, Vertovec statesthat religious adherencecan become stronger in the
diaspora than at home becauseit ensuresthat collective memories remain relevant to the
in
has
Similarly,
the host country, religion can have
the
settled
community
community.
once
10
less influence especially among the younger generations.

222

Theories Conceming the Political Role of Religion and the Diaspora

Referringto the theoriesexploredearlierregardingthe politicisedrole of religion, thesealso


offer insight into the likely activities,strengthsandfuture of a religiousdiaspora. In the past,
religious institutionswerein dangerof losing contactwith followerswho migratedto other
lands. Advancesin transportand communicationstechnology,dueto the globalization
processallows migrantsandthe religioushierarchyin the homelandto maintainlinks and
ensurethat the faith remainsstrongwithin the community. Many migrantshaveleft the
Middle Eastdueto variouscrisesof state. As exploredearlier,this region hasexperienced
lessmodernizationthanmostandconsequently,in contrastto the West,secularizationhasnot
beenwidespread. If an environmentis saidto shapepublic opinion, it is possiblethat
in
diaspora
in
homeland.
Thus,
the
the
to
as
relations
migrantswould wish recreatesimilar
the activerole of religiousinstitutionsin all aspectsof life would be widely accepted. Bruce
institutions
for
the
of
religious
presence
amongthe
continued
providesanotherreason
diaspora. The institutionscanact asa bridge from the homelandto the hostby reminding
heritage
helping
identity
their
while
simultaneously,
surmount
and
migrantsof
shared
"
in
obstacles the new society. They alsoprovidepracticalhelp including socialand
andaccessto other successfulmigrants. In this
educationalservices,employmentassistance
context,onceintegrationhasbeenachieved,it would be expectedthat the influenceof
religious leaderswould decreaseamongthe migrantcommunities. Although the groupmay
be
this
to
could assignedto secularorganisationswhich would
still wish act asa collective,
act independentlyof the religioushierarchy.
Underthe rational choicemodel,the strengthof thepresenceof religious institutions
is
due
This
factors
to
to
adherence.
a
combination
of
religious
maintain
encourages
migrants
homeland
identity,
and
enactment
of
collective
remembrance
exploredabove- reinforcing

223

culture, welfare programmes and social networks. As long as the religious institution is
perceived as being the best actor to perform these services, they will enjoy religious vitality.
Consequently, it is now necessaryto examine these propositions concerning the contemporary
Coptic and Maronite diasporasto ascertainfirstly what role religious institutions can play
among a diaspora.which is identified primarily through religious affiliation and secondly,
what impact these activities will have on the homeland.

The Responseof the Churchesto Emigation

Emigrationhasbeenidentified asoneof the key reasonsfor the steadydeclineof Christians


in the entireMiddle Eastregionandthe situationin Egypt andLebanonis no different.
SignificantCoptic migrationcoincidedwith the Nasserera. As a consequence
of the
families
began
Coptic
by
the
to
the
of
members
wealthy
state,
nationalisationpolicies pursued
leading
by
followed
the
to a brain
They
of
community,
other
members
emigrate.
were soon
drain asthe majority wereyoungprofessionalse.g. doctors,lawyersandengineers. This by
fulfil
Egyptian
Muslims
Copts
to
their
also
young
sought
many
no meansonly affected
ambitionsabroad. Social,economicandpolitical factorscontinueto encouragethis trend.
As many Coptsarewell-educated,skilled andproficient in foreign languages,emigrationto
the Westprovesto be an attractiveproposition. Furthermore,they tendto haverelativesin
the diasporaanddo not regardthe Westasalien. With eachnew groupof 6migr6s,a growing
leave.
latest
thus
help
to
providing
to
the
another
reason
newcomers,
networkwas established
In contrast,Lebanonhaslong beenregardedasa countryof emigration. Sincethe latter
half of the nineteenthcentury,hundredsof thousandsof Lebanesehavelcft their country,
tendingto favour North andSouthAmerica- the latter especiallywhen the United States
2
'
One
War
in
World
imposedstrict immigrationquotas the post
era. Factorsfor this

224

emigration include population pressures,the educational role of mission schools as well as


political and economic instability.

In the early period, the vast majority of migrants were

Christians. While many historically conformed to the stereotype of the Lebanesepeddler,


recent migrants are more likely to be skilled professionals. Furthermore, by the 1940s, a
significant number of Muslims had also migrated, especially the Shia to West Africa.

Due to

the oil boom in the Gulf and then the civil war, migration continued throughout the remainder
of the twentieth century. Although Lebaneseof all confessions left during this turbulent
period, it is estimated that over half were Christian and significantly, unlike other groups, few
return, especially among the Maronites.
As explored earlier, both the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite hierarchies are concerned at the
decline in the size of their community in comparison to other sections of the population. As
in any situation, the larger a group is, the more likely its demandswill be heard. Thus, an
ever decreasing community would appearto negatively affect the political role of the
patriarch. The fact that many of the migrants are young professionals accentuatesthis
involvement
but
deprived
is
their
homeland
in
also a
of
the
not only
problem as the church
have
Consequently,
leaders
tried to
the
church
new generation.
substantial proportion of
in
to
the
their
to
convince
remain
measures
members
offer encouragementas well as practical
Orthodox
its
Church
Coptic
Youth,
the
to
Bishopric
Through
the
use
attempts
of
region.
traditions and history to addressthe concernsof the youth regarding their future. For
humblest
for
his
God
the
Bishop
Musa
that
poorest
and
work, and
chooses
stresses
example,
13
because
have
blessing.
God's
in
fact
they
rich
while they may be poorly paid, they are
Similarly, Patriarch Sfeir urges the Maronite youth to resist the pull of emigration, "the
14
is
first
dutics".
The
in
trial,
homeland,
times
of
your
one
to
the
of
especially
attachment
hierarchies have also recognised that practical aid is required. Through the Coptic Orthodox
Bishopric of Public, Ecumenical and Social Services, social services and job training

225

programmesareprovided. The MaroniteChurch,throughthe monasticorders,hascontinued


to offer educationalandhealthservicesandattemptedto providelandfor affordable
housing.15 Yet despitetheseefforts,therehasbeenlittle successin combatingthe emigration
have
leaders
it
is
in
Instead,
that
the
twenty-first
adaptedto
church
century,
clear
challenge.
thesechangesand concentratedresourceson the churchin the diaspora.

The Global Enansion of the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite Churches

The initial responseof both churchesto the global expansionof their adherentscan be
in
the
Yet
haphazard.
the
especially
early
years,
no-one,
characterisedas slow, reactiveand
Although
long-lasting
be
the
be
aware
of
this
that
presence.
a
would
migrants,could certain
implement
hierarchies
to
cohesive
the
struggled
to
needto minister thesecommunities, church
Kyrillos
Pope
trend,
Coptic
it
became
Once
that
emigrationwas a permanent
clear
policies.
VI addedthe responsibilityof establishingchurchesin the diasporato the already
first
16
Marcos
the
Marcos
Father
1964,
In
as
was appointed
overburdenedBishop Samuel.
17
in
liturgy
Initially
America.
the
in
North
Copts
celebrated
was
priest to minister to the
homesbut throughthe efforts of the laity andthe smallbut growing numberof priests,church
buildings were acquired.
Although the Maronitediasporawas establishedmanydecadesbeforeCoptic emigration
becamewidespread,they still facedsimilar problems. While substantialMaronitc emigration
behind
lagged
these
the
hadtakenplacesincethe mid-nineteenthcentury, churchresponse
is
Patriarch
Maronite
Patriarch,
the
not the
Orthodox
Coptic
developments.Unlike the
during
this
territory,
the
in
cra,
head
patriarchal
of
the
outside
matters
and
church
supreme
of
in
Maronite
1889,
Thus,
decisions.
the
had
to
See
the authority make
the Holy
alone
Patriarchrequestedpermissionfrom the Vaticanto provideservicesfor the immigrants. This

226

was grantedon condition that they confinedtheir work to Maroniteemigrantsandgained


approvalfrom the Latin hierarchyin the area. Consequently,in 1890,the first Maronite
18
in
States.
Maroniteprieststravelledthroughoutthe diasporato
priest arrived the United
perform ceremoniesand sacraments.However,asthe migrantstendedto be scattered
throughouttheselands,it was difficult to build churchesandmanyattendedlocal Latin rite
churches. This hasbeenseenasa greatsetbackasat leastonegenerationwas lost to the
Maronite church.19 Clearly,the distancebetweenthe different communitiesmeantthat while
theseearly attemptsof both the Coptic OrthodoxandMaronitechurchesto meetthe needsof
migrantswere welcome,morewasrequiredin orderto retain links with all adherents
regardlessof location.
By far the older 6migr6community,it is unsurprisingthat the first to rcorganiseservicesto
the diasporawere the Maronites. PatriarchMeouchiwho had servedasa priest in the United
Stateswas keenly awareof the importanceof maintaininglinks with the diaspora. The laity
in
Lebanon. Petitionsby the
the
for
church
with
alsocampaigned closerconnections
in
diaspora
laity
the
aswell asthe changedclimate
these
campaigns
patriarch,combinedwith
in
Brazil
(1962),
(1966)
bishop
United
States
led
Vatican
II,
to
the
a
and
of
after
appointment
Australia (1973).20 Oncethesedioceseswere established,therewas a significantincreasein
Patriarch
Australia.
Meouchiwas
States
in
United
building
the
and
church
especially
in
diaspora
for
for
laity
the
the
training
to
priesthood
and
receptive
requests providing
21

foundedthe Our Lady of LebanonMaroniteSeminaryin New York in 1961.

Through

in
laid
the diaspora
foundations
to
developments,
vibrant
a
church
ensure
these
the
were
homeland.
in
Maronites
the
to
which could act asencouragement
Turning to the role of the two patriarchsstudiedin this work, it is clearthat both havebeen
influential in the expansionof the churchabroad. UnderPopeShenouda,the Coptic
OrthodoxChurchin the landsof immigrationhasincreaseddramatically. Increasingthe

227

numberof priestssentabroad,he encouragedlocal communitiesto acquiretheir own church


building ratherthan continuingto worshipin houses. This waspartly due to the growth of
congregationsbut also influencedby thepublic witnessdimensionof having a consecrated
building. From only sevenchurchesin 1971,therearenow over seventychurchesin the
United States,thirty in Canada,over forty in Europeandover twenty-twoin Australia and
New Zealand.22 The churchhasexpandedin otherareaswherethereare Coptic expatriates
e.g. Latin American,Africa andotherpartsof the Middle East. Clearly, it is churchpolicy
that whereverCoptic migrantslocateto, the churchwill follow. The Coptic community
23
Theological
between
3-400,000
have
is
Egypt
to
members.
outsideof
now estimated
have
have
been
built
the
the
that
to
of
next
generations
members
ensure
seminaries
have
founded
Monasteries
been
become
the
to
also
ranks.
clerical
opportunity
part of
including threein Europeandoneeachin Australiaandthe United States. Constantchurch
building andregularrequestsfor morepriestsillustratesthe vibrancyof the church.
PatriarchShenoudahasstrivento ensurefull control over the churchesoutsideof Egypt.
Until the 1990s,the churcheswereadministeredfrom the patriarchatein Cairo.
OverburdenedgeneralbishopssuchasBishopMusaof the Bishopric of Youth andBishop
Serapionof the Bishopric of Public,EcumenicalandSocialServiceswere alsoresponsiblefor
in
these
Aware
the
change
churches,
a
administrativecontrol
of
needs
of
overseaschurches.
including
been
Southern
United
have
dioceses
Since
1990s,
established
the
several
occurred.
States(1993),Los Angeles,SouthernCaliforniaandHawaii (1995),Melbourne(1999)and
Sydney(2002). However,the patriarchpersonallyselectsclergy who are sentabroad. They
in
Most
have
be
dynamic,
of
working
other
countries.
tendto
experience
well-educatedand
his
However,
be
diaspora
there
bishops
as
to
the
prot6g6s.
can regarded
of the
appointed
betweenthe clergy andtheir congregationshavebeensomecasesof disagreements
from
Egypt,
While
the
somecome
are
sent
majority
especiallyover pastoralappointments.

228

from the 6migr6 communities e.g. Bishop Suriel of Melbourne. The clergy are encouraged to
learn the language of the country where they are ministering to help their pastoral work with
the youth who are not always fluent in Arabic. Clergy are sent from Egypt to conduct
services at Christmas and Easter in each 6migr6 community. Bishops are often requestedto
attend meetings with the patriarch in Egypt in addition to the annual Synod of Bishops.
Under Patriarch Sfeir, the Maronite Church in the diaspora has also undergone significant
expansion. It is estimated that around 4-5 million Maronitcs reside outside of the Middle
East. As explored earlier, initial diocesesabroad were established during the reign of
Patriarch Meouchi. However, several more have been added including Canada, Europe,
Argentina, Mexico, and a secondone in the United Statesbased in Los Angeles. With over
in
United
States.
There
be
diaspora
the
to
the
arc also
most
active
appear
seventy churches,
fourteen
in
in
Canada
Australia,
and
churches
over eleven churches and one monastery
24
is
Maronitc
less
Control
Europe.
in
the
Latin
American
over
churches
abroad
several
and
it
is
because
Eastern
Church
Catholic
Orthodox
in
Coptic
the
than
an
rite which
clear cut
diaspora
The
head
the
the
Pope
growth
of
the
church.
of
as
supreme
regards the
- outside of
the existing patriarchal territory - has forced the church to addressthe issue of patriarchal
it
Canons
Churches,
1990
Code
Eastern
drafting
the
During
the
the
was
of
of
of
authority.
historical
However,
the
territory.
of
that
outside
extend
could
suggested
patriarchal authority
the finished Code confirmed that patriarchal territory would be defined in a geographic
25
is
historical
Maronite
The
territory
considered to cover Lebanon, Syria,
patriarchal
sense.
the Holy Land, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East. While decisions regarding the
historical
the
bishops
Maronite
the
eparchics
outside
of
creation
and
appointment of
Canons,
Synod
Code
Bishops
See,
the
the
Holy
of
of
the
territory
under
rest with
patriarchal
26
in
be
Unlike
the
when
could
appointments
past
the
made
proposes
shortlist of candidates.
hierarchy
Maronite
has
in
involvement,
the
the
cases,
now
of
majority
without any patriarchal

229

significantinfluence. At present,mostbishopsabroadareLebanese. However,the headsof


the two diocesesin the United StatesareAmericansof Lebanesedescent. Similar to the
Coptic Orthodox,bishopsof overseasdiocesesarein regularcontactwith the patriarchand
returnto Lebanonfor the annualSynodof Bishops.
Both churcheshaveemphasised
the role of the patriarchasheadand fatherof the entire
communityin order to strengthenrelationsbetweenthe 6migr6sandthe churchin the
homeland. Patriarchalvisits providean opportunityfor 6migr6sto participatein eventsand
gain a senseof belongingin the wider church. The patriarchalitinerary of thesevisits tends
to includeconsecratingnew churches,conductingmass,youth meetings,questionand answer
sessions,studiesandconferences
with the clergy andgenerallymeetingmembersof the
congregations.PopeShenoudaregularlyvisits different communitiesincluding an annual
visit to North America. While PatriarchSfeir's visits arenot asfrequent,he alsotravelsto
areaswherelargesectionsof the diasporahavesettled. Communicationstechnologyis
employedto emphasiselinks betweenthe diasporaandthe homeland. The patriarchateshave
developedan Arabic/Englishwebsitewhich allows thoseabroadto participatein church
27
issues
be
activities and awareof
concerningthe wider church. In addition,al-Keraza,the
Coptic OrthodoxChurchmagazineis availablein Englishboth in print andonline.
Throughthe abovemeasures,it is evidentthat the policy of both churchesis to avoid
divisionsbetweenthe churchin the homelandandthoseresidingoutside. This hasproven
is
in
for
Coptic
Orthodox
there
that
the
the
no canonicaldifference. The
easier
sense
is
immigration"
"lands
it
illustrates
for
Copts
these
of
communities
as
preferredphraseamong
that the entirecommunityis unitedaroundthe patriarch.The term "diaspora!' is rejected
becauseit hasconnotationsof a separategroupfrom the body of the church. As outlined
diaspora
due
between
Maronite
to the
the
are
and
more
complex
patriarchate
above,relations
issueof patriarchalterritory. A Maronitepriest from the diasporasummariscsthe problem

230

by stating that although the patriarch is supposedto be regarded as the father of the entire
Maronite Church, those outside the patriarchal territory feel more like stepchildren.28 Aware
of these concerns, Patriarch Sfeir has frequently addressedthese issues. At the 2003
Maronite Synod and the two subsequentsessions(2004 and 2005), the role of the church in
the countries of expansion and Maronite identity were major themes. Patriarch Sfcirasscrted
that all who follow the Maronite rite and tradition are Maronites - no matter where they were
bom or reside.29 Like the Copts, the term diaspora tends also to be replaced, usually by
referring to "the countries of expansion".
It is evident that under the present patriarchs, interest in the diaspora has been maintained
and in fact strengthened. The work of the diocesesabroad is crucial in ensuring that migrants
is
homeland.
One
be
done
in
this
to preserve
the
to
the
way
can
retain attachment
church
their unique identity and heritage. The majority of dioceses in both traditions publish their
both
in
life
in
information
diaspora
to
the
relevant
and
own newsletters and magazineswith
the homeland 30 The churches also support projects including schools, language classes,
.
heritage.
learn
to
their
to
the
community
about
spiritual retreats and convention centres allow
Many activities focus on the youth due to the importance of the younger generation for the
School,
in
involvement
Sunday
including
the
youth
associations,
services
survival of
church,
is
Maronites,
there
homeland.
For
the
trips
to
still concern at the rate of assimilation
the
and
into the Latin Catholic church partly due to the lack of Maronite schools. Regarding the
United States,Labaki asserts,"absorption into the Latin Church is a very real danger in
America". 31 Consequently, at the secondsessionof the patriarchal synod, it was decided to
32
diaspora
There
dedicated
to
in
with
parishes.
relations
the
establish an office
patriarchate
has also been a concerted effort to conduct a censusof all Maronites living abroad.
Both churches have developed the capacity to provide material aid for migrants and offer
for
Combined
(homes
the
the
(childcare)
for
the
with
elderly).
the
old
and
services
young

231

provision of a supportnetworkfor new arrivals,theseservicesincreasethe likelihood that


migrantswill remainfaithful to the churchasindicatedby the rationalchoiceapproach.
Furthermore,the ability andwillingnessof eachchurchto caterfor all the needsof the
migrantshasstifled competitors. To a certainextent,the churchalonehasfulfilled the
function of aiding membersof the diasporain adjustingto a new societyratherthan the
migrantcommunityestablishingits own communalorganizations- independentof the church
links
homeland
by
The
the
to
this
with
encourage
also
achieve
particular
aim.
churches
organisingvoluntarywork andcollectingfinancialaid. Donationssentto the patriarchates
from often wealthy 6migr6communitiesalsoaid the work of the churches. Evidently, both
homeland.
links
in
have
to
their
that
retain
migrants
churches
greatpotential ensuring
Examiningthesetwo casestudies,it is clearthat both patriarchshaveattemptedto retain their
just
in
in
diaspora,
homeland
the
the
as
and
the
actor
position as predominantcommunal
throughthe church,havethe resourcesto be a lastingpresencein the communityregardlessof
location.

The Challenge of tmigr6 Groups to the Political

-Role

of the Pat-narch

Although the main church responseto the challenge of emigration has been to transform it
into a positive outcome through global expansion,this development has had other
different
formation
the
communal groups which threaten the
of
repercussions,notably
As
the
noted earlier, once migrants
the
community.
spokesmanof
position of the patriarch as
have settled into their new homelands, they tend to establish communal organisations.
Members of the different Christian denominations representedin the Middle East have been
Armenians
historic
the
With
in
the
of
and
exceptions
these
obvious
activities.
proactive
Assyrians, few have arrived in the diaspora as a result of involuntary migration. Ilowcvcr,

232

somebelievethat due to discriminationin thehomeland,they canonly find true equality


abroad. This type of attitudetendsto shapethe mostvocal organisations.Furthermore,they
areableto maximisethe opportunitiesofferedin societieswherefreedomof expressionis
cherishedasa right for all.
In general,both Coptic andMaronitemigrantshavebeenableto integrateinto their new
societieswhile preservingtheir own identity andheritage. For most,thereare few realistic
threatsto their presencein the host country,especiallyin Westernstateswhereequality is
more or lessguaranteed. Hence,the main focusof political activity is centrcdon the
homeland. Few groupsconnectedwith the Copticor Maronitediasporaareperceivedas
governments. Unsurprisingly,these
representingthe interestsof the Egyptian/Lebanese
statestend to be suspiciousof 6migr6groupsthat campaignagainstthe regimesandurgehost
6migrds,
intervene.
the
Although
the
they
to
majority
of
not
represent
may
governments
lobby groupswhich receivesubstantialmediaattentiontendto be thosewhich areperceived
aschallengingthe statusquo in the homeland.
In the Coptic case,the main emphasisis on protectingCoptic rights in Egypt. Campaigns
impact
have
illustrated
during
the
Sadat
that
the
turbulent
could
potential
expatriates
run
years
on Egyptiandomesticpolitics. For example,6migrelobbyingwas a factor in forcing the
governmentto abandonthe 1977apostasybill while streetdemonstrationsandnewspaper
advertsduring Sadat's1980visit to the United Statescolourcdhis opinion of the church
33
facing
human
Copts
the
Shenouda.
By
Pope
the
as
a
categorising problems
especially
Western
hope
to
Association,
Copts
issue,
US
persuade
governments
the
rights
groupssuchas
Christians
discrimination
into
and securing
Egyptian
against
to pressurisethe
combating
state
the rights of the Coptic community. Thesegroupsarguethat aid, particularly from the US,
34
in
Egypt.
Some
Christians
human
be
the
activists
of
rights
should conditionalon respecting
Freedom
Religious
International
Congress
States
United
1998
the
were strongsupportersof

233

Act, met with Congress committees and placed newspaperadverts during the hearing of the
bill, alleging systematic oppression of the Copts.35 At present, these activities have had little
impact on US administrations but as they have developed close relations with individual
senatorsand congressmen,the activists are in a position to take advantageof any changes in
US policy which may benefit their aims. tmigr6 groups have benefited from
communications technology, using the Internet as a means to instantly publicise information.
However, some of these organisations view any incident within a persecution framework and
36
fail
details.
language
inflammatory
to
and often
verify
are prone to exaggeration, use
In comparison, the majority of Maronite 6migr6 groups tend to be more politiciscd than
their Coptic counterparts. Some groups are closely connected to Lebanesepolitical parties
37
Others
to
their
advocate alliances with
on
policies.
agree
ability
which adversely affects
Israel.38 With memories of the civil war still vivid, the problems of Maronite internal
disunity so prevalent in the homeland appearto have been replicated in the diaspora.
Particularly since the end of the conflict, the main priority for Maronite groups was to end
Coptic
Using
Lebanon.
the
Syrian
as
similar
methods
they
of
occupation
what
regarded as
United
the
6migr6
to
the
tried
described
of
engage
support
activists
groups
above, some
States. In the post-September I Ith era, they were quick to perceive that American political
independence
Lebanese
to
favourable
likely
be
towards
secure
efforts
to
actors were
more
from Syrian influence than in the past. For example, groups such as the Council of Lebanese
American Organizations (CLAO) lobbied in favour of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese
Sovereignty Restoration Act (SALSRA) passedby Congressin 2003. GcneralAoun, oneof
39
Allthesc
Congress
to
during
figures
testified
committee.
leading
6migr6
a
this
the
period
to
the
them
from
technology
benefited
have
allowing
monitor
communications
groups
also
both
their
in
own supporters and with
Lebanon
with
campaigns
situation
and co-ordinate
other groups in the diaspora.

