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En partenariat En coproduction

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avec avec


Eastern Christianity, a Plural History
by JACK LANG, President of the Arab World Institute

Eastern Christianity, Dialogue and Respect

by Grald Darmanin, Mayor of Tourcoing
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p.8-11 Press Release

p.12-39 Visiting the Exhibition

p.40 Lenders & Artists

p.41 Commissioners

p.43-49 Alongside the Exhibition

p.50-53 Partners

p.54-57 Patrons
Press contacts
Oriane Zerbib & Anas Tridon
p.58-59 Practical Information
+ 33 1 71 19 48 04
+ 33 7 69 75 11 78
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Eastern Christianity,
a Plural History c
by Jack Lang
Youssef Chahine, Edward Sad, Albert Cossery, Sister Marie Keyrouz, Andre Chedid,
Khalil Gibran, Vnus Khoury-Ghata, Paul Guiragossian, Saliba Douaihy: all are
Arabs. All are Christians. To them, among many others, the Arab World Institute has
dedicated conferences, shows, exhibitions, publicationsas it has, during its almost
thirty years of existence, offered many insights into the expression of Arab Christian
culture, including, in 2003, a sumptuous exhibition, Arab Icons: Christian Art from the

Listing those names, all famous, all invoked as so many standards of Arab cultural
excellence, would suffice to take the measure of the essential role played in the past
and still being played today by its Christian component. And, in these times of fire and
blood, recalling that this very ancient people, the Arab Christians, was one of the actors
of modernity in that forgetful cradle in which it is struggling today to keep its place.

But the IMA has given itself a challenge that had never before been met by any major
institution: presenting, in a single exhibition, Eastern Christianity from every angle:
historical, religious, and cultural. A presentation that is, admittedly, limited to the
(immense) field of the Arab world - Holy Land, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq - but
that strives to present Eastern Christians in their plurality and in all the complexity of
their two thousand years of history.

From the austere paleo-Christian grace to the gold of the iconostasis, from the
founding councils to the great schisms and the renewal of missions, from the singular
place of Christians after the Muslim conquest to the exceptional role they played in the
rise of Arab nationalism, this exhibition laden with sumptuous works invite us to travel
through their history, from the emergence of the first communities to the brilliant
modernity mentioned above. But it also reminds us that history is flesh and blood.
Stirring testimony about the reality of Eastern Christians today closes the exhibition. It
is there to remind us.

Arab-Syriac prayer book (Qondaq)
Jack Lang Syria, seventeenth century
President of the Arab World Institute Collection Antoine Maamari, Beirut

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Eastern Christianity,
Dialogue and Respect

million inhabitants.
by Grald Darmanin
The City of Tourcoing, a major municipality in the Hauts-de-France region, is a border
city, open to Northern Europe, at the heart of a dynamic metropolis of more than one

Tourcoing, formerly a world textile capital, has welcomed workers from every horizon.
Yesterday like today, the city dialogues with every culture, origin, and religion, and
reaffirms the beauty of being French through our differences.

From that rich and plural history emerged the desire to have the Arab World Institute
shine in Tourcoing. This decentralization of an institution unique in the world, desired
by Dominique Baudis and concretized by Jack Lang, is an exceptional opportunity for
our city.

Eastern Christians today, perhaps the Mediterranean and the Harkis tomorrow. The
IMA in Tourcoing shines and will continue to shine.

This venue is already a popular success. Visitors can discover major international
exhibitions, a journey of discovery into the history of the Eastern world, an immersion
in the heart of cultures that are part of the diversity of our contemporary world, delving
onto our history.

In partnership with the MUba Eugne Leroy in Tourcoing, the municipal Muse des
Beaux-Arts, the IMA Paris and the City of Tourcoing are proud to present the exhibition
Eastern Christians: 2000 Years of History.