234

While the impact of the contributionof theselobby groupson Westernstatesis debatable,it


cannotbe deniedthat oneof their primary aimswasachievedin September2004when the
AmericanandFrenchcosponsored
UnitedNationsSecurityCouncilResolution(UNSCR)
1559was passed. As exploredearlier,this resolutioncalled for the withdrawalof Syrian
troopsfrom Lebanonandan endto externalinterferencein Lebanesedomesticaffairs. In the
immediateaftermathof the assassination
of Rafiq al-Hariri in February2005,they
demonstrated
their solidaritywith protestsin Beirut by organisingmarchesin Western
capitals. However,this changedenvironmentis likely to affect groupsin the diaspora.
Firstly, the main goal of attainingSyrianwithdrawalhastakenplaceand Syria is no longer
issue
Since
Lebanese
having
full
this
the
the
which
was
sole
state.
of
regardedas
control
between
Maronite
be
it
that
different
the
the
relations
expected
united
groups, would
hindering
Maronite
their
to
become
thus
ability
promote
morestrained,
organisationswill
interests. Secondly,someactivistshavereturnedhome,notably former Prime Minister
GeneralAoun who was electedto the Lebaneseparliamentin the June2005 elections. The
in
Although
6migr6s
these
to
elections.
participate
changedenvironmentalsoallowedsome
the Lebaneseelectoralsystemdoesnot allow expatriatesto vote, many visited Lebanonsolely
for this purpose.40 The futurepathsof the differentMaronite 6migr6groupsdependon the
type of issuesthat becomeprioritised. For some,thesewill continueto be closelyconnected
to political developmentsin Lebanonwhilst othersmay chooseto concentrateon issueswhich
directly affect the diaspora.
Political activitiesundertakenby diasporaorganizationscanraisequestionsconcerningthe
I Ith world, the Christianidentity of the two
loyalty of the group. In the post-September
loyalty
in
divided
the
has
helped
detailed
to
of
accusations
any
avoid
above
communities
friends
themselves
is
as
of the
This
portray
true
of somegroupswhich
west.
particularly
States
United
lobby
the
Maronite
between
in
and
groups
west the region e.g. relations

235

governmentduring the turbulentperiodof regimechangein Lebanon. In contrast,it is


unsurprisingthat the type of activitiesdescribedabovehavehada moresignificant and
adverseimpact on relationsat home. Dueto the methodsusedby someCoptic 6migr6
groups,their campaignsto safeguardCopticrights canin fact, serveonly to endangerthe
Coptic community. This is primarily becausethe loyalty of all Coptsis called into question.
Among the Egyptianelite, thereis a generalacceptance
that suchactivistsrepresentonly a
small minority of the expatriateCopticcommunity. This doesnot preventangry
denunciations,especiallyat attemptsby expatriatesto involve the United Statesin what is
perceivedasinternal Egyptianmatters. For example,a statementsignedin 1998by over
2000prominentCoptic figuresin Egypt,bitterly attacked"continuedattemptsmadeby
1
Coptic
false
94
hostile
forces
in
repressioW. Furthennorc,asthe
claimsof
enemy
rumoring
activitiesof suchgroupsareoftenreportedin the Egyptianmedia,somesegmentsof die
by
Copts.
This type of actionby
do
these
that
shared
most
are
population assume
views
someexpatriatescan adverselyaffectcommunalrelations. The patriotismof Coptscanbe
doubtedasthereis suspicionthat oncetheymigrateabroad,they are likely to bccomccritical
of the regime.
This issueof loyalty is alsorelevantto the Maronitecase. The pro-Syrianregimewas
hostileto the lobby groupsdescribedaboveasthey rcprcscntcda threatto
understandably
their position and authority. Membersof different confessionswere alsoconcernedthat
someMaronite groupswerewilling to contemplatean alliancewith the Israeli government.
in convincingtheir compatriotsthat they promotedthe intcrcstsof all
Few groupssucceeded
Lebaneseratherthanjust thoseof the Maronites. The distrustthat lingercdfrom the civil war
Maronites
those
Consequently,
the
still
abroad
affected
of
actions
remainedprominent.
be
Since
Syrian
to
the
loyalty
in
to
the
Lebanon
their
questioned.
continued
state
residing
as
Maronites;
is
that
the
will try to re.
there
confessions
withdrawal,
now concernamongstother

236

establish hegemony over the state even although they are no longer the largest scct. The fact
that the Christian, especially Maronite, lobby is rccognised as being the most developed can
be seen as a contributory factor to the decision to continue to exclude expatriate voters from
the 2005 elections as this would greatly swell the Maronite vote.
The existence of the type of 6migr6 groups described above requires a responsefrom the
patriarch not only to safeguardcommunal harmony but also to defend the position of
predominant spokespersonfor the community. In the Coptic Orthodox example, Patriarch
Shenoudahas frequently stressedthat such activists are a small minority of the Coptic
diaspora and not representativeof the views of the church and the wider Coptic community.
In fact, he adds that such associationshave sometimesdenouncedthe patriarch and the Coptic
Orthodox Church.42 He has constantly rejected foreign intervention and statesthat any
This
be
Egyptian
be
internally
the
authorities.
can
seenthrough
with
problems will
solved
his lukewarm responseto the US International Religious Freedom Commission delegations.
The patriarch has also addressedhis responseto the Coptic diaspora. As explored above,
there has been a concerted effort to ensurethat the church remains the focus point among
be
it
is
in
The
Egypt.
can
seen as cmphasising the
process
centralization
migrants as
lay
from
independently
the
the
the
of
movements
operating
expense
authority of
patriarch at
involved
in
6migr6s
become
for
Coptic
to
has
The
widely
called
publicly
church.
patriarch
43
interest.
Responding to
Egyptian
national
pressuregroups which seek to promote the
heed
by
Coptic
he
has
to
take
the
of
all
opinions
voiced
migrants
asked
claims of persecution,
Copts living in Egypt and if possible, to visit Egypt in order to have personal experience of
44
in
has
his
The
Egypt.
in
Coptic
adherents
also
urged
patriarch
the
situation contemporary
it
is
For
Egyptian
be
West
made clear that the church
example,
the
to
roots.
proud of their
hierarchy disapproves of demonstrationsduring the annual visit of President Mubarak to the
United States. During pastoral visits to Coptic communities abroad, Patriarch Shcnouda

237

frequentlymeetsEgyptianofficials andattendsreceptionsat the EgyptianEmbassy. Thus,


the authority of the patriarchcanactuallybe enhancedby the existenceof lobby groups. The
governmentresponsehasfocusedon PatriarchShenoudaasa moderateleader,ableto
influencehis communityagainstwhat theyperceiveasextremisttendencies.
Yet, thereis clearly an ambivalentrelationshipbetweenthe churchandthe 6migr6groups.
Firstly, in this matterthe churchcannotbe regardedasa monolith. Thus,thereare some
members- both clergy andlay - who arequick to contactlobby groupsabroadoncean
incidentoccurs. This is not only to ensurethat Copticproblemsin Egypt arc widely
publicisedbut alsoto provethat theyhaveexternalsupporterscampaigningon their behalf.
Action is rarely takenby the hierarchyeitheragainstanyonewho appealsto such
organisationsor indeedthosein the diasporawho areactively involved. Instead,Patriarch
Shenoudastatesthat asthe patriarchof Alexandria,he is the headand fatherof all Copts,
regardlessof their political beliefs. It mustalsobe notedthat financialcontributionsfrom the
diasporaallow the churchto fulfil manyof its services. Hence,it would be surprisingif steps
income
taken
this
source. This approachallows the
valuable
were
which would endanger
patriarchto criticise actionswhich havea negativeimpacton communalrelationsin Egypt
without necessarilydistancinghimself from suchactivists.
Similarly, althoughPatriarchSfeir is keento unite the diaspora,he is wary of being
connectedwith groupswhich areperceivedin Lebanonassupportingthe interestsof other
countriessuchasthe United StatesandIsrael. This dilemmahasplacedthe hierarchyin a
delicateposition. An illustration of this problemis providedby the 2002Los Angeles
InternationalMaronite Congresswhich attracteddelegatesfrom Lebanonandabroad
representinga wide rangeof political views. Thepatriarchendorsedthe conferencewhich
soughtto maximisethe potentialof the diasporaandsentpersonalrepresentatives.However,
the disputedfinal resolutionsof the congressstatedsupportfor aspectsof the US legislation

238

45

SALSRA which referred to Lebanon.

This meant that notable personalities from Lebanon

who had participated in the conferencewhether in person or by sending a delegation had to


defend their involvement. Although the patriarch denouncedthe endorsementof this law, the
issue proved controversial in Lebanon. His wariness of United Statespolicies and their
identified
impact
being
has
driven
his
Lebanon,
to
with
concern
avoid
potential
on
also
Lebaneseactivists (mainly Christian) who are perceived by some in the region as being antiArab. In contrast to his public stanceon SALSRA, the patriarch was an ardent supporter of
46

UNSCR1559 which aimed to halt Syrian interference in Lebaneseinternal matters.

One

international
highest
by
demand
difference
the
that
this
authority on world affairs
major
was
if
by
legitimate
that state was
than
passed
one
country,
even
any acts
was perceived as more
the global superpower. Thus, Patriarch Sfeir felt able to reject accusationsof welcoming
foreign intervention.
Patriarch Sfeir has also tried to consolidate his authority over the diaspora. Whilc this was
is
likely
be
Syrian
the
to
by
the
since
withdrawal
changedenvironment
resisted many groups,
his
has
directly
The
to
favourable
community
appealed
to
these
patriarch
attempts.
more
in
Lebanon
to
them
which seek to re-establish the country as an
efforts
support
abroad, urging
independent and democratic state. The personal status of the patriarch has been enhancedby
high-level visits abroad including audienceswith the French President Chirac and US
President George W Bush.47 Furthermore, local politicians and notable figures also meet
his
head
he
in
knowledge
that
the
the
authority
as
use
of the church to
can
patriarch
with
attempt to influence Maronite public opinion.
There is also awarenessamongst the hierarchy that the church is associatedwith any group
involvement.
Aware of the
in
has
Maronite
title
actual
the
that
the word
regardlessof any
harm which can be done to the church and its attempts to foster national reconciliation, efforts
by
the
to
being
patriarch.
that
proposed
to
guidelines
agree
groups
such
are
made ensure

239

Again, thereis still an elementof ambiguityregardingrelationsbetweenthe churchandthe


Maronitediaspora. As in the Coptic example,the financial contributionsof adherentsabroad
arewelcometo the churchandthe positionof the patriarchasthe fatherof all Maronitcstends
to be emphasised,ensuringthat the patriarchcanremainin contactwith all the flock. In
conclusion,it would appearthat emigregroupshavethe potentialto be a sternerchallengeto
the temporalrole of the patriarchthananycompetitorsin the homeland. However,
significantinfluenceover the diasporahasremainedin the handsof the patriarch. At present,
communalorganizationsindependentof the churchhavenot beensuccessfulin usurpingthe
dominantposition of the patriarch. No groupappearsableto rival the authorityandprestige
of the patriarch. Thus,both patriarchshaveusedtheseelementsto safeguardtheir statusas
the civil representativeof the communityboth in the domesticandinternationalarcna.

The Impact of Global Expansion on Identity

The global expansionof the churchesalsoraisesthe questionof identity. As discussedin


earlierchapters,while faith is centralto both CopticandMaroniteidentity, it alsotendsto be
i.
homeland
identifiable
to
e. Egypt or Lebanonrespectively. Thereare
closelyconnected an
in
be
in
both
believe
to
that
order
a true memberof the community,an
elements
churcheswho
individual must eitherbe born in the homelandor sharethis licritagc e.g. the next generation
bom in the areasof expansion. Thus,in the twenty-firstcentury,the churcheshavehad to
Church,
Coptic
Coptic
Orthodox
issue
identity.
the
For
the
the
this
of
acceptance
address
of
Orthodoxfaith andworship allows an individual to rightfully enterthe community. Tile
is
Pope
Shenouda
It
Egyptian
longer
be
that
one.
clear
solely
as
categorised
an
churchcanno
is
Coptic
to
head
the
himself
the
all
who
profess
open
which
regards
as
of a universalchurch
Orthodoxfaith. It is not necessaryto haveprior links with the land of Egypt. Howeverasa

240

Copt,this land of the desertmonasteries


will be reveredasthe spiritual homeland.
Furthermore,the office of thepatriarchalsoservesto unite adherentswhetherfrom Egypt
or
elsewhere. Similarly, at the recentMaroniteSynods,it was proclaimedthat as long asan
individual follows the Maronitefaith andtradition,they canbe termeda Maronite. Maronite
48 Yet, Lebanonenjoys
identity is regardedasecclesiasticalnot nationalor ethniC.
considerablestatusasthe spiritual homelandof the community. Again, the patriarchactsas
the link betweenthe scatteredcongregations.Clearly in both cases,attachmentto the
figureheadof the churchis the main factorwhich bondsandunitesthe spiritual community
regardlessof nationality or culturalbackground.
Both churchesnow perceivethemselvesasglobal churchesdueto the existenceof adherents
throughoutthe world. As detailedabove,historically the churchesabroadcateredprimarily
for expatriatesandtheir descendants.Convertstendto be spousesof existingmcmbcrs.
Thereis awarenessthat missionis a centralpart of the Christianfaith. However,the
Maronitesareconstrainedby the fact that they aremembersof the universalCatholic church.
Thus,thereare alreadychurchesundertakingmissionwork in the areaswhereMaronitcsnow
reside. Ministering solely to their own congregationswas the key conditionto Vatican
approvalof Maronite diocesesoutsideof the historicalpatriarchalterritory. Consequently,it
is highly likely that the indigenousCatholicchurcheswould be extrcmclyhostileto any
evangelismby Maronitcs. While individualsmay be attractedto the Maronitc rite on account
of its heritageanddistinct liturgy, therewould appearto be little chanceof significant growth
in the diasporaasa result of proselytismratherthanconstantimmigration.
In contrast,the Coptic OrthodoxChurchis autonomousfrom other Christiandenominations
andthe decisionto undertakemissionaryactivitiesrestswith the hierarchy. The main
missionfield especiallyin the post-colonialareahasbeenAfrica. Portrayingitself asthe
oldestindigenouschurch,the Coptic faith hasspreadon this contincnt. UnderPope

241

Shenouda,interestin Africa hasgrown. In 1973,the title of the Patriarchof Alexandriawas


49
include
AfriCa".
"All
Thereis now a significantCoptic presencein Africa
to
amended
of
for
bishop
African
in
thirty-three
the
a
with
churches nine countriesand appointmentof
50

affairs.

In the developingworld, the chancesof acceptance


of the Coptic OrthodoxChurch

areincreasedasin contrastto the majority of denominationsworking in theseregions,the


churchdoesnot havea colonialpastor connectionswith Westernpowers. At present,the
main focusis on countriesin closeproximity to the two AustralianCoptic dioceses. Initially
AfTiliatcd
by
Sydney
Diocese
the
to
of
and
ministering expatriates,new churchesestablished
Regionsin ThailandandJapanhaveattractedindigenousconverts. For example,the
Christmas2005 servicewas attendedby over 100baptiscdThaiswhile in Japan,a convert
has
Affiliated
Regions
Melbourne
Diocese
in
The
2004
of
and
was consecratedaspriest
.51
foundeda voluntaryunit entitledthe CopticOrthodoxChurchMission (COCM) which has
52
In
both
the
its
Fiji,
spiritual
care
and
material
assistancC.
providing
concentrated work on
twenty-first century,it is clearthat therole of missionasa centralelementof the Christian
Church
Orthodox
by
Coptic
the
faith hasbeenaddressed
of
with renewedvigour members
its
due
Consequently,
to
this
in
developing
the
expansion,
credentialsas a
world.
working
has
been
like
Maronitcs,
Yet,
be
the
this
to
not
genuine.
universalchurchwould appear
identity.
heritage
its
traditional
the
and
achievedat
expenseof

Summ

in
Eastcrn
diaspora
two
the
the
illustrated
has
discussion
that
shape
The
of
a religious
Christiandenominationsexaminedabove,clearly existsandis likely to remaina significant
dimensionof the Coptic OrthodoxandMaronitecommunities. While this doesnot nccd to
be at the expenseof their membershipof the nationaldiaspora(in someways,their religious

242

identity servesto strengthenthis attachment),it is evidentthat both the Coptic Orthodoxand


Maronite communitiespossessmanyof the characteristicsusedto identify an ethnic
nationalistdiaspora. This helpsto reinforcecommunalidentity. In both cases,the church
hierarchyhavemaximisedthe benefitsof cheapandwidespreadtravel aswell as
communicationstechnology,especiallythe internetin orderto retainlinks with their scattered
adherents. Without thesedevelopments,
onewould suspectthat more generationswould be
lost to the respectivefaiths asoccurredin the Maronitc case. A significantproportionof
migrantsregardthe churchasthe mosteffectivemeansto retaintheir identity and faith.
However,equallyimportantarethe servicesprovidedby the church. By maintainingtheir
dominantposition,it is likely that religiousleaderswill continueto influencethe communities
abroad. While it is too earlyto determineif this situationwill be a short-livedphenomenon,
integrated
into
have
their new society
the
generation
younger
clearly significantnumbersof
without losing their religiousidentity.
Onemethodusedby both churchesto retainsupporthasbeento emphasisethe role of the
into
has
faithful.
This
to
father
the
the
co-opt
the
served
community
patriarchas
of all
limiting
by
the
opportunitiesto developalternatives.
church,
activitiesrun and sanctioned
The 6migr6groupsprovethat thereareattemptsto work independentlyfrom the church
hierarchy. While thesegroupsmay be vocal, few havemanagedto attractandretain
widespreadsupportfrom migrants. In general,the views of the patriarchremainsignificant
to the communitiesabroad.However,the activitiesof lobby groupsdo affect communaland
had
has
this
In
in
homeland.
the
a negative
of
cases,
the
majority
church-staterelations
impactby accentuatingthe dilemmaof religiousandnationalidentity andforcing the
patriarchto emphasisethe loyalty of the faithful to the nationstate. Yet, the presenceof
for
Coptic/Maronite
rights alsoelevatesthe office of the
externalgroupscampaigning

243

by
Both
their governmentsas leaderswith considerable
patriarchs
are
perceived
patriarch.
influence
be
their
to
the
can
over
community,
which
used
combat
of other actors.
authority
The statusof the patriarch at home and abroadis also enhancedas the leaderof a universal
ratherthan national church with adherentsin many countries. The challengeof the diaspora
hasillustrated that the church hierarchy and institutions, just as in the past, can adaptto
changesin circumstances. Under the presentpatriarchs,both churcheshave witnessed
widespreadexpansionin the lands of immigration and resolvedpotentially damagingissues,
identity
belong
the
to
to the religious community.
and
criteria
concerning
required
especially
In conclusion, it is evident that the church leadershiphas transformeda potent challenge- the
decline of the community in the homelanddue to migration - into a substantialstrength- the
formation of a global community and a universal church.

I Steven Vertovec, Religion and Diaspora(Oxford,TransnationalCommunitiesWorking Paper


Series Universityof Oxford, 2001) p. 2
2 Milton J Esman, "Diasporas and International Relations" in Gabriel Sheffer (ed), Modern Diasporas
in International Politics (London, Croom Helm, 1986) p. 333
Nicholas van Hear, New Diasporas : The mass exodus. d! SDersal and re_qrouDinq of Mi_qrant
Communities (London, UCL Press, 1998) p. 5-6
William Safran, "Diasporas in Modern Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return" In Steven
Vertovec and Robin Cohen (eds), Migration, diasporas and transnationalism
(Cheltenham, Edward
Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1999) p. 364-5
5 van Hear, New Diasporas
: The mass exodus, dispersal and reqrour)inq of Miqrant Communities
p. 2-3
James Clifford "Diasporas" in Steven Vertovec and Robin Cohen (eds), Migration. diasporas and
transnationalism
(Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1999) p. 217
Esman, "Diasporas and International Relations" p. 334
8 Gabriel Sheffer, Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,
2003) p. 174
9 Ibid
p. 163-167
10Vertovec, Religion and Diaspora
p. 18
11 Bruce, Reliqion in the Modern World
to Cults p. 108
: from Cathedrals
12 Albert Hourani
and Nadim Shehadi (eds), The Lebanese in the World:

A Centurv of Emigration
Studies, IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1992) p. 5-6

(London, The Centre for Lebanese


13 Ibid
p. 195
14 Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, Lent Message 2003
15Labaki, 'The Christian Communities
and the Economic

and Social

Situation

in Lebanon"

p. 253

16 Meinardus,

Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity p. 123


17Watani International, "The 401hAnniversary
of the Establishment of the Coptic Church in America"
F6FDecember 2004
www. watani. com. eqlmodules. php? name=news&file-article&sid=6135
18George, T Labaki, The Maronites in the United States (Beirut, Notre
Dame University of Loualze

244

Press, 1993) p. 74
19Alixa Naff, "Lebanese Immigrationinto the United States: 1880 to the Present7in Albert Hourani
and Nadim Shehadi (eds), The Lebanesein the World: A Century of Emigration (London, The
Centre for LebaneseStudies, IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1992) p. 141-165
20 Faris, Eastern Catholic Churches : Constitutionand Governancep. 52
21 Labaki, The Maronites in the United States p. 104
22 Coptic Orthodox Church Mission
www.cocm.or-q.au
23 O'Mahony, The Politics of ReligiousRenewal p. 72
24 Opus Libani, "Maronite Dioceses"
www.opuslibani.orq.lb/newdioceses
Faris, Eastern Catholic Churches : Constitutionand Governancep. 350
26Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches Latin-EnglishEdition (Washington,Canon Law Society of
America, 1990) p. 69
27 For the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchatesee www.copticpoi)e.orq
For the Maronite Patriarchatesee www.bkerke.orq.lb
28 Marini, "The Role of the PatriarchOutside the Middle East"
29 Opening Address of His Beatitude& Em. NasrallahBoutros Sfeir"The Maronite Church in its
Worldwide Expansion"4thMarch 2004
www.maronitesvnod.orq
30 As an example of the work of the dioceses abroad, see the following websites
Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Anqeles. Southern.California and Hawaii www.lacopts.orn
Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourneand Affiliated Regions www.melbcopts.orq.au
Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Sydney and Affiliated Reqionswww.coptic.orq.au
Maronite Diocese of St. Maroun. Svdnevwww.maronite.orq.au
Maronite Diocese of Brazil www.iqrenamaronita.
orq.b
Maronite Eparchy of Our Ladv of Lebanon,Los Anqeles, www.usamaronite.orq
Maronite Eparchv of St. Maron, Brooklvnwww.stmaron.orq
Labaki, The Maronites in the United States p. 238
32
October 2004
Synod"
20'n
The
Daily
Star
"The
Maronite
33 Farah, Religious Strife in Egypt p. 11
34 Shawky F Karas, "Egypt's BeleagueredChristians"Worldview 26(3) 1983 p. 14
35 The Economist."The danger of foreign meddling"2
1998
36 See US Copts Association,www.uscopts-com
37 As an example of political groups acting as lobby groups or those connected to political parties in
Lebanon, see the following websites
Lebanese Forces www.lebanese-forces.orq
Lebanese American Council for Democracywww.la-cd.orq
Free Patriotic Movementwww.tavyar.orq
See Lebanese Foundationfor Peace,www.free-lebanon.com
39 Free Patriotic Movement"Testimonyof General Aoun" 18"' September 2003
www.tayyar.orn/files/q-mal/030917aounconqressHearina.htm
40 The Daily Sta "Lebaneseexpatriates : voices in the wilderness" 21't June 2005
,
www.dailVstar.com.lb/r)rintable.asp?art ID=16088&cat ID=1
41 Arabic News.com. "On the Coptic issue in Egypt76th November 1998
http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Dailv/Dav/981106/1998110620.
html
42 al-Musawwar."Interviewwith Pope Shenouda" I O'nOctober 2003
44 Arabic News.com. Pope Shenouda highlights Egypt's religious tolerance, improvementsneeded"
ay 2002
http://www. arabicnews. com/ansub/Daily/Dav/020531/2002053135. html
44 lbid

45 InternationalMaronite Congress Resolution2002


www.maronite.orq/con_qressdate ann.htm
6 The Daily Star, "Lebanon, Syria announce upcoming series of talks" 3th September 2004
www.dailvstar.com.lb/art ID=8325&cat ID=2
47 The Daily Sta "Chirac tells Sfeir" 291hJanuary 2005
,
www. dailvstar. com. lblart ID=12201&cat ID=2

Maronite Patriarchate,"Visit of Patriarch Sfeir to the United States" March 2005


www.bkerke.orq.lb/trip2usa/index.htm

245

48Final Statement of the Second Session of the MaroniteSynod, Fetka, 27thOctober 2004
www.maronitesvnod.or_q
4VMeinardus, Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity p. 135
50Coptic Orthodox Church Mission

www. cocm. org. au


01 al-Keraza, 28'n January 2005 and al-Keraza, 5th March 2004
www. coi)ticpor)e. orci/downloads/enq-keraza/enqkeraza28-01-2005.
www. coptici)oi)e. orci/downloads/enq-keraza/enqkerazaO5-03-2004.
OzCoptic Orthodox Church Mission
www. cocm. orq. au

246

i)d
pd

Chapter Seven - Conclusion

Summ

In order to provide an accuratesummaryof the precedingpages,it is helpful to return to the


be
in
introductory
the
This
to
listed
the
of
a
comparison
made
allow
chapter.
will
variables
two patriarchs and traditions coveredin this study - Patriarch ShenoudaIII of the Coptic
Orthodox and Patriarch Sfeir of the Maronites. Furthermore,this will also identify the
factors which influence the type of political role a Christian religious leader is likely to have
in the Middle East region and the impact this will have on the community, stateand wider
society.

1) The tradition and authority investedin thepatriarch of a specific tradition


Historically, in the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite traditions, the holder of the office of
patriarch has beenthe leader of the community. The position has always had this temporal
by
Case,
Orthodox
Coptic
this
the millet systemwhere the
In
the
was
reinforced
aspect.
in
his
for
leader
over
community
exchange
ensuring the
civil
retained
authority
religious
defined
For
Maronites,
the
taxes.
the
was
as a tribal chief who was the
patriarch
collection of
spiritual and civil headof the community. The patriarchshave also used their authority to
consolidatepower in the community and this provides a basefor building political power.
Once elected,the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch exercisesalmost complete control over the
church. This has been especiallytrue under Patriarch Shenoudawhose policies of
centralizationhave ensuredthat he enjoys a near monopoly over church and communal
affairs. Any dissenthas been treatedwith contempt and critics have often faced severe
consequences. In comparison,Patriarch Sfeir doesnot enjoy that extent of power. Yet

247

is
in
it
is
law,
Maronite
See
Holy
that
the
takes
the
patriarch
precedence canon
clear
although
leader
head
but
the
the
the
of the community.
of
church
also
spiritual
not
only
as
regarded,
Clearly, tradition combinedwith the authority associatedwith the office of patriarch has
be
legitimate
heads
to
the
the
representativesof their
regarded
as
churches
of
allowed
is
Coptic
Orthodox
Maronite
As
to
the
the
or
above
criteria
not
exclusive
communities.
traditions, it would be expectedthat this would be relevant to all headsof the patriarchal
it
is
imperative
in
found
East.
However,
Middle
to note that the two churches
the
churches
in
be
described
in
the region.
the
this
communities
amongst
most
powerful
can
as
study
used
It is clear that patriarchal authority alone is not necessarilyindicative of an active political
is
head
Even
the
church
generally recognisedas the spiritual
any
patriarchal
of
although
role.
leaderof a community, it would be difficult for the patriarch of a church with relatively few
adherentsand membersscatteredthroughout the region, to act effectively as the representative
of the community.

2) The identity of the community


Both groups studied in this thesishave a distinct establishedidentity. The main defining
featureof eachgroup is its religious affiliation. In essence,this is what makesthem different
from other groups. They clearly regardthemselvesas indigenouscommunities, to the extent
that they claim exclusive connectionsto the ancient inhabitantsof the land (Pharaohsand
Phoeniciansrespectively). The church tends to be the only communal institution which
includes the entire community and enjoys legitimacy partly becauseit is a living symbol of
the survival of their distinct identity. Members of both the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite
communities statethat this strong communal identity is not incompatible with national
identity. Yet, it is clear that the disappointmentsexperiencedduring the ongoing struggle to
achieveand retain full participation and equality, have servedto emphasisecommunal

248

identity and led to a more exclusive approach. In turn, this has allowed the churchesto
led
institution,
has
leading
to the patriarchs
the
their
which
communal
position as
maximise
exercising the temporal dimensionof the office. However, this method of church civil
left
identity
led
the groups
has
to
the
and
of
communal
politicisation
representation also
When
disloyalty
to
the
to
religious and communal
state.
of
nation
accusations
vulnerable
identity overlap to the extent describedin the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite traditions, it
its
institution
fulfil
be
that
the
potential as a political actor.
could
religious
expected
would

3) The existenceofa distinct homelandfor the community


Leading from the secondfactor discussedabove,the existenceof a distinct homeland also
Coptic
Orthodox
Both
develop
the
to
the
the
and
a
political
role.
ability of
church
aids
Maronites identify a specific territory astheir ancestralhomeland. However, they do not
it
is
land,
In
that
this
acknowledging
shared
groups.
with
other
claim exclusive ownership of
this way, a homelandcan actually accentuatea senseof belonging to the larger nation state.
The Coptic Orthodox can be regardedasthe Egyptian national church. Due to the historic
importance of the Maronites in the formation of Lebanon,the Maronite church performs a
in
based
function,
the country also have a substantialamount
similar
although other churches
of adherents.
In thesetwo casestudies,the homelandoverlapswith national identity. The concentration
of adherentsin the sameterritory as the patriarchateensuresa direct link with the head of the
church. This would appearto encourageacceptanceof the patriarch undertaking political
activities, especiallythe civil representationof the community to the state. In contrast, the
patriarch of a community which doesnot have a recognisedhomeland and has adherents
locatedthroughout the region is likely to pursuea passivepolitical strategy. A notable
exampleof this type of community would be the Greek Orthodox. There may be tension

249

likely
identities.
The
due
different
to
to
the
are
of
adherents
vary
needs
national
group
within
hindering
to
the
the
adopt one set of policies applicable
of
patriarch
ability
state,
each
within
to all.

Furthermore,the patriarch requiresthe good will of severalgovernmentsand is less

likely to intervene in political affairs of one country. Hence,the existenceof a recognised


homelandwhich correspondswith the national identity of the majority of the adherentswould
increase
likelihood
the
to
of the patriarch undertaking a pronounced
significantly
appear
political role.

4) Yhewillingness of church leaders to utilise their own institutions to cater to the needsof
their community
The casestudiesof PatriarchsShenoudaand Sfeir have illustrated that this has been an
influential trend during their reigns. The needsof the community can be divided into three
have
Both
communities
experienceda period of
and
political.
areas- spiritual, social
decades
before
the
Coptic
The
commenced
several
process
renewal
spiritual renewal.
in
leading
he
Yet
Shenouda.
the
Patriarch
activist
as
a
can take
movement,
patriarchy of
its
The
Maronite
has
for
(with
spiritual
renewal
occurred
success.
credit
other reformers)
under Patriarch Sfeir as a responseto the catastropheof the civil war. There have been
efforts to ensurethat the clergy are responsiveto their parishioners. Church activities have
also beenprioritised such asprayer groups and pilgrimages. One prominent feature of the
Coptic Orthodox renewal processis the SundaySchool Movement which illustrates the
significance attachedto youth ministry. For the Maronites, the Maronite Synod has proved
to be the main venue for church reform. Both renewalshave focusedon the key elements
and traditions of eachfaith. This emphasisesthe distinct heritage of the community and
fulfils the need for belonging which many in both communities feel cannotbe obtained within
the national framework. Church teachingsare also usedto addressthe situation faced by the

250

groups and help provide both meaning and comfort to adherents. A consequenceof the
is
increased
life
hierarchies
the
two
the
the
spiritual
of
churches
attention
on
of
revitalisation
especially the patriarchs.
The secondcategorycoversthe social needsof the community. As discussed,the two
inherent
in
socioeconomicproblems. Although this has always
groupsreside a region with
been an elementof Christian ministry, the recent decline in the standardof living has made
this imperative during the reigns of the presenttwo patriarchs. This has been more prominent
and successfulunder Patriarch Shenouda. As patriarch, he was able to build on the work
undertakenby the generalbishopric of Public, Ecumenicaland Social Serviceswhich had
been establishedby his predecessor. The provision of social servicesis clearly a priority in
the contemporaryCoptic Orthodox Church. As well as the programmessponsoredby the
bishopric, eachindividual bishop devotessignificant resourcesto this work in his diocese.
Through his centralizationpolicies, PatriarchShenoudahas been able to retain control over
this aspectof church ministry. This contrastswith the situation of Patriarch Sfeir. The
monastic ordershave long beenresponsiblefor providing social care in the Maronite church.
While theseactivities have increasedin the post-war period, somemembersof the community
criticise this response,believing that the church should use more of its wealth (particularly
through land ownership) to alleviate the living conditions of its members. Unlike the Coptic
Orthodox, the Maronite church doesnot have a centralizedbody to co-ordinate theseactivities
and although Patriarch Sfeir may desireto increasehis authority on this issue,the independent
nature of the Lebanesemonastic orders limits his influence. By providing theseservices,
both churcheshave taken on many of the social responsibilities normally associatedwith the
state. Consequently,support for the churchesand their respectivepatriarchshas grown in
accordancewith the fulfilment of thesematerial needs.

251

The third areaaddressedby the patriarchsconcentrateson the political concernsof the


have
been
leaders
both
illustrated,
As
able to articulate the aspirationsand
community.
head
interpreted
have
They
the
their
of
as
their
position
community.
respective
grievancesof
Aware
the
become
their
the
to
authority
them
of
to
community.
voice
of
church enable
influence
have
to
in
their
to
they
their
government
use
prestige
attempted
office,
vested
demonstrate
The
that the three
Christian
the
towards
studies
case
communities.
policies
impact
intertwined
However,
and
on
each
other.
are
aspects- spiritual, social and political it would appearthat if the first two are not attained,the patriarch is unlikely to be acceptedby
the community as its civil representative. Therefore in order to retain legitimacy as the
institutions
his
the
must
utilise
of the church to
each
patriarch
people,
political spokesmanof
satisfy all needsof the community.

5) The historical backgroundandpresentpolitical situation of the country ofresidence


In the two countries examinedin this study, religion has retained its social significance.
Throughout the ages,religious leadershave been able to influence the decisionsof the ruling
authorities. In the twentieth century, secularnationalist regimeswere establishedwhich
identity
be
based
that
on
national
rather than religious
proclaimed
citizenship would
affiliation. However, in reality, the separationof religion from the statehas only occurred to
a certain extent. While religious leadersare not active membersof the government in either
by
by
the
their
and
considered
regimes
relevant
many
country,
views are still respected
sectorsof society. Concerningthe two Christian communities,traditionally both the Coptic
Orthodox and Maronite patriarch have always enjoyed an elementof civil authority and long
beenrecognisedas the spokesmanfor their respectivegroup. Without major changes
affecting the social significance of religion in the region, it would be natural that the spiritual
leaderof the community also continuesto act as the civil representative.

252

The presentpolitical environmentin the country where the patriarch residesalso influences
the approachtaken by a group regardingpolitical representation. Few Egyptians or Lebanese
(regardlessof religious affiliation) considerthat their opinions are taken into accountby the
ruling elite. For the Coptic Orthodox, the disillusionment with the nationalist stateis
magnified becausethey had hoped that nationalism would allow them to obtain full
citizenship which had not beenpossible under previous regimes. Instead,the perception of
discrimination has remained,especiallyregarding conversions,church building and the
governmentresponseto communalunrest. Concerningthe Maronites, in contrastto their
unique position where they were able to enjoy substantialpower, in the post-war period, some
of their privileges have been eroded,particularly in terms of political representation. The rise
of political Islam as the main alternativeto the nationalist regimeshas also increased
Christian unease. Thus while in general,Copts and Maronites still identify themselvesas
Egyptians or Lebaneserespectively,many believe that at present,they are unlikely to be
grantedtheir full entitlement of rights as citizens.
This insecurity has beenheightenedby other factors. Firstly, both countries suffer from
severesocioeconomicproblems. Uneven modernization has contributed to the
inequality of wealth, high unemploymentand deteriorating living conditions for much of the
population that are common in Egypt and Lebanon. Secondly,security issuesremain
important. In Egypt, sporadicviolent outburstsoften claim Coptic victims whilst in
Lebanon, Christian areasand political figures have beenthe target of bomb attacks. Finally,
the demographiccontext is also important. In numerical terms, both groups are minorities
and in proportion to the size of the Muslim population, their percentageof the population is in
decline. This addsto the perception of vulnerability. The groupshave found refuge in their
exclusive communal identity which by emphasisingtheir religious affiliation (the main

253

for
from
has
distinguished
the
the
an
opportunity
group
others),
provided
characteristicwhich
religious leaderto undertakea proactive political role.
The absenceof a challengefrom the lay leadershipof eachcommunity can also be
influence
loss
developments.
In
Egypt,
the
to
of the
of political
connected national political
traditional Coptic elite can be traced to the nationalization policies pursued from the 1952
Syrian
Lebanon,
In
the
the
civil
war,
especially
consequences
of
revolution onwards.
influence in the Taif era, severelycurtailed the ability of popular Maronite leadersto
be
in
In
to
there
this
the
appear
crisis
of
state
environment,
would
post-war state.
participate
little choice but to turn inward to the traditional systemof political representationthrough the
is
In
head
the
the
the
the
contrast,
community.
political
role
of
patriarch
of
spiritual
office of
likely to decreaseif the crisis of stateconditions ease. In an environment of relative stability,
be
inclined
believe
Christians
to
that they
would
more
economic growth and political reforms,
lay
leadership
framework.
Thus,
fully
the
of the community
existing
could
participate within
become
However,
be
to
the
expected
predominant.
would
actors,
expenseof religious
at
is
likely
it
that
the
to remain
these
evident
appear
patriarch
would
criteria
are
satisfied,
until
the political spokesmanof the community.

6) Yhepersonality and views of thepatriarch


The two subjectsof this study - Patriarch Shenoudaand Patriarch Sfeir - have had an
astoundingimpact on their respectivechurches. Both are charismaticpersonalitieswho have
managedto revitalise not only their church but also their community. Successon the
political level dependson the strategiespursuedby the spiritual chiefs. The two leaders
believe that it is the duty of the patriarch to voice his opinion on national affairs. However,
sensitivity to national eventsis important in order to avoid hostile reactionsfrom other
groups. The political statementsof Patriarch Shenoudahave a more communal perspective

254

than those issuedby Patriarch Sfeir. Thus, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch is perceived to
representsolely Coptic interestswhilst the Maronite Patriarchhas been termed the patriarch
of Lebanon as many of his views reflect concernsof ordinary Lebanesefrom all confessions.
This perhapsreflects the different situation in the two countries. In Egypt, there is a clear
majority and small Coptic minority. As the only Christian leaderwhose remarks are
guaranteedto be publicised, Patriarch Shenoudatendsto use his position to concentrateon
issuesaffecting the Coptic community. This could lead to the perception that his comments
are only relevant to this small sectorof the Egyptian population. During tenseperiods, this
aspectcan raise doubt on the ability of the patriarch and the Coptic community to be loyal
because
Copts
The
they are the only significant group that
out
precisely
citizens.
are singled
differs from the large majority. In contrast,Lebanonconsistsof various communities of
which the Maronites are only one of the major confessionalgroups. Unlike the Copts, the
Maronites are not facing an overwhelming majority with distinctly different policies. Several
groups sharesomeof the Maronite concernswhich allows some inter-communal co-operation
and lessensthe impressionthat the Maronite patriarch caterssolely for the needsof his
community. This also leadsto a more positive responsefrom other political actors than is
usually experiencedby the Coptic patriarch.
The views of both patriarchsmostly correspondto the concernscited by their communities.
Although the details vary, the topics coveredare similar

- political participation,

discrimination, security and the economy. In general,Patriarch Sfeir is more outspokenand


issuesprecise,detailed commentson key issues. He is also consistentin his views although
certain issuesare prioritised dependingon the political situation at the time. For example,
calls to end the Syrian presenceincreasedwhen the patriarchjudged that attitudes had
changedin 2000 and again from late 2004 onwardswhen Westernpowers renewedtheir
interest in supporting the restorationof Lebaneseindependence. In contrast,Patriarch

255

Shenoudadoesnot addressall the grievanceslisted by the community. In particular, he


in
harmonious
the
communalrelations - church
obstacles
main
rarely mentions one of
building. On this and similar contentiousissuese.g. conversionsand communal violence, he
lack
incident.
This
involved
in
becomes
to
the consistency
tends
to
a
specific
response
only
in
Furthermore,
by
Maronite
the
these
the
views
are
usually
stated
either
patriarch.
achieved
language
in
immediate
incident
the
aftermath
and
contain
emotional
which may
or
midst of an
not help easethe situation. Consequently,it is apparentthat Patriarch Sfeir has been more
in
balancing his position as defenderof his community
Shenouda
Patriarch
than
successful
with sensitivity to the views of other groups. However, it must be acknowledgedthat in this
in
leader
Shenouda
Patriarch
the
the
of
only
main
minority
group,
operates
a more
as
respect,
difficult environmentthan his Maronite counterpart.
The two casestudieshave demonstratedthat the personality and views of the patriarch is
extremely important in determining not only the type of political role but also the impact this
involved
becomes
in political affairs
leader
have
Any
who
religious
will
on wider society.
has to walk a tightrope in order to satisfy the demandsof an aggrievedcommunity without
causing strife betweenthe church/communityand the governmentand/or society. Yet, it is
imperative to achieveand maintain this balancing act, otherwise,communal support for the
position of the patriarch as its civil representativewill ebb while simultaneously,the
credibility accordedto the patriarch by the governmentwill recede. On the one hand, if a
patriarch is too forceful in defendingthe rights of the community, this is likely to have an
adverseeffect as the rest of society including the authorities,may react with hostility. The
obvious exampleof this scenariois the consequencesof Patriarch Shenouda'sassertive
strategyduring the Sadatera. On the other hand, if a patriarch is too timid, this may lead to a
revolt within the community and allow other actorsto challengethe political role of the

256

patriarch as occurredunder the leadershipof Maronite PatriarchKhreish during the civil war
years.
The views articulatedby the patriarch are also important. In order to retain support, he
must be seento reflect the concernsof the entire community. As the casestudieshave
illustrated, religious leadersare also prone to modifying their political strategiesin accordance
with developmentsboth in the country and the wider region. The presentstrategiesadopted
by PatriarchsShenoudaand Sfeir highlight the difficulties encounteredby Christian spiritual
leadersin their questto balancethe conflicting demandsof the different actors,most
importantly the community and the government. Yet, they also demonstratethat this task is
not impossible.