This exceptional programme will allow each of us, with passion and emotion, to
understand what the Christian communities of the Arab world have contributed, over
the centuries, to the history of human civilization, and to our shared humanity


Grald Darmanin
Mayor of Tourcoing

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Melkite Greek Catholic Monastery of Saints Sergius and

Bacchus (Mar Sarkis) in Maloula, Syria, November 2015.
Katharine Cooper

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Press release

It is in Palestine that the Gospels place the

preaching of Christ, and it is between the
Mediterranean and the Euphrates, along the
Nile, and on the banks of the Bosporus, that
the new religion developed and set down
roots before spreading.

Today, in spite of all of the vicissitudes of

ancient and contemporary history, Christians
in the Middle East are not residual traces of
a defunct past, but real stakeholders in an
Arab world the construction of which they
contributed to enormously.

It is to tell their particular histories as full-

fledged components of the countries in which
they live (Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan,
and Palestine) that the Arab World Institute,
in coproduction with the MuBA Eugne Leroy,
the Muse des Beaux-Arts of Tourcoing,
will present, from 26 September 2017 to 14
January 2018, this major exhibition.

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Christian Churches of the Middle East in the 21st century


Chaque carr reprsente 10 000 chrtiens Chaque carr reprsente 100 000 chrtiens LA POPULATION TOTALE DU PAYS en %
Maronites Grecs-melkites catholiques Armniens* Assyriens Syriaques* Moins de 2,5 De 7 10

Grecs orthodoxes Latins Chaldens Coptes* Protestants de 2,5 6 Plus de 35







*orthodoxes et catholiques
uvre dOrient 2017 100 kms

Source : Luvre dOrient.

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Akathist Hymn
Ysuf Al-Musawwir, Aleppo, between 1650 and 1667
Tempera on wood

Collection George Antaki, London G. Antaki /Axia Art

Unique and hitherto never exhibited works

Developed in close association with representatives of numerous communities, with the

help of Oeuvre dOrient, the exhibition will include more than three hundred objects,
including numerous heritage masterpieces, some of which have never been shown in
Europe and have been lent for the occasion by the communities themselves.

Among the marvels: the Rabbula Gospels, a famous Syriac illuminated manuscript from
the 6th century; the first known church frescoes in the world - from the third century
- from Dura-Europos in Syria; mosaics from the first Palestinian and Syrian churches;
portraits of Coptic monks from the Egyptian monastery in Bawit; stelae and pilgrimage
souvenirs with the effigies of Saint Menas, Saint Simeon, and Saint Thecla, as well as

icons illustrating the magnificence of the Sacred.

Diversity as witness to a long history

This exhibition will present, from Antiquity to the present, a journey though the religious,
political, cultural, and artistic history of these Christian communities. It will first address
the emergence in the pagan Roman Empire of a new religion that would, in the space of
three centuries, take the place of the ancient gods. The exhibition will also dedicate a
significant space to the development of monasticism.

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The exhibition will show how the Greek, Coptic, Assyrian Catholic/Assyrian-Chaldean,
Syriac, Armenian, and Maronite Churches were formed, against the backdrop of the
founding theological debates, which were renewed in modern times under the impetus
of Catholic and Protestant missions from Europe. It will present these churches today, in
the diversity of their rites, their saints, their traditions, their sites, their sacred languages,

their architectures, and their iconographical representations.

An Existence in the face of the muslim conquest

The rapid early Muslim conquest under the first four caliphs (632-661), introducing Islam
as a new religion in the Middle East, was a challenge for Christians even though they were
free to retain their beliefs. Despite their status as dhimmis (protected persons), and the
gradual decline in their proportion of the population, they continued to play a major role
in public administration and in intellectual and social life under the various caliphates as
well as the Ottoman Empire (1453-1923).

Through translation, they were vectors of cultural exchange. Through their place in the
arts, architecture, and crafts, they participated in the blossoming of the new civilisation
whose language they gradually adopted. Their churches remained active, as evidenced

by continued architectural and artistic creations.

An active participation in arab nationalism

In the nineteenth century, the involvement of Christian thinkers, often secular, in the
awakening of nationalism surpassed the sometimes bloody traumas of their history,
confirming the historic rooting of their communities in the Arab world. They played a
major role in the social life, politics, economics, arts, and letters of the countries to
which they belonged. That is what the exhibition will highlight, without disregarding the

pressing issues of our day.