7) The challengesto patriarchal authority


While this study has shown that the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite patriarchs enjoy a
temporal dimension to their office, it is clear that they face severalchallengesto this position.
From the community, this tendsto be over the strategiesfollowed by their leader. Neither
Patriarch Shenoudanor Patriarch Sfeir encountermuch resistancefrom the clergy. In the
Coptic case,critics certainly exist but by a combination of patronageand sanctions,these
voices have mostly beenrenderedineffective. The calm and measuredapproachadoptedby
Patriarch Sfeir has won support from the Synod regardlessof the political views held by
individual bishops. The main rivals to the political role of the Maronite patriarch are the
secularpolitical elite. As they also wish to be the civil representativesof the community,
they clearly challengethe presentposition of Patriarch Sfeir. The eventswhich occurred in
Lebanonduring 2005 have left Maronite politicians in their strongestposition since the end of
the civil war. Currently, they are still divided and hinderedby the ongoing political and

257

security instability but are the group most likely to gain from the easingof the crisis of state
conditions.
In contrast, Coptic secularleadershipremainsweak, and is mostly treatedwith contempt by
the community. The main challengeto the political authority of Patriarch Shenoudais likely
to come from the so-called"Coptic street". The main supportbaseof the patriarch comes
from poor and middle classCopts. Just as they helped the patriarch becometheir legitimate
his
downfall.
In
they
recent years, elementsof
also
engineer
could
political representative,
the community have becomeradicalisedand are increasingly willing to defend their church
has
insults
At
faith
from
the
threats.
present,
patriarch
accommodatedthese activities.
or
and
It is unclear the extent of control that Patriarch Shenoudahas over thesegroups, particularly if
he withdrew his support from them. However, any return to the assertivepolicies of the
Sadatera could have severerepercussionsfor both the patriarch and the community.
Therefore, other memberswould be fearful of the consequencesof such activities. While this
increased
future,
for
be
the
activism could split the
must regardedas a potential challenge
community and damagethe claim of the patriarch to representthe entire community. At
be
Maronite
does
to
the
to
this
type
community.
relevant
present,
not appear
of challenge
Thus, with few credible challengersto their position as communal leader,both patriarchs are
likely to continue this role.
The stateauthorities also have the resourcesto curb the political role of the patriarch. In
Egypt, the governmenthas lent legitimacy to the position of Patriarch Shenoudaas the official
spokesmanfor the Copts by choosingto addresscommunal issuesthrough the millet system.
It would be expectedthat this will continue only as long as it is serving stateinterests. In
Lebanon,governmentscan encouragecampaignsagainstthe patriarch. This will lead to two
outcomes- either the strengtheningor shatteringof communal solidarity. Both patriarchs do
co-operateto a certain extent with the ruling regimes. This can curb excessesfrom the

258

community but possibly at the expenseof voicing legitimate grievances. The responseof
Muslim communitiesto the involvement of the patriarch in political affairs can also challenge
patriarchal authority. On the whole, there is acquiescenceto the idea of a religious leader
undertaking civil representationbut on the understandingthat the patriarch doesnot actually
participate in the decisionmaking process. However, in somecases,the political activities of
the patriarch can be perceivedas acting abovehis dhimmi status,leading to tenseMuslimChristian relations. This is more likely in Egypt than in Lebanondue to the demographic
situation. Consequently,the patriarchsclearly occupy an influential position but their ability
to continue to do so dependson eventsoutsidetheir control. In this sense,they are
vulnerable to challengesboth from within the community and also from wider society.
The extent of challengesto patriarchal authority have an important impact on the political
role of the patriarch. The two examplesusedin this study can be describedas weak
communities with a leadershipvacuum which hasbeenfilled by the religious hierarchy. The
patriarch of a community which enjoyedvarious communalinstitutions and an active and
respectedelite, is unlikely to exercisesignificant political influence. Regardlessof the
internal dynamicsof the community, the policies followed by both the government and wider
society are also important. In order to articulate the concernsof the community, the patriarch
must operatein an environmentwhich allows relative freedom, otherwise his activities and
hence,political significance will be greatly curtailed. Yet, an open environment could
also
have an adverseeffect on the political influence of the patriarch as it is likely to encourage
rival actorswithin the community to participate in national affairs. In contrast, if the view of
the majority society is primarily basedon the dhimmi system,this could lead to restrictions.
In order for the patriarch to successfullyperform this function, he must not only enjoy the
support of the majority of the community but also convince the authorities that it is worth
accommodatinghis demands.

259

8) The existenceand activities ofa diaspora


Both communities examinedin this thesishave a vibrant and growing diaspora. Although
their predecessorshelped establishchurchesfor the migrants, expansionabroadhas multiplied
during the patriarchiesof the presentheadsof the churches. Both have instigated major
initiatives to maintain ties with the migrants and the next generations. The increasein
diocesesabroadalso servesto ensurethat thesechurchesremain under the control of the
dioceses
legally
Maronite
This
they
to
the
although
are
under the
applies even
patriarchate.
direct authority of the Vatican. There has been a distinct trend to emphasisethe unity of the
head
by
focusing
the
the
the
as
spiritual
patriarch
of all adherentsregardless
of
on
role
church
has
due
location.
The
to
the
their
abroad
also
revitalised
expansion
churches
of
geographical
financial support and the senseof belonging to a global community. There has been an
lobby
to
the
groups. Thesemovementshave
ambiguousresponse
activities of emigre
becomeanotheractor that must be balancedby the patriarchs. On the one hand, they
accentuatedifferencesin the homelandand often force the patriarchs to reiterate the loyalty of
the community to the state. However, on the other hand, they can act as a restraint on the
home governmentwho wish to avoid poor publicity abroadespecially in the United States.
The existenceof groupsoutside the traditional homelandalso createsother potential rivals to
the authority of the patriarch. In the Coptic case,Patriarch Shenoudahas had to react to the
persecutioncampaignsrun by somegroupsbut at present,it is apparentthat he still exercises
substantialcontrol over the entire Coptic community. Maronite 6migr6 groups also posed a
challengeto Patriarch Sfeir but with the changeswhich have occurred in 2005, the most
potent of theserivals have returned to Lebanon and can now be classified as internal
challengers.

260

Following the importanceof the diasporato the two communities discussedin this study, it
is clear that this can now be addedas a factor in determining the extent of the political role of
the patriarch. If a Middle EasternChristian community doesnot have an organiseddiaspora,
it risks losing valuable resourcesfrom the region without gaining any benefits abroadas
homeland
links
lose
the
and the church.
with
churches
and
migrants will scatter,attendother
In order to createthis diaspora,it is vital to have a strong church in the homeland which is
include
for
In
its
this
to
to
must
particular,
sending
migrants.
cater
use resources
willing
dynamic priests and maintaining direct links with the patriarchate. If 6migr6 groups are wellhave
from
they
the potential not only to supersedethe
policies,
radical
and
refrain
organised
leadershiprole of the church in the new countriesbut also to influence policies in the
homeland. However, the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite caseswould suggestthat such
from
the community, thus
be
divided
to
support
widespread
groupswill
and struggle attract
by
focusing
its
the
to
on the position of the patriarch as the
allowing
church retain authority
father of the entire community.

The variables discussedabovehavebeenusedto examinethe different factors which enable


This
both
their
leader
to
and
civil
authority
over
community.
spiritual
a religious
exercise
study would suggestthat it is difficult for a patriarch to enjoy a political role if thesecriteria
are not satisfied. Furthermore,the eight variables are not of equal weight. The tradition and
authority investedin the patriarch, the identity of the community, the existenceof a homeland
and the formation of a diasporaall assistreligious institutions in their questto undertake
political representationof the community. Thesefactors highlight that the main
distinguishing feature of the group is their affiliation to a specific religion. In maintaining
the cohesivenessof the community, it is natural that the leaderof the institution that provides
this identity would be given the opportunity to act asboth the spiritual and civil leader of the

261

four
help
determine
is
It
the type of political role exercised
that
these
variables
clear
group.
by the patriarch. If they are not satisfied, it certainly hinders the ability of the patriarch to
if
fulfilled
in
However,
these
temporal
conditions
were
a manner
even
authority.
exercise
that would suggestan active political role, this would not necessarilybe the caseunlessthe
other conditions were also met.
Firstly, it has been demonstratedthat eachindividual patriarch determinesto a large extent
the political role that he will play. He decidesif the church institutions will be usedto fulfil
the needsof the community. It is his opinion of the duties expectedof the head of the church
it
is
his
into
Furthermore,
taken
political views and understandingof the
are
account.
which
be
if
live,
Thus,
in
the
the
which
will
made
public.
even
community
environment which
community have a distinct identity and homeland,without the willingness of the patriarch to
if
Similarly,
is
to
the views of the patriarch are
this
occur.
unlikely
undertakea political role,
not sharedby his community, this also preventshim from exercising temporal authority over
the group.
Secondly,this study has shown that the political situation of the country where the patriarch
have
is
in
determining
a
patriarch
will
an active or passivepolitical
resides, crucial
whether
in
fact,
involvement
In
the
the
patriarch political matters often tends to be a reaction
role.
of
to developmentsin the particular country. Relationsbetweenthe different communities and
influence
both the view and responseof the patriarch.
the
towards
governmentpolicies
group,
If the group is content with its treatmentby both the governmentand society, the need for the
patriarch to intervene in political affairs is less likely. Yet, in other circumstanceswhere the
community perceivesitself to be threatened,this may also ensurethat the patriarch does not
adopt an active political role becausethe risk to the patriarch as an individual and the
community as a whole is consideredto be too great. This would be true regardlessof how

262

lead
be
to
to
the
a strong
would
expected
satisfied
which
were
conditions
of
other
many
political role.
In addition, the challengesto patriarchal authority also affect the type of political role
linked
be
illustrated,
been
to the
has
tend
to
As
these
by
the
closely
patriarch.
enjoyed
internal situation of the country. The position of the secularelite of the community in both
including
has
been
to
ongoing problems
events,
connected
national
clearly
casestudies
Christian
Similarly,
towards
the
policies
government
concerningpolitical participation.
issues
by
and
economic
as well as awarenessof
communities are often shaped wider political
the attitudes of the Muslim majority in the country regarding communal relations. Therefore,
the other variableshighlight the circumstancesthat are more likely to result in an active
is
it
However,
that
leader.
the
by
situation
present
political
a religious
political role
determinesthe environmentthat the patriarch operatesin and limits the options available to
him. Consequently,the importanceof the political and cultural context must be highlighted
in relation to the theoretical approachesconcerningthe relationship between religion and
politics.

Theojy One - The SecularizationThesis

Using the secularization thesis,it might be expectedthat thepolitical role of thepatriarch


would decline with a corresponding increasein the benefitsof the modernizationprocess.
thesebenefitshave not beenwidely experienced,the secularising impact is likely to be
historical
his
to
thus
the
role as the spiritual and civil
minimal,
retain
allowing
patriarch
representativeof the community.

263

if

The secularizationthesis suggeststhat one of the consequencesof modernization is the


decline of the social significance of religion on society. It has been arguedthat the Middle
East, similar to many other areasin the developing world, has experiencedan uneven, rapid
in
Middle
East
Few
the
society
region
members
of
process.
and selectivemodernization
have experiencedthe full benefits of modernization. As a consequenceof the different
processfrom that experiencedin the West, one would not expect secularizationto be
is
likely
in
Instead,
the
to remain
this
of
religion
social
significance
widespread
region.
in
Christians
Middle
(firstly
historical
East
As
the
the
of
experience
strong.
a result of
categorisedas dhimmi and then later under the millet system),patriarchal authority over the
has
been
by
leader
widely
civil
representative
accepted
and
each
community as spiritual
his
In
be
to
traditional
the
Thus,
the
continue
political
role.
expected
group.
patriarch would
late nineteenthand twentieth centuries,there have been severalattemptsby Christians to
develop other meansof representationwhich do not rely on the church hierarchy. In Egypt,
this includes the al-majlis al-milli and the WafJ whilst in Lebanon,the main method was the
creation of the post of presidencyin the mandateand independenceera. Yet even when these
alternativeswere popular within the community, the patriarchsof both churchescontinued to
enjoy influence as the spiritual leaderof eachcommunity and still issuedstatementson
national issues. Consequently,when the modernizationprocessfaltered, they were in a
strong position to reclaim their political role.
When the level of secularizationin a society is low, a religious leader is more likely to be
able to exercisetemporal authority. This likelihood would be increasedif other conditions
were also met e.g. strong communal identity, distinct homelandand the use of church
institutions to aid the community. In contrast,if all aspectsof the modernization process
were experiencedto the extent that Egypt and Lebanoncould be categorisedas post-industrial
societies,the level of secularizationwould be expectedto be high. In this situation, the

264

Although
be
less
the
the
the
to
of
community.
civil
representative
act
as
able
would
patriarch
issue
hierarchies
to
statementson national affairs, thesewould
would continue
church
discussed
if
Even
the
the
above were
of
criteria
several
samesignificance.
possibly not enjoy
in
highly
have
to
the
a
political
role,
an active
patriarch
satisfied and one would expect
In
be
to
temporal
authority.
these
retain
enough
not
necessarily
would
secularizedsociety,
Christian
influence
declining
the
affairs
of
the
on
political
short,
situation could resemble
framework,
developments
the
in
Thus,
theoretical
West.
leaders
this
the
using
spiritual
determining
factors
be
the
to
main
would
authority
within society and challenges patriarchal
dual
However,
the
the
the
the
strong
acceptance
of
of
patriarch.
role
political
regarding
if
in
that
these
two
the
suggests
casestudies
even
patriarch
spiritual and civil role of
lead
in
to
the
the
to
secularizationof
and
region
occur
were
widespreadmodernization
In
have
to
the
this
retain
position.
resources
the
society,
patriarchswould still potentially
in
Christianity
this
the
to
region at present,the
of
role
political
order explain accurately
into
both
historical
the
be
to
take
to
account
thesis
revised
secularization
would need
backgroundand the contemporarypolitical context.

Theojy Two - The "Crisis of State" Thesis

According to the crisis ofstate approach, in this contextofa 'failed environment", it would
be expectedthat Christian institutions wouldfill the vacuumleft by the state by addressing
spiritual andpractical concernsthrough theirpositions asprotectors of Christian identity
and providers ofservices. Yheeasing of the multiple political, socioeconomicand security
lay
be
likely
to
where
secular
the
create an environment
crises affecting
region would
leadership could re-emergeat the expenseof thepatriarch.

265

This study has proposedthat the crisis of stateenvironment,which can be found throughout
the Middle East region, offers a useful insight into the presentpolitical role of the patriarch.
This approachcan be describedas a revised secularizationtheory. Norris and Inglehart stress
that statesin the developing world have struggledto provide human security (absenceof
immediate risk to personalsafety). While some aspectsof modernization have occurred in
the region, the inability of the regimesto provide for the material needsof the population, has
allowed religion to retain its social significance. As has beendemonstrated,both Egypt and
Lebanon fulfil crisis of stateconditions. The failure to deliver developmentand democracy
has affected all the citizens of thesecountries. However, this has addedresonancefor the
Christian communitieswho had relied on the nationalist movementsto guaranteetheir full
is
discrimination
in
Instead,
minimal
and
political participation
participation society.
is
heightened
by
Their
also
sporadic attacks,especially
of
vulnerability
common.
perception
in Egypt. Desperatelyrequiring strong leadership,both communities have beenplagued with
legitimacy
lack
divided
laity
within the community.
often
weak and
representativeswho
Consequently,the church hierarchy has soughtto fill this vacuum. They have used their
from
daily
institution
to
the
leading
the
offer
a
refuge
uncertainty
of
position as
communal
life. In doing so, they have preservedthe group identity, provided for the material needsof
the community and articulated their political concerns. When the level of statecrisis is high,
the political situation of the country where the patriarch resides,becomesthe most important
variable. The other factors, especiallycommunal identity and the personality and views of
the patriarch help determinewhat type of political role the patriarch will undertakewithin this
context. Where theseare strong,the patriarch is likely to enjoy an active role as communal
in
In
the
this
and
security
sharp contrast to
stability
representative.
church offers
situation,
the state. Thus, membersof the group are willing to delegatepolitical representationto the
church leaderswho have attemptedto provide their spiritual and material needs.

266

If the level of statecrisis were to decline, it would be expectedthat the diminished threats
in
less
likely
have
institutions
lead
to
to
a
were
major
role
a situation where religious
would
immediate
lack
danger
Inglehart,
According
Norris
the
to
would mean that
of
and
society.
individuals would be more inclined to rely on their own resourcesin dealing with particular
it
is
institutions.
However,
depending
than
possible that church
on religious
situations rather
leaderswould try to resist thesechangesin order to preservetheir power over the community.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is more likely to be successfulat this. The millet system
appearsto be acceptedby many Egyptians (both Muslim and Christian) as the natural method
to managecommunal relations. Importantly, this is especiallytrue of the ruling regime.
Furthermore,there are few seriouschallengersto patriarchal authority. In contrast,the
Maronite Church has had more experienceof operatingin an environment characterisedby
its
leaders
leadership.
Church
that
the
aware
community
are
perceives
present
strong secular
faced
by
due
Lebanon
the
to
temporary
challenges
since the civil
political role as a
situation
institution
itself
loss
its
from
is
less
likely
be
the
to
the
Thus,
to
there
of
role
resistance
war.
be
This
Maronites.
the
the
can
also
attributed to the recognition
as
political representativeof
Maronite
leaders
by
be
the
the
populist
political
who have reof
supportwhich could obtained
enteredthe Lebanesepolitical systemas a consequenceof the changeswhich occurred in
2005.
However, even if thesecrisis conditions eased,both churchesare likely to continue their
efforts to representthe community. The difference would be that no longer would they enjoy
the extent of influence as exercisedat present. While patriarchal authority, communal
identity and the use of institutions to assistthe community, would help them remain an
important voice in the community, thesefactors alone would not guaranteethat the religious
leaderwould enjoy an active political role. The crisis of statethesis provides a useful
explanationof the political activities of the patriarch in the Middle East. It shows that while

267

the basic premise of the secularizationthesis (the modernizationprocessleads to the decline


be
the
still
relevant to this region, other factors have to
of
social significance of religion) may
be taken into accountto explain why religion still continuesto enjoy an important role in
society and consequently,in political affairs.

Theory Three - The Globalization Thesis

Using the aboveapproach, it would be expectedthat the backlash to the globalization process
would allow the church to lead the responseof the communityas it is thefocalpoint of
communal identity. The tools of the communicationsrevolution would also serve to revitalise
the church, allowing thepatriarch to retain control of the entire community regardless of
geographical location. Accordingly, the identification of the church with the indigenous
culture of the communitywould enable thepatriarch to sustain a durable temporal dimension
to his position.

The third approachexaminedproposedthat the backlashto the effects of the globalization


processin the developing world, has allowed the church to lead this responseas it is the focal
point for the community. The two Christian communities tend to identify economic
problems primarily with the failings of the ruling regimesrather than the globalization
process. However, this would be true of many citizens of the Middle East regardlessof their
religious affiliation. The desire for full participation and equal statusis important and may
explain why it is the main communal institution - the church - which has been at the forefront
of this campaign. It would appearthat domesticreasonsare a more accuratecausefor the
church being involved in political mattersrather than as a backlashto globalization.

268

It is true that the tools of the technology revolution have helped revitalise both churches. In
the homeland, they have helped link remote areasto the patriarchateand servedto encourage
the adherenceof the younger generations. The internet and global travel have proved vital in
have
been
Close
ties
the
maintained with the
combating
challengeof emigration.
congregationsabroadthrough sendingclergy to the new churches,patriarchal visits to these
immigrants.
have
by
Thus,
Egypt
the
tackled the
to
trips
churches
churchesand return
challenge of emigration and ensuredthat this global expansionhas become a positive
developmentfor eachgroup. This aspectof globalization has allowed the churchesto
accentuatetheir significance to the community, thus acting as a foundation for any future
(as
has
Clearly,
the
the
the
of
expansion
of
church
management
political role.
careful
occurred in both the casestudies)can help to raise the profile of the patriarch as the head of
all adherentsof the community and consequently,lend credibility to his political activities.
The globalization approachto religion and politics suggeststhat the church will become
active in the political arenaas the defenderof the particularist culture becauseit is identified
with the indigenousculture of the community. Clearly, an impact of globalization has been
to increasethe importanceof communal identity, the identification of a homeland and the
different
led
has
diaspora.
Yet,
to
this
a
reaction from Christians than that of
existenceof a
Muslims in the region. It is evident that both churchescan be categorisedas the main
defenderof their specific identity. However, this is not the indigenous culture of the society
in which they reside. This has severalimportant repercussions. Firstly, they do not seethe
"West" as an alien culture to the sameextent as Islamic institutions. While the Islamic
civilization has shapedtheir historical experiences,throughout the ages,their religious
identity tends to have allowed Middle East Christians to act as a bridge betweenthe two
worlds. Secondly,they do not perceivethemselvesas under attack from Western culture.
Although the Oriental and Orthodox churchesare certainly wary of Westerninfluence, this

269

tends to be directedtowards the motives of Westernchurchesfor their involvement in the


region than an indication of wider anti-Westernsentiment. Christians in the Middle East are
more likely to agreethat the main threat to their particular identity comes from the dominant
religion and culture of the region - Islam. Thus, while cultural identity is important, the
political role of the patriarch in the Middle East is not adequatelyexplained by the
globalization hypothesis. This approachdoesnot take into accountthe historical and
political context of eachcountry, the personalattributesof the patriarch nor the challengesto
patriarchal authority - variableswhich have beenidentified in this study as crucial in
understandingthe role of the patriarch.

Theojy Four - The Rational Choice Thesis

Firstly, religious institutions offer rewards and compensatorswhich in this context, could
strengthenthe identity and cohesivenessofthe community. This could lead to their
willingness to delegatepolitical representationto thepatriarch.
Secondly,the existenceofa monopolywould suggestthat the religious institution benefited
from a privileged relation with the state. While it would be expectedthat this situation would
lead to a decline in members,it would be counterbalancedby thepotentialfor the patriarch
to use this relationship to securehis position as civil head of the community.
Yhirdly, it would be expectedthat the attitudes of the ruling authorities and society influence
thepolitical strategypursued by the religious leader, resulting in a more assertiveapproach
when the communityis perceived as endangered,

The first proposition suggeststhat strong religious adherenceand the willingness to delegate
political authority to church leaderscan be explainedby the existenceof rewards and

270

hardships
function
the
the
The
the
ofjustifying
afterlife
perform
of
compensators.
rewards
in
dominated
by
faith
being
another
an
environment
community
a
associatedwith
membersof
belonging
(which
has
been
identified
be
Several
of
sense
not
can
religion.
compensators
leisure
identity,
distinct
framework),
the
and
material
services
obtained within
national
identity
in
lead
the
By
the
taking
the
church reinforces comniunal
community,
role
networks.
(potentially at the expenseof national identity). By successfullyusing church resourcesto
leader
in
its
himself
the
the
religious
can
place
members,
provide
spiritual and social needsof
In
dimension
develop
the
the
to
support
of
community.
order to
with
a position
a political
realise this potential, the personality and views of the patriarch are crucial in determining the
type of political role that will be undertaken. While religious vitality may have been
intensified by other "non-religious" factors in the two casestudies,one cannot ascribethe
important.
Culture
In
in
the
these.
to
the
remains
extremely
strong adherence
solely
region
Middle East, religion still retains strong social significance. Thus, deeply-held spiritual
beliefs are still important in understandingthe role that religious institutions have in society.
The secondhypothesisproposedby rational choice theorists suggeststhat when a religious
institution operatesas a monopoly, it enjoys privileged relations with the statebut at the
expenseof a declining membership. Both the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite churchescan
be defined as monopolies within their communities. However, the cultural environment is
important asboth are located in a Muslim dominant areawhere cultural factors are extremely
significant in choosingreligious affiliation. The Coptic Orthodox Church is by far the largest
Christian denominationin Egypt. The church hierarchy is recogniscdby the government as
the leading Coptic institution and in particular, the patriarch is acknowledgedas the head of
the community. In Lebanon,the Maronite church is acceptedas the main denomination for
the community. In the confessionalsystem,the Maronite patriarch is recogniscdas the
spiritual headof the community in the samemanneras the other leadersof the different

271

between
historical
Maronites
However,
the
the
connections
of
and
groups.
as a consequence
the Lebanesestateas well asthe size of the community, the patriarch certainly enjoys a
privileged position in Lebanon.
In both cases,the rational choice approachwould suggestthat thesechurcheshave
have
Yet,
in
decline
they
enjoyed significant and ongoing
experienceda
membership.
illustrate
These
that connectionsto the ruling regime are
cases
periods of religious renewal.
likely to be detrimental to a religious institution only if there is a sharedhistory between the
two. Even in Lebanon,the church leadershave never experiencedtemporal authority to the
extent that was witnessedin Europe. Thus, recognition from the respectivegovernmentshas
if
important
in
Furthermore,
harmed
the
the
religion
remains
not
popularity of either church.
life of a community, the leader of a religious institution which enjoys a monopoly can in fact
find itself in a position where it is possibleto undertakean active political role, especially if
there are few challengesto this authority.
In examining the third strand,it is clear that the strategiespursuedby the patriarchs do alter
dependingon the particular national/regionalsituation. For example,the patriarchs examined
in the casestudieshad different reasonsfor adopting a more assertivestance. Patriarch
Shenoudahas undertakenthis changewhen there is a perception of increasedthreatsto the
wellbeing of the community. However, Patriarch Sfeir adoptedsimilar strategiesin 2000
primarily becauseit was less likely that the community would be targeted(physically at least)
due to its political views. Certainly, both patriarchshave taken into account the situation in
the country when determining their responseto specific issues. They are aware of the
attitudesof the ruling authorities. The regimesnot only have the power to affect the daily
conditions of the community but their policies can also impact on the position of the
individual patriarch. Similarly, the stateof communal relations is also closely watched as the
patriarchsare awarethat the Christian communities are an easytarget for a discontented

272

majority. Thus, once more, the political situation of the country and the views of the
in
by
determining
factors
the
type
the
undertaken
of
political
activities
crucial
patriarch are
patriarch.
The rational choice model offers a different approachto the study of the relationship
betweenreligion and politics. In one sense,it can help explain the reasonswhy people turn
to religious institutions and in the Middle East context,why this may lead to the religious
leadersbecoming involved in political affairs. However, it is evident that the importance of
culture cannot be overstated. In this study, the historical backgroundand political situation
of the relevant country, the personality and views of the patriarch and the challengesto
in
identified
determining
have
been
the political role of the
as
crucial
patriarchal authority
in
discussed
Yet,
the rational choice model, especially
the
these
patriarch.
are not
on
whole,
concerningthe first two strands. Furthermore,certain parts of the model i. e. the link between
a competitive pluralist market and religious vitality are not relevant to the Christian churches
examined. Consequently,the rational choice approachusedon its own, doesnot accurately
explain the continual political role of the patriarch.

Conclusion and Suizizestions


for Future Study

This study has examinedthe political role of the presentpatriarchsof the Coptic Orthodox
and Maronite churches. Both gained control of relatively weak churches(in political terms)
and through a combination of policies which focusedon spiritual, social and political
dimensions,have presidedover revitalised institutions and have consolidatedtheir position as
the spokesmanfor their community. It is important to note that this is not a new policy
which they developedonce in office. Their careersasbishops give a clear indication of these
strategies. Traditionally, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch is not regardedas a political actor.

273

Yet, there is a generalconsensusthat one of the duties of the patriarch is to act as the civil
representativeof the community. The continueduse of the millet systemhas meant that
Egyptians generally regard such activities as acceptable. Due to the centralization measures
adoptedby Patriarch Shenouda,the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchnow enjoys almost complete
control of the community. At present,there are few influential rivals to his role as leader of
the Coptic community. In contrast,the office of the Maronite patriarch has historically had a
temporal dimension and is generally acceptedby the community. Yet at the sametime, there
has always been fierce competition with the secularelite over the leadershipof the
community. The collapseof this leadershipas a consequenceof the civil war allowed
Patriarch Sfeir alone to exercisehis political authority. Yet, due to the history of the office,
the Maronite patriarch is unlikely to enjoy full control of the community to the extent attained
by Patriarch Shenouda. Consequently,while on paper,the Maronite patriarch appearsto
enjoy a more political dimension, in practice, this has actually been fulfilled by the Coptic
Orthodox Patriarch Shenoudawho has successfullytranslatedhis spiritual control over the
church into recognition of his role as the undisputedpolitical leaderof the community.
This thesis has arguedthat the crisis of stateconditions found in Egypt and Lebanon allow
the two patriarchsto utilise their institution to provide all the needsof their community spiritual, social and political. The findings of this study must now be applied to patriarchs of
other Christian communities in the Middle East. Using the crisis of stateapproachand the
intervening variables as a guideline, it would be expectedthat the presentspiritual headsof
churcheswhose leadershave historically enjoyed a temporal dimension, would be more
inclined to act as a civil representativeof the community. An interesting casestudy would be
an examinationof the ChaldeanPatriarch,especiallyin the context of the turbulent
environmentof post-SaddamHusseinIraq. Another patriarch who is usually describedas
politically active is the Latin Patriarchof Jerusalem. Previously, holders of this office did not

274

including
factors
due
the
to
small number of adherents
various
exercise a strong political role
in
With
leaders
Jerusalem.
the patriarchy
Christian
the
religious
and
concentrationof several
has
Patriarchate
Latin
the
first
Sabbah,
Palestinian
take
this
Michel
to
the
position,
of
Again,
Christian
the
Palestinian
the
communities.
assumeda more powerful role amongst
for
the passiveresponseof patriarchs of other
indicate
help
the
reasons
variables should
Another
Orthodox
Greek
tradition.
the
those
avenueto explore
of
communities, particularly
both
the political activities of the
Islamic
be
the
the
environment on
would
significance of
by
be
This
this
to
examining the role of the
achieved
the
could
role.
patriarchs and
response
in
former
Soviet
Union
the
Christian
Eastern
states.
communities
patriarchs of
In examining the relationship betweenreligion and politics, this study aimed to add a new
in
Western
Christianity
that
the
debate.
The
and
of
world
to
this
of
role
subtopic
political
Islam in the Muslim world has beenwidely researched. Yet few scholarshave explored the
has
This
by
dominated
in
one.
another
study
political role of one religion a region
demonstratedthat the political involvement of Christian communities in the Middle East is
in
Jerusalem.
Places
The
in
Holy
interest
the
traditional
than
the
patriarch - the
much wider
in
his
The
become
has
leader
own
right.
actor
case
political
a
the
spiritual
of
community in
developing
leaders
in
the
have
demonstrated
that
world,
religious
situations
studies
certain
have been able to retain a temporal dimensionto their office. The crisis of stateconditions
common to many poorer countrieshave left a leadershipvacuum for people seeking
fulfilment of both material and emotional needs,in particular, a senseof belonging. In the
examplesstudied in this thesis,theseopportunitieshave been graspedby the church
leadership,an indication that this could happenelsewhere. Each church found itself in a
strong position becauseof the extent of patriarchal authority traditionally ascribedto the
religious headof the community. Similar to the lay elite of the past, the patriarchs have
struggledto achievetangible results in their efforts to improve the conditions faced by the

275

community. Yet, by interpreting their role asbeing the communal spokesmanrather than
political activist, they have beenable to retain communal support for their position. At
in
in
flux.
Certainly
Lebanon, major
in
the
the
present,
region remains
political situation
in
it
is
have
Yet,
changes
clear, as Egypt, that the political role of the patriarch
occurred.
remains relevant both to the respectivecommunities and also to wider society.
This study has also demonstratedthat religious identity has retained social significance in
the Middle East. For Christians,this has presenteda dilemma. By accentuatingtheir
communal identity, the church hasprovided a refuge from a difficult environment where the
majority of the population belong to anotherreligion. Yet at the sametime, this strategy
emphasisesthe differencesbetweenthe groups and leavesthe Christian communities more
vulnerable to accusationsand attacks. Both churcheshave attemptedto perform a balancing
act to prove that Christians can be proud of their faith without being disloyal to the state. The
casestudieshave demonstratedthat they do not desireto be treated as a minority with special
rights but insteadas citizens who can freely participate in national affairs.
It is also vital to study the Christian communitiesin the Middle East in order to gain
awarenessof the root causesof the communalunrest which sporadically occurs in the region.
The extent of harmoniousrelations betweenthe communities greatly affects the stability and
security of both Egypt and Lebanon. Furthermore,international interest in the region means
that theseeventscan have wider repercussions. The situation continuesto be unstable,with
eachnew incident (especially in Egypt) challenging the ability of political actors to contain
communal unrest. At present,the Christian communities have chosento delegatecivil
authority to the patriarch. Consequently,his views and responseto Christian-Muslim
relations are extremely significant in determining church-staterelations. The patriarch and
his community are also affectedby wider developmentsin the Middle East. For example, the
rise of political Islam and anti-Westernsentimentcould have an adverseimpact on the

276

Christian communities in the region. In conclusion,this study has soughtto demonstratethe


strategiesusedby two religious communities in their questto gain credible political
representationin a difficult environmentcharacterisedby crisis of stateconditions and
dominated by anotherreligion. It is hoped that this thesishas fulfilled its dual aims - to
provide a detailed examinationof the role of Christian communitiesin the Middle East and to
offer a new insight into the generaldebateon the relationshipbetweenreligion and politics.

277

Bibliography

Books

Abbas, Jobe,"Institutes of ConsecratedLife" in GeorgeNegundatt (ed), Kanonika 10 A


Guide to the EasternCode :A Commentaly on the Code of Canonsof the Eastern Churches
(Rome, Pontificio Instituto Orientale, 2002) pp. 345-392
Abd-allah, Umar F, The Islamist Struggle in Syd (Berkeley, Mizan Press, 1983)
Abdulkarim, Amir, La diasporalibanaiseen France(Paris, Editions L'Harmattan, 1996)
Abouzayd, Shafiq, "The Maronite Church" in The Blackwell Dictionaly of Eastern
Christimi1y (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1999)pp. 305
Adams, CharlesJ, "Mawdudi and the Islamic State" in John L Esposito, (ed), Voices o
ResurgentIslam (Oxford, Oxford University Press,1983)pp. 99-133
Aflaq, Michel, "Nationalism and Revolution" in Sylvia G Haim (ed), Arab Nationalism: An
Antholo-g
Angeles, University of Calif ornia Press,1976)pp. 242-249
_(Los
Ahmad, Khurshid, "The Nature of the Islamic Resurgence"in John L Esposito, (ed), Voices
of ResurgentIslam (Oxford, Oxford University Press,1983)pp. 218-229
Ajami, Fouad, The Vanished Imam: Musa al-Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon (London, IB
Tauris & Co Ltd, 1986)
Ajami, Fouad, The Arab Predicament: Arab Political ThouAt and Practice since 1967
(Cambridge, CambridgeUniversity Press,1981)
Akarli, Engin Deniz, The Long Peace: Ottoman Lebanon 1861-1920(London, IB Tauris &
Co Ltd, 1993)
Anawati, GeorgeC, "The Christian Communities in Egypt in the Middle Ages" in Michael
Gerversand Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (eds), Conversionand Continuity: Indi genousChristia

278

Communities in Islamic Lands : Eighth to EighteenthCenturies(Toronto, Pontifical Institute


of Medieval Studies, 1990)pp. 237-251
Antonius, George,The Arab Awakening (Beirut, Librairie du Liban, 1969)
Momand, Said Amir, "The Emergenceof Islamic Political Ideologies" in JamesA Beckford
and Thomas Luckmann (eds),The ChangingFaceof Religio (London, SagePublications
Ltd, 1991) pp. 109-123
Asad, Christophe,Geopolitique de PEgypte (Bruxelles, Editions Complexe, 2002)
Assad, Maurice, "The Coptic Orthodox Church"in Ion Bria (ed), Martyda Mission: The
Witness of the Orthodox ChurchesTod

(Geneva,World Council of Churches, 1980) pp.

182-185
Atiya, Aziz S, The Coptic Encyclopaedia(New York, MacMillan Publishing Co, 1991)
Ayalon, Ami, "Egypt's Coptic Pandora'sBox" in Ofra Bengio and Gabriel Ben-Dor (eds),
Minorities and the Statein the Arab World (London, Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc, 1999) pp.
53-71

Barakat, Halim (ed), Toward a Viable Lebanon(London, Croorn Helm, 1988)


Batrouney, Trevor, "The Lebanesein Australia 1880-1989"in Albert Hourani and Nadirn
Shehadi(eds) The Lebanesein the World: A Century of Emigration (London, The Center for
LebaneseStudies,IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1992)pp. 413-442
Baylis, John and Smith, Steve(eds),The Globalization of World Politics 2d ed (Oxford,
Oxford University Press,2001)
Bebawi, G H, "The Bishop in the Coptic Church Today" in PeterMoore (ed), Bishops But
What Kind? (London, SPCK, 1982)pp. 68-77
Behrens-Abouseif,Doris, "The Political Situation of the Copts 1798-1923in Benjamin
Braude and Bernard Lewis (eds), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The

279

Functioning of a Plural Sociely Volume Two The Arabic SpeakingLands (London, Holmes
& Meier Publisher Ltd, 1982)pp. 185-205
Belshai, Adel A, "The Placeand the PresentRole of the Copts in the Egyptian Economy:
Traditions and Specializations"in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab
Middle East: The Challengeof the Future (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998) pp. 191-199
Berger, Peter L (ed), The Desecularizationof the World : ResurgentReligion and World
Politics, (Grand Rapids,Wm B GerdmansPublishing Co, 1999)
Betts, Robert Brenton, Christiansin the Arab East (London, SPCK, 1979)
Beyer, Peter,Religion and Globalization (London, SAGE Publications, 1994)
Bill, JamesA and Springborg,Robert, Politics in the Middle East 4h ed (New York, Harper
Collins, 1994)
Bingham-Kolenkow, Anitra "Talking through the Saints" in Nelly van Doom-Harder and
Kari Vogt (eds),BetweenDesert and City: The CoRtic Orthodox Church Today (Oslo,
Institute for ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997)pp. 99-110
Bird, Thomas E and Eva Piddubcheshen(eds),Archiepiscopal and Patriarchal Autonom
(New York, FordhamUniversity, 1972)
Bishop Bakhumios, "Coptic Monasticism" in Ion Bria (ed), Martyda Mission - The Witness
of the Orthodox ChurchesTodU (Geneva,World Council of Churches,1980) pp. 186-191
Bosworth, C E, "The Conceptof Dhimma in Early Islam" in Benjamin Braude and Bernard
Lewis (eds), Christians and Jewsin the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Socicty
Volume Two The Arabic SpeakingLands (London, Holmes & Meier Publisher Ltd, 1982) pp.
37-51
Brock, Sebastian,"The Syriac Churchesin EcumenicalDialogue on Christology" in Anthony
O'Mahony (ed), EasternChristianity: Studiesin Modem Histoly. Religion and Politics
(London, Melisende, 2004) pp. 44-65

280

Bruce, Steve,Politics and Religio (Cambridge,Polity Press,2003)


Bruce, Steve,Choice and Religion: A Critigue of Rational Choice Theo

(Oxford, Oxford

University Press,1999)
Bruce, Steve,Reli %zion
in the Modem World: from Cathedralsto Cults (Oxford, Oxford
University Press,1996)
Bruce, Steve,"Pluralism and Religious Vitality" in SteveBruce (ed), Religion and
Modernization (Oxford, ClarendonPress,1992)pp. 170-194

Cannuyer,Christian, Coptic Egypt: The Christiansof the Nile (London, Thames & Hudson
Ltd, 2001)
Carter, B L, The Copts in Egyptian Politics (London, Croom Helm, 1986)
Casanova,Jose,"Globalizing Catholicism and the Return to a "Universal" Church" in
SuzanneHoeber Rudolph and JamesPiscatori (eds),TransnationalReligion & Fading States
(Oxford, Westview Press,1997)pp. 121-143
Casanova,Jose,Public Religions in the Modem World (London, The University of Chicago
Press,1994)
Ceccarelli-Morolli, Danilo, "Sourcesof the Canonsof CCEO" in GeorgeNegundatt (cd),
Kanonika.10 A Guide to the EasternCode: A Commentaly on the Code of Canonsof the
Eastern
(Rome, Pontificio Instituto Orientale,2002) pp. 897-903
-Churches
Chabry, Laurent and Chabry, Annie, Politique et minorites au ProcheOrient : Les raisons
d'une explosion (Paris, Maisonneuveand Larose, 1984)
Chartouni-Dubarry,May, "Hizballah : from Militia to Political Party" in RosemaryHollis and
Nadim Shehadi(eds), Lebanonon Hold: Implications for Middle East Peace(London, The
Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996)pp. 59-62

281

Chiramel, Jose,"Hierarchical Structuring in the Oriental Legislation'in Jose Chiramel and


Kuriakos Bharanikulangara(eds),The Code of Canonsof the EasternChurches :A Study and
InteMretation (Alwaye, St ThomasAcademy for Research,1993)pp. 91-107
Chitham, E J, The Coptic Communily in Egypt : Spatial and Social Change(Durham, Centre
for Middle Easternand Islamic Studies, 1986)
Clifford, James,"Diasporas" in StevenVertovec and Robin Cohen (eds), Migration. diasl2oras
215-251
Ltd,
1999)
Publishing
Elgar
Edward
(Cheltenham,
transnationalism
pp.
and
Code of Canonsof the EasternChurchesLatin-English Edition (Washington, Canon Law
Society of America, 1990)
Cohen, Robin, "Rethinking "Babylon" iconoclastic conceptionsof the diasporic experience"
in StevenVertovec and Robin Cohen (eds),Migration, diasporasand transnationalism
(Cheltenham,Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1999)pp. 252-265
Collings, Deirdre (ed), Peacefor Lebanon?From War to Reconstruction(London, Lynne
Rienner Publishers, 1994)
Collins, Randall, "Stark and Bainbridge, Durkhcim and Weber: Theoretical Companions" in
LaurenceA Young (ed), Rational Choice Theor and Religion: Summa!j and Assessment
(London, Routledge, 1997)pp. 161-180
Conner, Walker, "The Impact of Homelandsupon Diasporas" in Gabriel Sheffer (ed), Modern
Diasporasin International Politics (London, Croorn Helm, 1986)pp. 16-46
Corbon, Jean,"The Churchesof the Middle East : Their Origins and Identity from their Roots
in the Pastto their Opennessto the Presenf'in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities In
the Arab Middle East : The Challengeof the Future (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998) pp. 92110