A present full of dangers and promises

In some regions today, the crises in the Middle East that are so destructive for everyone
threaten Christians in their very existence. Beyond the human drama it represents, beyond
the fears for the preservation of tangible and intangible heritage that is two thousand
years old, it is the question of the diversity of the Arab world that is at stake. However,
hidden by the horrors in the news and by the development of extremist movements, a new
secular, civic consciousness is developing in Arab societies. This exhibition will conclude
with visions of a possible future.



Rabbula Gospels/Evangeliary
Syria, 4th century
Illuminated manuscript on parchment/ papier, 292 folios
Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana
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The exhibition Eastern Christians: 2000
years of History is an immersion in the
Christian communities of the Middle East.

While the French expression chrtiens

dOrient (Christians of the East), which
originated in the 19th century, includes
populations living in a territory stretching
from Turkey to Iran, this exhibition focuses
on the Holy Land and the current territories
of Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq.

To present Eastern Christians is to make

it possible to grasp their history and
diversity. It is also to make clear the major
role these communities have played in the
political, cultural, intellectual, and religious
development of that geographic zone. The
region, by turns Roman, Byzantine, Muslim,
and Ottoman before the emergence of Arab
nationalist movements, is currently at the
heart of deep concerns.

Beyond the preservation of tangible and

intangible heritage, the diversity of the Arab
world and its rich history are at stake.

Silk fabric with Annunciation Scene

Syria (?), c. 800

Polychrome silk, twill weave
Musei Vaticani, Museo Cristiano
1st to 4th centuries
Advent and Development
of Christianity in the Levant
part 1

The exhibition opens with a preamble that introduces the major concepts of the exhibition
and its geography. Six masterpieces of Eastern Christianity are presented in the same
display. Made in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Palestine, in Syria, in Iraq, and in Egypt, they sketch
the contours of a Christian world.
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This display case brings together works of different natures, from different communities,
and from different liturgies that thereby find themselves united in witness to a common
destiny. Among the works in the case is a delicate silk fragment of the Annunciation, from
the Vatican Collections, dating from the eighth or ninth century and probably produced
in a Syriac workshop, next to a Jordanian mosaic representing the Church of Saint John
the Baptist in Alexandria.

The entrance includes a dynamic map illustrating first the zone of the preaching of Christ
and then of the evangelisation. The message is simple: Christianity was born in the East.

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r Evangelisation and first communities

The first exhibition gallery opens with the birth and development of
Christianity in the Orient. The Gospels set Christs preaching in Palestine,
and, before it spread, the new religion took root on the banks of the
Bosporus, between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates.

From Jerusalem to Ephesus, via Antioch, Alexandria, and Damascus, it

was in that space, in the steps of Christ and his Apostles, that Christianity
was established before the good news (from the Greek euangelion) spread
rapidly from northern Arabia to Rome, but also beyond the borders of the
Roman Empire, towards Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Armenia, and even
further east, in the Parthian Empire and along the Tigris and Euphrates

Until the third century, the Christians, who were already quite numerous in
the Roman Empire, endured persistent persecution: the faithful organised
themselves in privacy before celebrating the new religion in specifically
dedicated houses. Little by little, Christians gathered in house churches -
domus ecclesiae - the first Christian places of worship, as in Dura-Europos
(Syria); two exceptional frescoes loaned by Yale University attest to this,
ancient witnesses preserved from the third century.

Fresco representing Christ
healing the paralytic
Dura-Europos, Syria, third century
Yale University Art Gallery
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(detail) Fragment of an icon with a representation of Christ

Egypt, seventh-eighth century wood
Benaki Museum, Athens

Among the exhibits, the visitor will be able to appreciate pendants,

amulets, and crosses from Egypt and Lebanon, residual traces of
those first communities, and then some very early Bibles. Presented
separately, the Rabbula Gospels, a famous illuminated Syriac ma-
nuscript from the sixth century and an exceptional masterpiece, will
be a highlight of the exhibition (cf image p.13).