Corm, Georges,Conflits et identites au Moyen Orient 1919-1991(Paris, Arcautere, 1992)

282

Corm, Georges,"Myths and Realities of the LebaneseConflict" in Nadim Shehadi and Dana
Hoffar Mills (eds), Lebanon: A Histoly of Conflict and Consensus(London, IB Tauris & Co
Ltd, 1988) pp. 258-274
Courbage,Youssef and Phillipe Fargues,Christiansand Jewsunder Islam (London, IB Tauris
Publishers, 1992)
Cragg, Kenneth, The Arab Christian: A History in the Middle East (London, Moubray,
1992)

Dalrymple, William, From the Holy Mountain: A Joumey in the Shadow of Byzantium
(London, Harper Collins Publishers, 1997)
Dark, KR (ed), Religion and International Relations(London, MacMillan PressLtd, 2000)
Dawn, C Ernest,"The Origins of Arab Nationalism" in Rashid Khalidi, Lisa Anderson,
Muhammad Muslih and ReevaS Simen (eds),The Origins of Arab Nationalism (New York,
Columbia University Press,1991) pp. 3-30
Dekmejian, R Hrair, Islam in Revolution. Fundamentalismin the Arab World (Syracruse,
SyracruseUniversity Press,1985)
Dessouki, Ali E Hillal, "The Islamic Resurgence: Sources,Dynamics and Implications" in
Ali E Hillal Dessouki (ed), Islamic Resurgencein the Arab World (New York, Praeger
Publisher, 1982)pp. 3-31
Dobbelaere,Karel, "The Secularizationof Society?SomeMethodological Suggestions"in
Jeffrey K Hadden and Ansari Shupe(eds), Secularizationand FundamentalismReconsidered
Religion and the Political Order Volume Three (New York, ParagonHouse, 1989) pp. 27-44
Donohue,John J, Muslim-Christian Relations: Dialogue in Lebanon (Washington DC, Center
for Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs, 1995)

283

Van Doom-Harder, Nelly, "Kyrillos VI (1902-1971): Planner,Patriarch and Saint" in Nelly


van Doom-Harder and Kari Vogt (eds),BetweenDesert and City: The Coptic Orthodox
Church Toda (Oslo, Institute for ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997) pp. 230242

Eibner, John (ed), Christiansin Egypt: Church Under Sigge(London, Institute for Religious
Minorities in the Islamic World, 1993)
Esman, Milton J, "Diasporas and International Relations" in Gabriel Sheffer (ed), Modem
Diasporas in International Politics (London, Croom.Helm, 1986)pp. 333-349
Esposito, John and Watson,Michael, Religion and Global Order (Cardiff, University of
Wales Press,2000)
Esposito, John L, The Islamic Threat : MAh or Reality? (Oxford, Oxford University Press,
1999)
Esposito, John L (ed), Voices of ResurgentIslam (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1983)
Evetts, B, "History of the Patriarchsof the Coptic Church of Alexandria" translated from
Severus(Ibn al-Mukaffa), Bishop of Muhinumain in R Graffin and F Nau (eds), Patrologi
Orientalis (Paris, Librarie de Paris, 1907)pp. 105-214and pp. 383-518
Exholation Apostolique Post-Syl2odale"Une EsperanceNouvelle pour le Liban" Vatican,
Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997)

Farah,Nadia Ramsis,Religious Strife in Egypt : Crisis and Ideological Conflict in the


Ee-emgnties
(London, Gordon and Breach SciencePublishers, 1986)
Fargues,Phillipe, "The Arab Christiansof the Middle East: A Demographic Perspective" in
Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communitiesin the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of th
Futu (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998)pp. 48-66

284

Faris, Hani A, "The Failure of Peacemakingin Lebanon, 1975-1989"in Deirdre Collings (cd),
Peace for Lebanon?From War to Reconstruction(London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994)
pp. 17-30
Faris, John D, "The Codification of EasternCanonLaw" in GeorgeNegundatt (ed), Kanonika
10 A Guide to the EasternCode: A CommentM on the Code of Canonsof the Eastern
Churches (Rome, Pontificio Instituto Orientale, 2002) pp. 39-56
Faris, John D, "Patriarchal Churches"in GeorgeNegundatt(ed), Kanonika 10 A Guide to the
Eastem Code: A CornmentM on the Code of Canonsof the Eastern
(Rome,
-Churches
Pontificio Instituto Orientale,2002) pp. 155-200
Faris, John D, EasternCatholic Churches: Constitution and Governance(New York, Saint
Maron Publications, 1992)
Fattal, Antoine, Le Statut Legal des non-Musulmansen Pgysd-Islam (Beyrouth, Imprimerie
Catholique, 1958)
Finke, Roger, "rhe Consequencesof Religious Competition: Supply-Side explanations for
Religious Change" in LawrenceYoung (ed), Rational Choice Theoly and Religion
SummarXandAssessment(London, Routledge, 1997)pp. 46-65

Goddard,Hugh, A Histoly of Christian-Muslim Relations (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University


Press,2000)
Gruber, Mark Francis, "Coping with God: Coptic Monasticism7in Nelly van Doom-Harder
and Kari Vogt (eds),BetweenDesert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Toda (Oslo,
Institute for ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997)pp. 52-66
Guazzone,Laura (ed), The Islamist Dilemma: the Political Role of Islamist Movements in
the C:)nternnorarvArab World (Reading,Gamot Publishing Ltd, 1995)

285

Haddad, Robert M, "Conversion of EasternOrthodox Christiansto the Unia in the


Seventeenthand the Eighteenth Centuries" in Michael Gerversand Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi
(eds), Conversion and Continuity: IndigenousChristian Communitiesin Islamic Lands:
Eighth to EighteenthCenturies(Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1990) pp.
449-459
Haddad, Robert M, "Eastern Christians in Contemporary Arab Society" in Kail C Ellis (ed),
The Vatican, Islam and the Middle East (Syracruse,SyracruseUniversity Press, 1987) pp.
201-218
Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck, "Christians in a Muslim State: The RecentEgyptian Debate" in
Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and Wadi Zaidan Haddad(eds), Christian-Muslim Encounters
(Gainesville, University Pressof Florida, 1995)pp. 381-398
Hadden, Jeffrey K, "Desacralizing SecularizationTheory" in Jeffrey K Hadden and Ansari
Shupe(eds), Secularizationand FundamentalismReconsidered:Religion and the Political
Order Volume Three (New York, ParagonHouse, 1989)pp. 3-26
Haim, Sylvia G (ed), Arab Nationalism: An Antholog (Los Angeles, University of
California Press,1976)
Haijar, Joseph,Les ChretiensUniates du ProcheOrient (Paris, Editions du Seuill, 1962)
Hanf, Theodor, Coexistencein Wartime Lebanon(London, The Centre for LebaneseStudies,
1993)
Hardy, Edward Rochie, Christian E=t

: Church and People : Christianity and Nationalism in

the Patriarchateof Alexandria (New York, Oxford University Press,1952)


Hasan,S S, Christians versusMuslims in Modem Egypt: The Century-long Struggle for
Coptic Equality (New York, Oxford University Press,2003)
el-Hayek, Elias, "Struggle for Survival: the Maronites of the Middle Ages" in Michael
Gerversand Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (eds),Conversionand Continuily: Indigenous Christian

286

Communities in Islamic Lands: Eidth to Eip-hteenthCenturies(Toronto, Pontifical Institute


of Medieval Studies, 1990)pp. 407-421
van Hear, Nicholas, New Diasporas: The massexodus,dispersaland regrouping of Migrant
Communities (London, UCL Press,1998)
Hechter, Michael, "Religion and Rational Choice Theory" in LawrenceYoung (ed), Rational
Choice Theoly and Religion: Sumniga and Assessment(London, Routledge, 1997) pp. 147159
Hehir, J Bryan, "The Catholic Church and the Middle East: Policy and Diplomacy" in Kail C
Ellis (ed), The Vatican. Islam and the Middle East (Syracruse,SyracruseUniversity Press,
1987) pp. 109-124
Heikal, Mohamed, Autumn of Fujy: The Assassinationof Sadat(London, Corgi Books,
1984)
Helmick, Raymond G, "Internal LebanesePolitics: The LebaneseFront and Forces" in Halim
Barakat (ed), Toward a Viable Lebanon(London, Croom Helm, 1988)pp. 306-323
Herbert, David, Religion and Civil Society: Rethinking Public Religion in the Contempora
Worl (Aldershot, Ashgate,2003)
Hervieu-Leger, Daniele, "Present-DayEmotional Renewals: The End of Secularization or the
End of Religion?" in William H SwatosJnr (ed), A Future for Religion? New Paradigms for
Social Analysis (London, SagePublications, 1993)pp. 129-148
Hitti, Phillip K, Histo1y of the Arabs I Ohed (London, MacMillan, 1970)
Hollis, Rosemaryand Nadirn Shehadi(eds),Lebanonon Hold: Implications for Middle East
Peace(London, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996)
Homer, Nonnan, A Guide to Christian Churchesin the Middle East (Eikhart, Mission Focus
Publications, 1989)

287

Hourani, Albert and Shehadi,Nadim (eds), The Lebanesein the World: A Centuly o
Emigration (London, The Center for LebaneseStudies,IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1992)
Hourani, A H, Minorities in the Arab World (London, Oxford University Press,1947)
Hudson, Michael C, "The Problem of Authoritative Power in LebanesePolitics: Why
consociationalism failed" in Nadim.Shehadiand DanaHoffar Mills (eds),Lebanon :A
History of Conflict and Consensus(London, IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1988)pp. 224-239
Huntington, SamuelP, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remakingof World Order
(London, Touchstone,1998)

Iannaccone,Laurence1,"Rational Choice: Framework for the Scientific Study of Religion7'


in Lawrence Young (ed), Rational Choice Theojy and Religion: Sunimm and Assessment
(London, Routledge, 1997)pp. 25-45
Irani, GeorgeEmile, The Papacyand the Middle East (Notre Dame, University of Notre
Dame Press,1986)
Issawi, Charles,"The Historical Background of LebaneseEmigration 1800-1914" in Albert
Hourani and Nadim Shehadi(eds) The Lebanesein the World: A Centuly of Emigration
(London, The Center for LebaneseStudies,IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1992)pp. 13-31

Jaber,Hala, Hezbollah : Born with a vengeance(London, Fourth Estate, 1997)


Jankowski, James,"Egypt and Early Arab Nationalism, 1908-1922in Rashid Khalidi, Lisa
Anderson, Muhammad Muslih and Reeva.S Simen (eds),The Origins of Arab Nationalism
(New York, Columbia University Press,1991)pp. 243-270
Johnston,Douglas, "Beyond Power Politics" in Douglas Johnstonand Cynthia Sampson
(eds), Religion : The Missing Dimension of Statecraft(Oxford, Oxford University Press,
1994)pp. 3-7

288

Juergensmeyer,Mark, The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular
State (London, University of California Press,1993)
Jureidini, Paul A and Price, JamesM, "Minorities in Partition: The Christians of Lebanon" in
RD McLaurin (ed), The Political Role of Minorily Groupsin the Middle East (New York,
Praeger Publishers, 1979)pp. 156-187

Karim, Karim H, "Mapping diasporicmediascapes"in Karim H Karim (ed), The Media of


Diaspora (London, Routledge,2003) pp. 1-17
Karpat, Kamal H, "Millets and Nationality: The Roots of the Incongruity of Nation and State
in the post-OttomanEra7in Benjamin Braude and BernardLewis (eds),Christians and Jews
in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society Volume Two The Arabic
Speaking Lands (London, Holmes & Meier PublisherLtd, 1982)pp. 141-169
Kedourie, Elie, Islam in the Modem World (London, Mansell Publishing, 1980)
Kepel, Gilles, The Revengeof God: The Resurgenceof Islam, Christianity and Judaismin
the Modem Worl (Cambridge,Polity Press,1994)
Khalaf, Samir and Denoeux,Guilain, "Urban Networks and Political Conflict in Lebanon" in
Nadim Shehadiand Dana Hoffar Mills (eds),Lebanon: A Histoly of Conflict and Consensus
(London, IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1988)pp. 181-200
Khalaf, Samir, "Communal Conflict in NineteenthCentury Lebanon" in Benjamin Braude
and Bernard Lewis (eds), Christians and Jewsin the Ottoman Empire : The Functioning of a
Plural Sociely Volume Two The Arabic SpeakingLands (London, Holmes & Meier Publisher
Ltd, 1982)pp. 107-134
Khalidi, Walid, Conflict and Violence in Lebanon: Confrontation in the Middle East
(Cambridge,Centre for International Affairs, 1979)
Khalifah, Bassem,The Rise and Fall of Christian Lebanon (Toronto, York PressLtd, 1997)

_el-Khawaga,

Dina, "The Political Dynamics of the Copts: Giving the Community an active

]?-ole" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge
of the Future (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998)pp. 172-190
el-Khawaga, Dina, "The laity at the Heart of the Coptic Clerical Reform" in Nelly van DoornHarder and Kari Vogt (eds),BetweenDesert and Cily: The Coptic Orthodox Church Tod
(Oslo., Institute for ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997)pp. 142-166
el-Khazen, Farid, "The PostwarPolitical Process: Authoritarianism by Diffusion" in Theodor
Hanf and Nawaf Salarn(eds),Lebanonin Limbo: Postwar Society and Statein an Uncertain
Regional Enviromnent (Baden-Baden,Nomos Verlagsgesellsehaft,2003)
el-Khazen, Farid, Prospectsfor Lebanon- Lebanon's First PostwarParliamentm Electio
1992 : An Imposed Choice (Oxford, Centre for LebaneseStudies, 1998)
el-Khazen, Farid, Poers in Lebanon 12: The CommunalPact of National Identities (Oxford,
Centre for LebaneseStudies, 1991)pp. 3-68
Khoury, Philip, Syda and the French Mandate (London, IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1987)
King, Archdale A, The Rites of EasternChristendom(Rome, Catholic Book Agency, 1947)
Kramer, Gudrun, I'Dhimmi or Citizen? Muslim-Christian Relations in Egypt" in Jorgen S
Nielson (ed), The Christian-Muslim Frontier: Chaos,Clash or Dialogu (London, IB Tauris,
1998) pp. 33-47
Kramer, Martin, Arab Awakening and Islamic Revival (London, TransactionPublishers,
1996)

Labaki, Boutros, "The Christian Communities and the Economic and Social Situation in
Lebanon" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communitiesin the Arab Middle East: The
Challenge0 Lthe
-Future

(ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998)pp. 222-258

290

Iabaki,

Boutros, "LebaneseEmigration During the War (1975-1989) in Albert Hourani and

Nadirn

Shehadi(eds),The Lebanesein the World: A Centuly of Emigration (London, The

Center for LebaneseStudies,IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1992)pp. 605-626


Labaki, GeorgeT, The Maronites in the United States(Beirut, Notre Dame University of
Louaize Press, 1993)
Laurent, Annie, "Le Dialogue Islamo-Chretienau.Liban a la lumiere du Synode Special des
Eveques" in Marie-ThereseUrvoy (ed), En Hommageau PereJacquesJomier (Paris, Editions
du Cerf, 2002) pp. 305-320
van Leeuwen, Richard, The Political Emancipationof the Maronite Church in Mount
Lebanon Q 736-1842) (Amsterdam,Middle EastResearchAssociatesOccasionalPaperNo. 8,
1990)
Lesch, Ann M, "The Muslim Brotherhoodin Egypt: Reform or Revolution" in Matthew C
Moen & Lowell S Gustafson(eds),The Religious Challengeto the State(Philadelphia,
Temple University Press,1992)pp. 182-208
Lia, Brynjar, The Society Of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt : The Rise of an Islamic Mass
Movement 1928-1942(Reading,GarnetPublishing Limited, 1998)
Longrigg, StephenH, Syda and LebanonUnder French Mandate (New York, Octagon Books,
1972)

Maddy-Weitzman, Bruce and Inbar, Efraim (eds),Religious Radicalism in the GreaterMiddle


East (London, Frank Cass,1997)
Maila, Joseph,"The Arab Christians: From the EasternQuestionto the RecentPolitical
Situation of the Minorities" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle
East : The Challengeof the Future (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998)pp. 25-47

291

Marini,

Francis John, The Power of the Patriarch : An Historical-Judical Study of Canon 78

of the Codex CanonumEcclesiarumOrientalium (Rome,Pontificium Instituturn Orientale


Facultas Iuris Canonici, 1994)
Martin, David, The Religious and the Secular(London, Routledge, 1969)
Martin, Maurice, "The Renewal in Context 1960-1990"in Nelly van Doom-Harder and Kari
Vogt (eds), Between Desert and Cily: The Coptic Orthodox Church Todgy (Oslo, Institute for
Comparative Researchin Human Culture, 1997)pp. 15-21
Masriya, Y, A Christian Minorily: the Copts in Egypt (The Hague,Nijhoff, 1976)
Masters, Bruce, Christians and Jewsin the Ottoman Arab World: The Roots of Sectarianism
(Cambridge, CambridgeUniversity Press,2001)
Ma'oz, Moshe, "Communal Conflicts in Ottoman Syria during the Reform Era: The Role of
Political and Economic Factors" in Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis (eds), Christians and
Jews in the Ottoman Emvire : The Functioning of a Plural Society Volume Two The Arabic
Speaking,Lands (London, Holmes & Meier PublisherLtd, 1982)pp. 91-105
McAuliffe, JaneDammes,Quranic Christians: An analysisof Classical and Modem Exgesis
(Cambridge, CambridgeUniversity Press,1991)
McDowall, David, Lebanon: A Conflict of Minorities (London, Minority Rights Group Ltd,
1983)
McIntyre, John D, The Boycott of the Milner Mission: A Study in Egyptian Nationalism
(New York, PeterLong, 1985)
McLaurin, R D, The Political Role of Minority Groupsin the Middle East (New York,
PraegerPublishers, 1979)
Meinardus, Otto F, Coptic Saints and Pilgrimages(Cairo, The American University in Cairo
Press,2002)

292

Meinardus, Otto F, Two ThousandYears of Coptic Christianit (Cairo, The American


University in Cairo Press,1999)
Meinardus, Otto F, Monks and Monasteriesof the Egyptian Deserts(Cairo, The American
University in Cairo Press,1989)
Meinardus, Otto F, Christian Egypt : Ancient and Modem (Cairo, The American University in
Cairo Press,1977)
Meinardus, Otto F, Christian Egypt: Faith and Life (Cairo, The American University in Cairo
Press,1970)
Meinardus, Otto, "The Coptic Church in Egypt" in AJ Arberry, Religion in the Middle East.
Three Religions in Concord and Conflict (London, CambridgeUniversity Press,1969)pp.
423-453
el-Meskeen,Father Matta, Coptic Monasticism and the Monastely of St. Macarius (St
Macarius, Monastery of St. Macarius, 2001)
Milton-Edwards, Beverley, "Climate of Changein Jordan's Islamist Movemenf'in Abdel
SalarnSidahmedand AnnoushiravanEhteshami(eds),Islamic Fundamentalism(Oxford,
Westview Press,1996)pp. 123-142
Mitchell, Richard P, The Society Of the Muslim Brothers (London, Oxford University Press,
1969)
Moosa, Matti, The Maronites in Histo

(Syracruse,SyracruseUniversity Press,1986)

Moussalli, Ahmad S, Moderate and Radical Islamic Fundamentalism: The Quest for
Modernity, Legitimacy and the Islamic State(Gainsville, University Pressof Florida, 1999)
Moyser, George(ed), Politics and Religion in the Modem World (London, Routledge, 1991)
Murden, Simon, "Culture in world affairs" in Baylis, John and SteveSmith (eds),The
Globalization of World Politics 2nded (Oxford, Oxford University Press,2001) pp. 456-469

293

Murden, Simon, "Religion and the political and social order in the Middle Easf' in John
Espositoand Michael Watson, Religion and Global Order (Cardiff, University of Wales
Press,2000) pp. 149-166

Naff, Alixa, "LebaneseImmigration into the United States: 1880to the Present"in Albert
Hourani and Nadim Shehadi(eds) The Lebanesein the World: A Centujy of Emigratio
(London, The Center for LebaneseStudies,IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1992)pp. 141-165
Naguib, Saphinaz-Amal,"The Era of Martyrs: Texts and Contextsof Religious Memory" in
Nelly van Doom-Harder and Kari Vogt (eds),BetweenDesert and City: The Coptic
Orthodox Church Toda (Oslo, Institute for ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997)
pp. 121-141
An-Naim, Abdullah A, 'Tolitical Islam in National Politics and International Relations" in
PeterL Berger (ed), The Desecularizationof the World : ResurgentRelijaion and World
Politics (Grand Rapids, Wrn B GerdmansPublishing Co, 1999)pp. 103-121
Nasr, SeyyedVali Reza,Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism (Oxford, Oxford
University Press,1996)
Negundatt,George(ed), Kanonika 10 A Guide to the EasternCode: A Commentaly on th
Codeof Canonsof the EasternChurches(Rome, Pontificio Instituto Orientale, 2002)
Nisan, Mordechai, Minorities in the Middle East: A Histojy of Struggle and Self-Expression
(London, McFarland& Company, 1991)
van Nispen tot Sevenaer,Christiaan,"Changesin RelationsbetweenCopts and Muslims
(1952-1994)in the Light of the Historical Experience" in Nelly van Doom-Harder and Kari
Vogt (eds),BetweenDesert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Todgy (Oslo, Institute for
ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997)pp. 22-34

294

Norris, Harry and Taylor, David, "The Christians" in Richard Tapper (cd), Someminorities in
the Middle East London, SOAS Centre of Near and Middle EasternStudies, 1992)
Norris, Pippa and Inglehart, Ronald, Sacredand Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide
(Cambridge, CambridgeUniversity Press,2004)
Northrup, Linda S, "Muslim-Christian Relations During the Reign of the Mamluk Sultan alMansur Qalawun AD 1278-1290" in Michael Gerversand Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (eds),
Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands: Eighth to
Eighteenth Centuries(Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1990) pp. 253-261
Norton, Augustus Richard and Jullian Schwedler,"Swiss Soldiers,Ta'if Clocks and early
in
"
happy
Deirdre Collings (ed), Peacefor Lebanon?From War
Toward
elections :
a
ending?
to Reconstruction(London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994)pp. 45-65
Nuseibeh,Hazem Zaki, The Origins of Arab Nationalism (London, Kennikat Press,1956)

O'Mahony, Anthony, "Eastern Christianity in Modem Iraq" in Anthony O'Mahony (ed),


EasternChristianity: Studiesin Modem History. Religion and Politics (London, Melisende,
2004) pp. 11-43
O'Mahony, Anthony, "The Politics of Religious Renewal : Coptic Christianity in Egypt" in
Anthony O'Mahony (ed), EasternChristianijy: Studiesin Modem Histoly. Religion and
Politics (London, Melisende, 2004) pp. 114-159
Owen, Roger, State.Power & Politics in the Making of the Modem Middle East (London,
Routledge, 1992)
Owen, Roger, "The Economic History of Lebanon 1943-1974: Its salient features" in Halim
Barakat (ed), Toward a Viable Lebanon(London, Croom Helm, 1988)pp. 27-41

Pacini, Andrea (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challengeof the
Future (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998)
Pacini, Andrea, "Socio-Political and Community dynamics of Arab Christians in Jordan,
Israel and the autonomousPalestinianTerritories" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian
Communities in the Arab Middle East : The Challengeof the Future (ClarendonPress,
Oxford, 1998)pp. 259-285
Parry, Ken et al (eds), The Blackwell Dictionga of EasternChristianily (Oxford, Blackwell
Publishers,2001)
Partrick, TheodoreHall, Traditional EasternChristianity: A Histoly of the Coptic Orthodox
Church (Greensboro,Fisher Park Press,1996)
Phares,Walid, LebaneseChristian Nationalism : The Rise and Fall of an Ethnic Resistance
(London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1995)
Picard, Elizabeth, "The Dynamics of the LebaneseChristians : From the Paradigmof the
Ammiyyat to the Paradigmof Hwayyek" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the
Arab Middle East: The Challengeof the Future (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998) pp. 200-221
Picard, Elizabeth, Lebanon: A ShatteredCountly : Myths and Realities of the wars in
Lebanon(London, Holmes & Meier, 1996)
Picard, Elizabeth, The LebaneseShia and Political Violence (Geneva,United Nations
ResearchInstitute for Social Development, 1993)
Piscatori, James,"Religious Transnationalismand global order, with particular consideration
Global
(Cardiff,
Order
in
Watson,
Religion
Islam"
Michael
John
Esposito
and
of
and
University of Wales Press,2000) pp. 66-99
Podeh,Elie, "Egypt's Struggle againstthe Militant Islamic Groups" in Bruce MaddyWeitzman and Efraim Inbar (eds),Religious Radicalism in the GreaterMiddle East (London,
Frank Cass,1997)pp. 43-61

296

Qubain, Fahim, Crisis in Lebanon(Washington,Middle East Institute, 1961)

Rabbath,Edmond, "The Common Origins of the Arabs" in Haim, Sylvia G (ed), Arab
Nationalism: AnAntholo-g (Los Angeles,University of California Press,1976)pp. 103-119
Rabbath,Edmond, La Formation Historique du Liban Politique et Constitutionel (Beirut,
Publications de Funiversite Libanaise, 1973)
Rahmy, Joseph,Le Liban et la France: Documentspublies 12arle PatriarcheMaronite (Beirut,
Al Maarad, 1936)
Randal, JonathanC, Going All The Wgy : Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers and the
War in Lebanon (New York, The Viking Press,1983)
Ranstorp,Magnus, Hizb'allah in Lebanon(Basingstoke,MacMillan PressLtd, 1997)
Reiss,Wolfram, "Renewal in the Coptic Orthodox Church, notes of the Ph.D thesis of Revd
Dr Wolfram Reiss" translatedby Cornelis Hulsman, Religious News Service from the Arab
World_22ndNovember 2002
Roberson,Ronald, The EasternChristian Churches:A Brief Survey 6the (Rome, Edizoni
Orientalia Christiana, 1999)
Robertson,Roland, "A New Perspectiveon Religion and Secularizationin the Global
Contexf 'in Jeffrey K Hadden and Ansari Shupe(eds), Secularizationand Fundamentalism
Reconsidered: Relijzion and the Political Order Volume Three (New York, ParagonHouse,
1989)pp. 63-77
Robertson,Roland, Globalization: Social Theoly and Global Culture (London, SAGE
Publications Ltd, 1992)

297

Robertson,Roland, "Globalization, Politics and Religion" in JamesA Beckford and Thomas


Luckmann (eds),The Changing Faceof Religio (London, SagePublications Ltd, 1991)pp.
10-23
Rondot, Pierre, Les Chretiensd'Orient (Paris,J Peyronnet, 1955)
Rowe, Paul S, "The Sheepand the Goats?Christian Groups in Lebanon and Egypt in
ComparativePerspective"in Maya Shatzmiller (ed), Nationalism and Minority Identities in
Islamic Societies(Ithaca, London, 2005) pp. 85-107
Roy, Olivier, The Failure of Political Islam (London, IB Tauris Publishers, 1999)
Rubenson,Samuel,"Tradition and Renewalin Coptic Theology" in Nelly van Doom-Harder
Coptic
Orthodox
Cijy
The
Church
(Oslo,
Today
(eds),
Between
Desert
Vogt
Kari
:
and
and
Institute for ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997)pp. 35-51
Rubin, Barry, Islamic Fundamentalismin Egyptian Politics (London, MacMillan, 1990)
Rudolph, SuzanneHoeber, and Piscatori, James(eds),TransnationalReligion & Fading
States(Oxford, Westview Press,1997)

Sabella,Bernard, "The Emigration of Christian Arabs: Dimensions and Causesof the


Phenomenon"in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The
Challengeof the Future (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998)pp. 127-154
Safran,William, "Diasporas in Modem Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return" in Steven
Vertovec and Robin Cohen (eds),Migration, diasporasand transnationalism(Cheltenham,
Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1999)pp. 364-380
Sahliyeh, Emile (ed), Religious Resurgenceand Politics in the Contemporga World (Albany,
StateUniversity of New York, 1990)
Saliba,Najib E, "Syrian-LebaneseRelations" in Halim Barakat (ed), Toward a Viable
Lebanon(London, Croom Helm, 1988)pp. 145-159

298

Salibi, Kamal, "The Maronite Experiment" in Michael Gerversand Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi
(eds), Conversionand Continufty : IndigenousChristian Communities in Islamic Lands:
Eighth to EighteenthCenturies(Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1990)pp.
423-433
Salibi, Kamal, "Tribal Origins of the Religious Sectsin the Arab East"in Halim Barakat (ed),
Toward a Viable Lebanon (London, Croom Helm, 1988)pp. 15-26
Salibi, Kamal, A House of Many Mansions :A Histoly of LebanonReconsidered(London, I
B Tauris & Co Ltd, 1988)
Salibi, Kamal S, The Modem History of Lebanon(London, Weldenfeld and Nicolson, 1965)
Samir, Samir Khalil, "The Christian Communities,Active Members of Arab Society
throughout history" in Andrea Pacini (ed), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East
The Challengeof the Future (ClarendonPress,Oxford, 1998)pp. 67-91
Sattin, Anthony, The Pharaoh'sShadow: Travels in Ancient and Modem Egypt (London,
Indigo, 2000)
Schiff, Ze'ev, "The Political Backgroundof the War in Lebanon" in Halim Barakat (ed),
Toward a Viable Lebanon (London, Croom Helm, 1988)pp. 160-166
Scholte,Jan Aart, "The globalization of world politics" in Baylis, John and SteveSmith (eds),
The Globalization of World Politics 2nded (Oxford, Oxford University Press,2001) pp. 13-32
Scholte,Jan Aart, Globalization: A Critical Introduction (Basingstoke,Palgrave,2000)
Schulze,Kirsten E, The Arab-Israeli Conflict (Harlow, PearsonEducation Ltd, 1999)
Shain,Yossi, "Multicultural Foreign Policy" in StevenVertovec and Robin Cohen (eds),
Migration, diasporasand transnationalism(Cheltenham,Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1999)
pp. 607-625
Shain,Yossi, Arab-Americans in the 1990s: What next for the diaspora?" (Tel Aviv, The
Tarni SteinmetzCenter for PeaceResearchTel Aviv University, 1996)

299

Sheffer, Gabriel, Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad (Cambridge,CambridgeUniversity


Press,2003)
Sheffer, Gabriel, "Middle EasternDiasporas: An Overview" in Moshe Ma'oz and Gabriel
Sheffer (eds),Middle EasternMinorities and Diasporas(Brighton, SussexAcademic Press,
2002) pp. 195-218
Sheffer, Gabriel, "A New Field of Study: Modem Diasporasin International Politics" in
Gabriel Sheffer (ed), Modem Diasnorasin International Politics (London, Croom Helm,
1986)pp. 1-15
Shomali, Qustandi,"Palestinian Christians : Politics, Pressand Religious Identity 1900-1948"
in Anthony O'Mahony et al (eds),The Christian Heritage in the Holy Lan (London,
Scorpion CavendishLtd, 1995)pp. 225-236
Shupe,Anson, "The StubbornPersistenceof Religion in the Global Arena" in Emile Sahliyeh
(ed), Religious Resurgenceand Politics in the Contemporga World (Albany, StateUniversity
of New York, 1990) pp. 17-26
Smart,Ninian, "The Importanceof Diasporas" in StevenVertovec and Robin Cohen (eds),
Migration, diasporasand transnationalism(Cheltenham,Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1999)
pp. 420-429
Smith, Donald Eugene,"The Limits of Religious Resurgence"in Emile Sahliyeh (ed),
Religious Resurgenceand Politics in the Contemporga World (Albany, StateUniversity of
New York, 1990)pp. 33-44
Snider, Lewis W, "Minorities and Political Power in the Middle East" in RD McLaurin (ed),
The Political Role of Minority Groupsin the Middle East (New York, PraegerPublishers,
1979)pp. 240-265

300

Solh, Raghid, "The Attitude of the Arab Nationalists towards GreaterLebanon during the
1930s" in Nadim.Shehadi& Dana Hoffar Mills (eds), Lebanon: A Histoly of Conflict and
Consensus(London, IB Tauris & Co Ltd, 1988)pp. 149-165
Solihin, Sohirin Muhammad, Copts and Muslims in Egypt: A Study on Harmony an
Hostility (Leicester,The Islamic Foundation, 1991)
Stark, Rodney, "Bringing Theory Back In" in Lawrence Young (ed), Rational Choice Theo
(London,
Summ.
Assessment
Routledge, 1997)pp. 3-23
Religion:
ga
and
and
Stene,Nora, "Becoming a Copt : the integration of Coptic children into the church
community" in Nelly van Doom-Harder and Kari Vogt (eds),Between Desert and City: The
Coptic Orthodox Church Today (Oslo, Institute for ComparativeResearchin Human Culture,
1997)pp. 190-211
Stene,Nora, "Into the lands of Immigration" in Nelly van Doom-Harder and Kari Vogt (eds),
BetweenDesert and Cily: The Coptic Orthodox Church Tod

(Oslo, Institute for

ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997)pp. 254-264


Sullivan, Denis J& Abed Kotob, Sana,Islam in ContemporM Egypt : Civil Society vs the
State(London, Lynne Rienner Publishers,1999)
Swatos,William H Jnr (ed), A Future for Religion? New Paradigmsfor Social Analysis
(London, SagePublications, 1993)

bin Talal, el Hassan,Christianity in the Arab World (London, SCM PressLtd, 1998)
Thomas,Scott, "Religious Resurgence,postmodernismand world politics" in John Esposito
and Michael Watson (eds),Religion and Global Order (Cardiff, University of Wales Press,
2000) pp. 38-65
Tibi, Bassam,Arab Nationalism: BetweenIslam and the Nation-StateP ed (London,
MacMillan PressLtd, 1997)

301

Al-Turabi, Hassan,"Tbe Islamic State" in John L Esposito (ed), Voices of ResurgentIslam


(Oxford, Oxford University Press,1983)pp. 241-251

Valiayavilayil, Antony, "The Notion of Sui Iuris ChurcW'in JoseChiramel and Kuriakos
Bharanikulangara(eds),The Code of Canonsof the EasternChurches: A Study and
Intelpretation (Alwaye, St ThomasAcademy for Research,1993)pp. 57-90
Valognes, Jean-Pierre,Vie et Mort des Chretiensd'Orient (Paris, Fayard, 1994)
Vatikiotis, P J, The Histoly Of Modem EgMt (London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991)
Vatikiotis, P J, Arab and Regional Politics in the Middle East (London, Croom Helm, 1984)
Vertovec, Steven,Religion and Diaspor (Oxford, TransnationalCommunities Working
PaperSeriesUniversity of Oxford, 2001)
Voll, John 0, "Fundamentalismin the Sunni Arab World" in Martin E Marty and R Scott
Appleby (eds),FundamentalismObserved(London, University of Chicago Press,1991)pp.
345-402
de Vries, Wilhelm, "The Origins of the EasternPatriarchatesand their Relationship to the
power of the Pope" in Bird, ThomasE and Pidducheshen,Eva (eds), ArchiaiSCODaland
PatriarchalAutonom (New York, FordhamUniversity Press,1972)pp. 14-21

Wakin, Edward, A Lonely Minority: The Modem Stoly of Egypt's Copts (New York,
William Morrow Company, 1963)
Wallis, Roy and Bruce, Steve,"Secularization: The Orthodox Model" in SteveBruce (ed),
Religion and Modernization (Oxford, ClarendonPress,1992)pp. 8-30
Watson, John H, "Christianity in the Middle East" in Anthony O'Mahony and Michael
Kirwan (eds),World Christianity: Politics. Theology. Dialogues (London, Melisende, 2004)
pp. 203-225

Watson, John, "The Desert FathersToday: ContemporaryCoptic Monasticism7'in Anthony


O'Mahony (ed), EasternChristianily: Studiesin Modem Histoly. Religion and Politics
(London, Melisende, 2004) pp. 112-139
Watson, John, "Hermits and Hierarchs" in David Thomas and Clare Amos (ed), A Faithful
Presence: essqysfor Kenneth Cragg (London, Melisende, 2003)
Watson, John H, Among the Copts (Brighton, SussexAcademic Press,2000)
Watson, John, "Signposts to a Biography - Pope ShenoudaIII" in Nelly van Doom-Harder
and Kari Vogt (eds),BetweenDesert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Today (Oslo,
Institute for ComparativeResearchin Human Culture, 1997)pp. 243-253
Watson, John, Prisonerof Conscience: Christian Patriarch Human Rights and Ejzypt's
Christians (Medan Books, Deal, 1994)
Watt, William Montgomery, Muslim-Christian Encounters:PercOtions and Misl2ercePtions
(London, Routledge, 1991)
Watterson,Barbara,Coptic E=t

(Edinburgh, Scottish Academic Press,1998)

Weber, Max, (trans. Talcott Parsons)The ProtestantEthic and the Spirit of Cgpitalism
(London, Routledge, 1992)
Wessels,Antonie, Arab and Christian? Christians in the Middle East (Kampen, Kok Pharos
Publishing House, 1995)
Wilson, Bryan R, "Reflections on a many-sidedControversy" in SteveBruce (ed), Religio
and Modernization (Oxford, ClarendonPress,1992)pp. 195-210
Winslow, Charles,Lebanon: War and Politics in a FragmentedSo!Ligty (London, Routledge,
1996)
Wyatt, ChristopherM, "Islamic Militancies and Disunity in the Middle Easf 'in KR Dark
(ed), Religion and International Relations (London, MacMillan PressLtd, 2000) pp. 100-112

303

Ye'or, Bat, The Decline of EasternChristianity under Islam: from Jihad to Dhimmitude
(London, AssociatedUniversity Presses,1996)
Young, Lawrence A (ed), "PhenomenologicalImagesof Religion and Rational Choice
Theory" in LawrenceYoung (ed), Rational Choice Theoly and Religion: Summm and
Assessment(London, Routledge, 1997)pp. 133-145

Zamir, Meir, "From Hegemonyto Marginalism: The Maronites of Lebanon" in Ofra Bengio
and Gabriel Ben-Dor (eds),Minorities and the Statein the Arab World (London, Lynne
Rienner Publishersinc, 1999)pp. 111-128
Zisser, Eyal, "Lebanon: State,Diasporaand the Questionof Political Stability" in Moshe
Ma'oz and Gabriel Sheffer (eds), Middle EasternMinorities and Diasporas(Brighton, Sussed
Academic Press,2002) pp. 231-247
Zisser, Eyal, "Hizballah in Lebanon: At the Crossroads"in Bruce Maddy-Weitzman and
Efraim Inbar (eds), Religious Radicalism in the GreaterMiddle East (London, Frank Cass,
1997)pp. 90-110
Zuraiq, Qustantin,"Arab Nationalism and Religion" in Sylvia G Haim (ed), Arab Nationalism
: An Antholog (Los Angeles,University of California Press,1976)pp. 167-171

Joumal Articles

Abraham, Antoine, "LebaneseCommunal Relations" Muslim World 67(2) 1977pp. 91-105


Abukhalil, As'ad, "A New Arab Ideology: The Rejuvenationof Arab Nationalism'Middle
East Journal 46(l) 1992pp. 22-36
Ajami, Fouad,"The End of Pan-Arabism7ForeignAffairs 57(2) 1978/9pp. 355-373

304

Ansari, Hamied, "Sectarian Conflict in Egypt and the Political Expediencyof Religion"
Middle East Journal.3aQ 1984pp. 397-418
Ansari, Hamied N "The Islamic Militants in Egyptian Politics" International Journal of
Middle East Studies 16 1984pp. 123-144
Aruri, Naseer,H, "Nationalism and Religion in the Arab World: Allies or Enemies" Muslim
World 67(4) 1977pp. 266-279
Asmar, Christine, Kisirwani, Maroun and Springborg,Robert, "Clash of Politics or
Civilizations? SectarianismamongYouth in Lebanon" Arab StudiesQuarterly 21(4) 1999pp.
35-64
Baroudi, Sami E, "Continuity in economicpolicy in postwar Lebanon: The Record of the
Hariri and Hoss GovernmentsExamined 1992-2000"Arab StudiesQuarterly 24(l) 2002 pp.
63-90
Beggiani, Seely, "The Patriarchsin Maronite History" Journal of Maronite Studies2001
http://www. mari.oriz/JMS/ianuMOI /The Patriarchs in Maronite Histoly. htm
Berger, PeterL, "The Decline of Secularism'TheNational Interest 46 1996/7pp. 3-12
Boutros-Ghali, Mirrit, "The Egyptian National Consciousness"Middle East Journal 320)
1978pp. 59-77
Bowie, Leland, "The Copts, the Wafd and Religious Issuesin Egyptian Politics" Muslim
World 62L211977pp. 106-126
Catholic International 6(8) "Our Patrimony of Patriarchs"p. 365
Chaves,Mark, "On the Rational Choice Approach to Religion" Journal for the Scientiflc
Study of Religion 34(l) 1995pp. 98-104
Chedraure,Assad J, "Maronite Patriarch Sfeir's visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada7
Journal of Maronite Studies5(2) 2001
www. mari.org/does/iulyOl/sfeir.doc

305

Dobbelaere,Karel, "Towards an IntegratedPerspectiveof the ProcessesRelated to the


Descriptive Conceptof Secularization" Sociology of Religion 60(3) 1999p. 229-247
Dobbelaere,Karel, "Secularization: a Multi-Dimensional Concepf'Current Sociology 29(2)
1981pp. 1-203
van Doom-Harder, Nelly, "Following the Holy Call: women in the Coptic Church" Parole de
FOrient 25 2000 pp. 733-750
EasternChurchesJournal 8(2) 2001 "Chronological Review: Coptic Orthodox-Catholic
Relations" pp. 240
Ellison, ChristopherG, "Rational Choice Explanation of Individual Religious Behaviour:
Notes on the Problem of Social Embeddedness"Journal for the Scientific Study of Religio
2:ji(al. 995 pp. 90-97
El-Feki, Mustafa, "A Coptic leaderin the Egyptian National Movemenf'Intemational Studies
221.1)1985p. 33-58
Ferre, Andre, "Protegesou citoyens" Islamochristiana22 1996pp. 79-117
Frankel, Ephraim A, "The Maronite Patriarch: An Historical View of a Religious Za'im in
the 1958LebaneseCrisis" The Muslim World 66(3) and 64(4) 1976pp. 213-225 and pp. 245258
Al-Gawharry, Karim, "Copts in the Egyptian Fabric" Middle East Report 2000(26(3)) 1996
pp. 21-22
Gerges,Fawaz A, "The Condition of the Islamist Insurgencyin Egypt? Costsand Prospects"
Middle East Journal 54(4) 2000 pp. 592-612
Gregory III, Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All of the east,of Alexandria and of
Jerusalem,"The Situation of the Christians in the Middle Easf ' EasternChurchesJournal :A
Review of EasternChristendom9(2) 2002 pp. 7-18

306

Haddad, Simon, "The Maronite Legacy and the Drive for Preeminencein LebanesePolitics"
j
Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 22(2) 2002 pp. 317-333
Haddad, Simon, "A Survey of Maronite Christian Socio-Political Attitudes in Post-War
Lebanon" Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 12(4) 2001 pp. 465-479
i

I-Iaddad, Simon, "Christian-Muslim Relations and Attitudes towards the LebaneseState"