Further along in the visit, a fragmentary icon depicting the face of

Christ illustrates the emergence of Christian iconographic themes
(including the Good Shepherd, the lamb, the fish, the cross, the
peacock, the grapevine and grapes) that were beginning to spread.

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A territory fills with churches

Following the Edict of Milan (313), which granted freedom of worship to all religions,
the Roman Empire rapidly filled with churches. The Emperor Constantine ordered the
building of churches at various sites commemorating the life of Jesus Christ: the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre (site of the Resurrection) and the Church of Eleona (site of the
Ascension) in Jerusalem, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Basilicas demonstrating the connection between the imperial power and the new reli-
gion would emerge throughout the Empire. The faithful gathered there, in particular to
celebrate the Eucharist.

The staging of the exhibition will evoke that new architecture by using luminous cylinders.
Visitors will be invited to experience inner calm as they discover the liturgical treasures
that show the sumptuous goldworking of the region: vases, plates, hanging lamps, moulds

for communion wafers, censers, and chalices.

The Councils and the origin of the eastern churches

In reaction to Byzantium, the profusion, theological quarrels emerged, which would

become the origin of the Eastern Churches. After the Councils of Nicaea in 325 and
Constantinople in 351, two important councils were held in Ephesus in 431 and Chalcedon
in 451 to resolve a fundamental question about the nature of Christ: is he divine or human?

The many divergences in addressing that question led to the formation of different
churches: the Nestorian Church and the Monophysite Coptic, Syriac (or Jacobite), Arme-
nian, and Ethiopian Churches.

Chalice - The Attarouthi Treasure
Attarouthi, Syria, 500-650
Silver and silver-gilt
Metropolitan Museum - Department of
Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Stele of Apa Shenoute
Sohag (Egypt), fifth century
Skulpturensammlung und Museum fr Byzantinische
Kunst, Staatliche Museen, Berlin
A. Voigt

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r Monasticism and pilgrimages

Before developing in Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and the Arabian Peninsula, monas-
ticism was born in Egypt in the third century with the Desert Fathers. Pious men like
Pachomius ( 348) and Anthony ( 356) withdrew from the world and went into the desert
in search of solitude and poverty. They founded communities that respected strict rules
and introduced Christianity to the remotest fringes of the territory. In the exhibition, two
magnificent icons from the Bawit monastery in Egypt show a monk and Brother Mark:
they embody the piety of those men.

Next, the figure of Saint Simeon Stylites ( 549) embodies the current in Syria. A fresco
from the Collection Abou Adal shows the saint on a column (stylos), the place he spent
the last thirty years of his life: his example would quickly find an echo among pilgrims
and disciples.

Thanks to devotional pilgrimages due to the presence of his relics, the Monastery of
Saint Simeon gradually became an important centre, until the end of the sixth century.
Upstairs, in a central island, visitors will be able to project themselves via a 3D model of
the monastery, created by Jean-Luc Biscope.

Anonymous portrait of a monk

Bawit, Egypt, sixth-seventh century
Muse des Jacobins

Saint Simeon Stylites the Elder and Saint
Simeon Stylites the Younger
Icon attributed to Yusuf al-Musawwir
20 Alep, Syria, before 1666 Collection Abou Adal
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7th to 14th Centuries
The Eastern Churches
after the Muslim Conquest
part 2

Evangeliary [Syrian rite] copied by Petros, son of Father Gabriel

Malatya, Turkey, 1065 Syriac orthodox Patriarchate
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Being christian after the
muslim conquest

Starting in the seventh century, Muslims

conquered immense areas where they installed
successive caliphates that increasingly split
up the territory previously united under the
Roman Empire, and Islam was established as
the state religion. However, when the conquest
was over, Christian populations were able to
keep their religion, their places of worship,
their institutions, and their economic activities.

Despite their status as dhimmis (protected per-

sons), and the gradual decline in their proportion
on the population (especially from the thirteenth
century onwards), Christians continued to play
a major role in public administration and in
intellectual, social, and cultural life under the
various Muslim caliphates, principalities, and

Eastern Christian churches continued to deve-

lop under Muslim rule: significant missionary
activity, founding of numerous monasteries, and
literary and artistic productions to which the
churches of the Coptic area of Cairo still bear
witness today.

(detail) Virgin and Child Fresco

Beirut, Lebanon, thirteenth century
Ministry of Culture / Directorate General of Antiquities National
Museum of Beirut Lebanon / Tony Farraj

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rA world of images

In this second part of the exhibition, visitors are led to unders-

tand the place of the image in this religion: the issue of the
dispute over images and the representation of the
divine arose after 726.

Beginning in 787 (the Second Council of

Nicaea), churches filled with images and
developed their specific styles. Coptic
icons as well as the painted wood panels
from the famous Church of al-Mual-
laqa in Cairo, one of which the British
Museum is lending for the exhibition,
testify here to the greatness of Chris-

It was at that period that iconos-

tases appear: a stone or wood par-
tition covered with icons separating
the sacred space, the sanctuary where
the adoration of the offertory occurs, from
the profane space where the faithful remain.
Starting in the thirteenth century, churches -
Lebanese in particular - began to be adorned with
frescoes: an example from Beirut, presented in this part of
the exhibition, shows the Virgin.

Two flabella with the Virgin and Child in their centres are also
shown together in this space. They embody the integration of
these liturgical images in the furnishings and decoration of

Syriac flabellum
Deir el-Surian, Egypt, thirteenth
Muse royal de Mariemont
Photo M. Lechien

< a
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Arabic Gospel - Illustrated by Nemeh al-Musawwir (attributed)

Syria, 1675 Collection Antoine Maamari, Beirut

r Liturgical languages and songs

During the centuries following the Muslim Conquest, majority-Christian

indigenous populations gradually adopted the Arabic language and integra-
ted it into their liturgy and the decoration of their churches. That Arabisation
started in Bagdad, where the Bible was translated into Arabic as early as
the ninth century. In liturgical life, Arabic was quickly adopted and took
precedence over traditional languages, notably Coptic (which disappeared
around the sixteenth century), Greek, and Syriac.

In the exhibition, a magnified circular space is dedicated to liturgical lan-

guages: very rare Coptic, Syriac, Greek, and Arabic manuscripts, such as the
one illustrated by Nemeh al-Musawwir, attesting to the liturgical richness
and the importance of Arabic in these practices are presented. A sound ins-
tallation will allow visitors to discover Eastern hymnology (the ensemble of
the hymns of a rite) and the languages of the services of Eastern Christianity.

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Fragment of a bowl with Descent
from the Cross
Syria, late thirteenth - early four-

teenth century
Benaki Museum

Intellectual, artistic, and cultural interactions

Influences, borrowings, and exchanges between Christian and Muslim civili-

sations naturally took place. In Egypt (750-1258), Christians were able to par-
ticipate in the new power and occupy strategic positions. In Abbasid Bagdad,
they distinguished themselves as doctors and scientists, and contributed
significantly to the translation of works from Greek to Arabic. Working side
by side, Christian and Muslim artists and craftspeople participated in the
iconographical and stylistic developments of everyday objects and liturgical
objects found in the exhibition.

On a decorated bottle from Syria, we can see monastic scenes. Metal objects
such as a chandelier with Christian scenes and a ewer with Christian and
Islamic iconography embody those artistic interactions. Fragments from a
ceramic bowl also attest to those exchanges: the style reflects the influence
of the Islamic environment in which Eastern Christianity existed.

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The Crusades

Between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, the Holy Land became
a place of confrontation between Christians and Muslims. Eastern
Christians found themselves the main victims of those events. In
Syria and Iraq, the decline of Christianity accelerated in the tenth
century. In Egypt, it was in the fourteenth century, with riots and
more or less forced conversions, that the Coptic community started
to become marginalized.