Jourrial of Muslim Minority Affairs 21(l) 2001 pp. 131-148
Haddad, Yvonne Y, "Islamist Depictions of Christianity in the Twentieth Century: the
pluralism debateand the depiction of the other"Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 7(j)
1996 pp. 75-93
Hagopian, Elaine C, "From Maronite hegemonyto Maronite Militancy: Creatism and
disintegration of Lebanon'Third World Quarterly 11(4) 1989pp. 107-117
Haynes, Jeff, "Transnationalreligious actorsand internationalpolitics" Third World
Quarterly 2(2) 2001 pp. 143-158
Hertzke, Allen D and Philpott, Daniel, "Defending the Faiths" National Interest 612000 pp.
74-81
Hudson, Michael C, "Lebanon after Ta'if : Another Reform Opportunity Lost?" Arab Studies
Quarterly 210) 1999pp. 27-40
Hulsman, Cornelis, "Christians in Egypt: the impact of Islamic resurgence"Religious News
Service from the Arab World 2002 pp. 1-100
Iannaccone,LaurenceI, "Voodoo Economics?Reviewing the Rational Choice Approach to
Religion" Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 34(l) 1995pp. 76-88
Irani, GeorgeE, "The Vatican and the Lebanon" American Arab Affairs 24 1998pp. 29-39
Jandora,John W, "Butrus al-Bustani, Arab consciousness,and Arab Revival" Muslim World
74(2) 1984pp. 71-84
Karas, Shawky F, "Egypt's BeleagueredChristians" Worldview 26(3) 1983pp. 13-14

307

2000
in
in
Church
21(l)
Coptic
Review
"Coptic
Ncomartyrs
New
Millcnnium"
the
al-Keraza,
http://home.ptd.net/=anney/coptic-neomartyls.pd
Khairallah, Mounir, "La SynodePatriarcalMaronite : PeriodePreparatoire(1985-2003)
ProcheOrient Chretien 53 2003 pp. 51-62
Khalaf, Samir, "Primordial Ties and Politics in Lebanon" Middle EasternStudies4(3) 1968
pp. 243-269
Khatab, Sayed,"Citizenship Rights of Non-Muslims in the Islamic Stateof Hakimiyya
Espousedby Sayyid Qutb" Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 13(2) 2002 pp. 163-187
Arab
Refonn
2004
Exception
Norm"
Bulletin
2(2)
"Hizballah:
The
Farid,
to
the
el-Khazen,
in
in
Parties
Searchof Partisans"
Post-War
Lebanon:
"Political
Parties
Farid,
el-Khazen,
Middle East Joumaj_4 2003 pp. 605-624
el-Khazen,Farid, "Lebanon- IndependentNo More" Middle East Quarterly 001pp. 43-50
Kienle, Eberhard,"More than a responseto Islamism : The Political Deliberalization of Egypt
in the 1990s" Middle East Journal 52(2) 1998pp. 219-235
King, John, "The fear of Egypt's Copts" Middle East International 305 1987pp. 15-16
Kramer, Gudrun, "Islamist Notions of Democracy" Middle East Report 23(1L311993pp. 213
Kramer, Gudrun, "Liberalization and Democracyin the Arab World" Middle East Report
22074) 1992pp. 27-35
Kreutz, Andrej, "The Vatican and the Palestinians"Islamochristiana18 1992pp. 109-125
Krindatch, Alexei D, "Orthodox (EasternChurches)in the United Statesat the Beginning of a
New Millennium: Questionsof Nature, Identity and Mission" Journal for the Scientific Stud
of Relijzion 410) 2002 pp. 533-563
Lechner,Frank J, "The CaseAgainst Secularization: A Rebuttal" Social Forces69(4) 1991
pp. 1103-1119

308

Makari, PeterE, "Christianity and Islam in Twentieth Century Egypt : Conflict and Cooperatioe'Intemational Review of Mission 89(352) 2000 pp. 88-98
Makdisi, Ussama,"Reconstructing the Nation-State : The Modernity of Sectarianismin
Lebanon" Middle East Rgort 200(26(3).1996pp. 23-26
Makram-Ebeid, Mona, "Egypt's 2000 ParliamentaryElections" Middle East Policy 8(2) 2001
pp. 32-44
Makram-Ebeid, Mona, "Egypt's 1995 elections: One StepForward, Two StepsBack?"
Middle East Policy 4QJ 1996pp. 119-136
Malek, GeorgeM, "Coptic Christianity under Islam: Why?" Journal of Muslim Minorit
Affairs 10(2) 1989pp. 337-342
Malek, GeorgeM, "Politico-Religious Issuesrelating to the Survival of Christianity in the
Middle Easf'Journal of Muslim Minorily Affairs 10(2) 1988pp. 229-243
Malik, Habib C, "Lebanon in the 1990s: Stability without Freedom" Global Affairs 1992pp.
79-109
Malik, Habib C, "The future of Christian Arabs" MediterraneanQuarterly 2(2) 1991pp. 7984
Middle East Council of Churches(MECC), "Christian presencein the Middle East: A
Working Paper"Intemational Review of Mission 89(352) 2000 pp. 28-33
Meinardus, Otto F A, "The Coptic Church towards the end of the 20thCentury: From a
National to an International Christian Community" Church and Theology 12 1993pp. 43 1472
Mitri, Tarek, 'VAvenir des Chretiensdu Monde Arabe : Reflecions a partir de Peglise des
Arabes" Proche Orient Chretien 52(1-2) 2002 pp. 41-48
Mitri, Tarek, "Who are the Christians of the Arab World?" International Review of Mission
89(352) 2000 pp. 12-27

309

Moubayed, Sami, "Lebanon dodgesbullets of anothercivil war" Washington Rgport on


Middle EasternAffairs 20(4) 2001 pp. 21
Muhibbu-din, M A, "Ahl al-kitab and Religious Minorities in the Islamic State: Historical
Context and ContemporaryChallenges"Journal of Muslim-Minorijy Affairs 20 2000 pp. 111
127
Naaman,Paul, "Church and Politics in the Maronite Experience 1516-1943" Journal of
Maronite Studies20) 1998
http://www. mari.org-/JMS/ianuM98/Church and Politics.htm
Najm, Antoine, "Envisioning a formula for living together in Lebanon : In light of the
Apostolic Exhortation" Journal of Maronite Studies2(2) 1998
http://www. mari.org/JMs/april98/Envisioning a Formula.htrn
Nassar,Jamal R, "SectarianPolitical Cultures: The Caseof Lebanow' The Muslim World
&L1995

pp. 246-265

Norton, Augustus Richard, "Lebanon's Conundrune'Arab StudiesQuarterly 40) 1999pp.


41-53
Norton, Augustus Richard, "Walking betweenRaindrops : Hizballah in Lebanon"
MediterraneanPolitics 3(l) 1998pp. 81-102
Norton, Augustus Richard, "Lebanon: With friends like these" Current HistqZ January 1997
pp. 6-12
Norton, Augustus Richard, "Lebanon After Ta'if : Is the Civil War Over" Middle East Journal
45(3) 1991pp. 457-473
Ofeish, Sarni A, "Lebanon's SecondRepublic: SecularTalk, SectarianApplication" Arab
StudiesQuarterly 21(l) 1999pp. 97-116
Pennington,J D, "The Copts in Modem Egypt" Middle EasternStudies 18(2) 1982pp. 158179

310

ProcheOrient 52(4) 2002 "Chronological Review: Intercommunal Relations" pp. 424


Ranstorp,Magnus, "The Strategyand Tactics of Hizballah's Current "Lebanonization
Process"MediterraneanPolitics 3(l) 1998pp. 103-134
Reinkowski, Maurus, "National Identity in Lebanon since 1990" Orient 38(3) 1997pp. 493515
Rigby, Andrew, "Lebanon: Patternsof ConfessionalPolitics" Parliament= Affairs 53(1)
2000 pp. 169-180
Roberson,B A, "The Challengesto Lebanonin the Future Middle East : An Introduction7'
MediterraneanPolitics 3(1) 1998pp. 1-9
Roberts,John, "Hariri : Renewal and Relative Recovery" MediterraneanPolitics 3(j 11998
pp. 57-65
Salem,Paul, "Framing Post-War Lebanon: Perspectiveson the Constitution and the Structure
13-26
1998
3Q)
Power"
Politics
Mediterranean
pp.
of
Salem,Paul, "Skirting Democracy: Lebanon's 1996Elections and Beyond" Middle East
Report 203(27(2) 1997pp. 26-30
SalemPaul, "The Rise and Fall of Secularismin the Arab World" Middle East Policy 4(3)
1996pp. 147-160
Salibi, Kamil, "The Christian Role in the Arab Renaissance"The Near East School of
Theology Theological Review 15(l) 1994pp. 3-14
Salim, Anthony J, "Back to the Future: How far we have come in a generation" Journal of
Maronite Studies3(4) 1999
littp: //www. mari.orc!JJMS/october99/Backto the future
.
Samir, Samir Khalil, "Presenceet Temoignagedes Chretiensdansle monde arabe" Proche
Orient 520-2) 2002 pp. 49-66

311

Sedra,Paul, "Class Cleavagesand Ethnic Conflict: Coptic Christian Communities in Modem


Egyptian Politics" Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 10(2) 1999pp. 219-236
Abba Seraphim,"The Coptic Orthodox Church under Islam" The Glastonbuly Review 106(2)
2002 pp. 100-113
Abba Seraphim,"Renewal of Coptic Orthodoxy in the Twentieth Century" EasternChurches
Journal 2(2) 1995pp. 61-86
Sirriyeh, Hussein,"Triumph or Compromise: the Decline of Political Maronitism. in Lebanon
after the Civil War" Civil Wars 1(4) 1998pp. 56-68
Springborg,Robert, "Egypt: Repression'sToll" Current HistojY 97(615) 1998pp. 32-37
Stark, Rodney, "Secularization, RIP" Sociology of Religion 60(3) 1999pp. 249-273
Stark, Rodney and Iannaccone,LaurenceR, "A Supply-SideReinterpretationof the
"Secularization" of Europe" Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 33(3) 1994pp. 230252
Swatos,William H and Christiano, Kevin J, "Secularization Theory: The Courseof a
Concept''Sociology of Religion 60(3) 1999pp. 209-228
Bin Talal, el Hassan,"The Future of Muslim-Christian Relations :a personalview" Islam &
Christian-Muslim Relations 11(2) 2000 pp. 163-166
Tamura,Airi, "Ethnic Consciousnessand its Transformation in the Courseof Nation-building
: The Muslim and the Copt in Egypt 1906-1919"Muslim World 75(2) 1985pp. 102-114
Thomas,Scott M, "raking Religious and Cultural Pluralism Seriously: The Global
Resurgenceof Religion and the Transformationof International Society" Millennium 29(3)
2000 pp. 815-841
Tibi, Bassam,"The RenewedRole of Islam in the Political and Social Development of the
Middle East" Middle East Journal 370) 1985pp. 3-13

312

Tschannen,Olivier, "The SecularizationParadigm :A Systematization!'Joumal for the


Scientific Study of Religion 33(3) 1994pp. 395-415
Venter, Al J, "President Lahoud's Rise to Power" Middle East Policy 6(2) 1998pp. 174-182
Warburg, G, "Islam and Politics in Egypt: 1952-1980"Middle EasternStudies 18(2) 1982
pp. 131-157
Watson, John H, "The Transfigured Cross: A Study of Father Bishoi Kamel" Coptic Church
Review 23(1-2) 2002 pp. 3-64
Yamane,David, "Secularization on Trial : In Defenseof a NeosecularizationParadigm"
Joumal for the Scientific Study of Religion 360) 1997pp. 109-122
Yousif, Ahmad, "Islam, Minorities and Religious Freedom: A Challengeto Modem theory of
Pluralism" Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 20(l) 2000 pp. 29-42
Zebiri, Kate, "Muslim anti-secularistdiscoursein the context of Muslim-Christian relations"
Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations 9(l) 1998pp. 47-64
Zeidan, David, "The Copts- Equal, Protectedor Persecuted?The impact of Islamization on
Muslim-Christian Relations in Modem Egypt" Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations I 0(l)
1999pp. 53-69
Zubaida, Sami, "Islam, the Stateand Democracy: Contrasting Conceptionsof Society in
Egypf'Middle East Report 179(22(6) 1992pp. 2-10

Ph.D Theses

Kaufman, Asher, Reviving Phoenicia: The Searchfor an Identity in Lebanon (Brandeis


University, 2000)

313

Kerr, David, The Temporal Authority of the Maronite Patriarchate1920-1958:A Study in the
Relationship of Religious and SecularPower (University of Oxford, 1973)
Stephanous,Andrea Z, Religion and Politics in the Middle East: Political Christianity in th
Islamic Co itext (University of Manchester,2002)

Newspapersand Magazines

Al Ahram al Arabi (translatedin Arab-West Report)


Al-Ahram Weekl
Al Arabi (translatedin Arab-West Report)
Al Gamhoria (translatedin Arab-West Report)
Al-Havat (translatedin Arab-West Report)
Al-Keraza
Al-Musawwar translatedin Arab-West Report)
Arab-West Report
Arabic News
Middle East International
Middle East Times
Rose al-Youssef (translatedin Arab-West Report)
Sawt al-Umma (translatedin Arab-West Report)
The Daily St
The Economist
Watani International

314

Electronic Sources

BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk
Constitution of Lebanon
htm
lb/presidenc/s=bols/constitution.
www. presidency.e,ov.
Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt
htm
http://www. sis.jzov.eg/eginffieML/politics/Darlim/html/res03O3.
Coptic Orthodox Christian Mission
www. coem.org.
Coptic Orthodox Church Network
www. saintmark.com
Coptic Orthodox Dioceseof Los Angeles, Southem,Califomia and Hawaii
www. laco]2ts.
org
Coptic Orthodox Dioceseof Melboume and Affiliated Regions
www. melbcopts.org.au
Coptic Orthodox Dioceseof SouthemUnited States
www. suscot)ts.or2
Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Sydney and Affiliated Regions
www. co,otic.org.au
Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate
www. coi)tici)ope.or
Free Patriotic Movement
www. tgUar. orR

315

Intemational Maronite Foundation


www. maronet.or
LebaneseAmerican Council for Democrac
www. la-cd.org
LebaneseForces
www. lebanese-forces.
org
LebaneseFoundation for Peace
www. free]ebanon.com
Maronite Diocese of Brazil
www. igreiamaronita.oriz.b
Maronite Dioceseof St. Maroun, Sydne
www. maronite.org.au
Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon,Los Angeles
www. usamaronite.org
Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron. Brookl
www. stmaron.org
Maronite League
www. maronite-league.2rg.lb
Maronite Patriarchate
www. bkerke.org.lb
Maronite SyLlod
www. maronitesyLiod.
org
National Apostolate of Maronites
www. namnews.org
Opus Libani

316

www. opuslibani. org. lb


Oriental Orthodox News Service
www. uk-christian. net/oons
US Col2ts Association
www. coT)ts.net
US State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, International
Religious Freedom Rgport 2003
www. state.gov/g/drl/`/s/*rf/2003/24448i)f/htm

Interviews

In somecases,intervieweeshave requestedto retain their anonymity. Accordingly, only


someinterviews have been listed separately. In severalcases,the perceptionsof "ordinary"
Christians in the two countriesregarding their situationshave been taken from a variety of
interviews and informal conversations. Interviews were conductedin both formal and
informal environments.

On the Coptic Orthodox Church

Clergy and membersof the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, July 2003
October 2005
Monks and priests of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Egypt, October-November2003
Bishop Mouneer Anis, Bishop in Egypt, Episcopal Church, Cairo, October 2003
Bishop Yohanna Qolta, Coptic Catholic Church, Cairo, November 2003

317

Cleric, Coptic Evangelical Organisationfor Social Services,Cairo, October 2003


Father Christiaanvan Nispen tot Sevenaer,Jesuit Priest, Cairo, November 2003
Dr. Cornelis Hulsman, Editor Arab-West Rgo

Cairo, October 2003

Academic Expert on the Coptic Orthodox Church, London, May 2004


Representativesof the Middle East Council of Churches,Cairo, October-November2003
Dr. Ali el-Samman,Advisor to the Grand Imam and Vice Presidentof the Permanent
Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue with the Monotheistic Religions, Cairo, November 2003
Members of the Coptic Orthodox Church covering a wide range of occupations,age groups,
social class and place of residence,Egypt, October-November2003

On the Maronite Church

His Beatitude,PatriarchNasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East of the
Maronites, Bkerke, April 2004
Bishop Youssef Bchare,Head of the Maronite Qomet ShehwanMonastery, Beirut, April
2004
Priestsand nuns of the Maronite Church, Lebanon,March-April 2004
Bishop GeorgeKhodr, Orthodox Bishop of Mount Lebanon,Lebanon,April 2004
JesuitPriest, Beirut, March 2004
Dory Chamoun,Leader,National Liberal Party, Beirut, April 2004
GeorgeHawi, former Leader, Communist Party, Beirut, April 2004
Representativeof the Maronite League,Beirut, April 2004
Academicsfrom severalLebaneseinstitutions including The American University in Beirut,
Notre Dame University, University of St. Joseph,Near East School of Theology, Hagazian
University, Lebanon,March-April 2004

318

Dr. Nadirn Shehadi,Former Director of the Centrefor LebaneseStudiesat Oxford, London,


May 2004
Gibran Tueni, Publisher, annahar,Beirut, April 2004
Economist, ResearchDepartmentof a major Lebanesebank, Beirut, April 2004
Human Rights activists, Beirut, March-April 2004
Figures involved in interfaith dialogue including membersof the Islamic-Christian Dialogue
Committee, Beirut, March-April 2004
Representativesof the Middle East Council of Churches,Beirut, March-April 2004
Members of the Maronite Church covering a wide range of occupations,age groups,place of
residenceand social class,Lebanon,March-April 2004

319

Appendix I The Effect of the Variables on the Case Studies


Variable

Coptic Orthodox Patriarch

Strong authority through


canonlaw. Reinforced by
millet system. Exercises
almost completecontrol over
community once elected.
Religious affiliation provides
Identity of the community
distinct identity. Indigenous
to Egypt as "descendantsof
Pharaohs". Not
incompatible with national
identity but role of church
can lead to alienation from
national framework.
Identify Egypt as homeland.
Existenceof a distinct
homelandfor the community Not exclusive claim. Helps
to reinforce senseof
belonging to Egyptian nation
due to position as Egyptian
national church. Majority of
in
live
homeland
adherents
which accentuatesties to the
patriarch.
Willingness of church leaders Coptic Revival since 1940s
to utilise their own
allowed church to become
focal point of community.
institutions to cater to the
involved.
highly
Patriarch
the
needsof
community
Draw on traditions of faith to
emphasisedistinct heritage.
Centralizedand successful
provision of social services.
Usesposition to become
voice of community.

Tradition and authority


investedin the patriarch of a
specific tradition.

Historical background and


present political situation of
the country of residence

Maronite Patriarch

Strong authority from


historical role as tribal chief
by
Tempered
of community.
superiorposition of Holy
See.
Distinct communal identity.
Due to faith but also overlaps
with Lebanesenational
identity. Attempt to trace
ancient links with original
groupsresident in the region
to advancesovereignty
claims e.g. Phoenicians.
Identify Lebanon as
homeland. Close connection
betweenMaronite church and
formation of Lebanesestate
allows it to be seenas a
national church. Homeland
overlapswith national
identity.

Maronite spiritual renewal as


responseto civil war. Led
by patriarch. Provision of
social servicesthrough
monastic orders. Lack of
centralizedbody diminishes
ability of patriarch to respond
to criticism of the social role
of the church. Provides
conditions to become
spokesmanof community.
Views of religious leaders
Political systembasedon
respected. Millet system
religious identity. Post civil
accepted by all. Coptic
war era marked decline of
disappointment at failure of
Maronite power and erosion
nationalist movement to fulfil
of privileges. Curtailed
its promises of equality and
ability of popular Maronite
leadersto representtheir
participation. Combined
with adverse effect on secular community. Insecurity also
due to demographicchanges
elite, rise of political Islam
and demographic change, has and precariouspolitical
led to heightened sense of
situation in a vulnerable and
insecurity.
volatile region.

320

Personalityand views of the


patriarch

Challengesto patriarchal
authority

Existenceand Activities of a
Diaspora

Charismatic and dynamic.


RepresentingCopts seenas
part of patriarchal duty.
Deals primarily with Coptic
rather than Egyptian
interests. Not publicly
addressall grievances.
Reflects demographic
context. Modified approach
from assertivestanceduring
Sadatyears. Occasionaluse
of emotional and
inflammatory languagecan
escalatea tensesituation.
Dissent from clergy rare due
to centralizationpolicies
pursuedby the patriarch.
Secularelite remainsweak.
Threat from "Coptic street".
Becomemore radicalised and
demandaction to be taken by
patriarch to defendtheir faith.
Position temperedby external
actors. Government
provides legitimacy through
millet systembut will only
continue if serving state
interests. Muslim society
hostile reaction if perceived
as acting abovedhimmi
status.
Reactedto global expansion
by extendingcentralization
policies to the churches
abroad. Close links through
dioceses,visits and
communicationnetworks.
Stressunity through
igureheadof patriarch.
Emigr6 groupsprovide
publicity and financial
contributions but risk
escalatingcommunal tension
in Egypt and challengethe
position of the patriarch as
the sole influential Coptic
political actor.

321

Hugely influential in reviving


church as important and
credible communal
institution. Believes that he
has duty to voice opinion on
national affairs. Holds
consistentviews on Lebanese
political situation.
Addressesissuesraisedby
community but also attempts
to reflect concernsof all
Lebanese.

Main rivals are Maronite


secularpolitical elite.
Return to active politics in
2005 as a result of the
changesthat occurred after
the assassinationof al-Hariri.
Enjoy communal support and
posemajor threat to political
role of patriarch.
Periodically, governments
challengethe political
opinion of the patriarch but
has decreasedsince 2005.

Friction with the Vatican


over authority of church
outside the traditional
patriarchal territory. Led to
lost generations.
Rediscoveringlinks by
establishingdioceses.
Provide numerical and
financial support. Political
activities of somemembers
can raise questionsin
Lebanonconcerning loyalty.
Dilemma for patriarch to
safeguardcommunity yet
support all members.