When they came into contact with Eastern cultures - Syriac, Greek,
and Arabic - the Crusaders integrated some elements they encoun-
tered into their own traditions. They enabled artistic and cultural ex-
changes that are best known in architecture and literature. Similarly,
Eastern artists began to use Crusader style in local iconography: an
icon of Saint George dressed as a Crusader, dating from the middle
of the thirteenth century, is an eloquent example.

Bottle decorated with
monastic scenes
Syria, mid-thirteenth century
Collection of the Furusiyya Art
Foundation, Vaduz

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part 3

15th- 20th CENTURIES

Eastern Churches Between
Orient and Occident

rA unified world
In the fifteenth century, the Ottoman conquest brought
Christians from Mesopotamia, Syria, and Egypt into
the Ottoman Empire. That conquest was not followed
by political or social upheavals because Muslim law
concerning dhimmis (protected persons) continued to

Christians therefore benefitted from the unification of

the Mediterranean under Ottoman power: pilgrimages
increased and trade was organised between Melkites,
Maronites, and Armenians from Egypt toward
European ports. The Ottoman Empire developed at the
same time new diplomatic and commercial alliances.

The Ottoman system of Capitulations opened

the Mediterranean trade area and regulated the
relationships and interventions of various European
powers with, in in particular, the Christian populations
of the Ottoman Empire. In this space, several firmans
from the time are displayed, such as the one allowing
the Franciscans to rebuild the Holy Sepulchre.

Ottoman firman (Suleiman I) expelling

the Franciscans from the Cenacle, 1500
Ink and gold on paper
Jerusalem, Terra Sancta Museum
Custody of the Holy Land

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Eastern christians, vectors of cultural exchange
between orient and occident

The international ambitions of the Ottoman Empire contributed to intellectual, diplomatic, and
economic exchanges between Orient and Occident. Europe began to take an interest in learning
eastern languages and welcomed Christians to teach Arabic in newly created university chairs.
Those Christians, among whom Gabriel Sionita was a prominent figure, were also involved in
the translation into Arabic of Gospels intended for printing. A printing press was transferred to
Aleppo (1706-1711) and then to the Melkite monastery of Choueir, in Mount Lebanon. It was the
first in the Arabic language press in the Middle East, the production of printed materials then
being limited to liturgical use.

As early as the sixteenth century, French and Italian printers found solutions for reproducing
Arabic typography. In this section, manuscripts, bibles, punches, and copper plates with different
alphabets are presented. They illustrate the appearance of the first printed books in Arabic
characters, from the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Visitors will be able to interact with a multimedia terminal created by the Bibliothque nationale
de France: thanks to that portal, access to hundreds of digitised works that are preserved in
Arabic punches Eastern libraries are available to everyone. They are unique collections that testify to the inte-
Imprimerie Nationale ractions between countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and France.
/ Daniel Pype

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Thanks to the system of capitulations, Latin Christians settled permanently in the

Ottoman Empire and relied on indigenous Christians to be their intermediaries. Similarly,
merchants and craftspeople settled in the major Mediterranean ports of Venice and
That settlement was facilitated by the presence, beginning in the tenth century, of
colonies, in particular of Armenians and Maronites. Large trading families opened
counters in the Ottoman area and developed trade relationships with Europe and the
world. Thus, silk produced in Mount Lebanon starting in the sixteenth century became
one of the principal exports from the region controlled by the Druze Emir Fakhr-al-Dn


A Land of pilgrimage and ambitions

Beginning in the sixteenth century, the papacy multiplied initiatives directed toward Eas-
tern Christians. Colleges were founded in Rome and accepted Greeks (1576), Maronites
(1584), and Armenians. The Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, founded in 1622, sent Catho-
lic missionaries and produced printed works, especially in Arabic, for Eastern clerics.
Beginning in the sixteenth century, churches, with the exception of the Maronites, divided
between Catholic and Orthodox. In the exhibition, in a black and white photograph
of the Old City of Jerusalem dating from 1898, we see the missionaries dressed entirely
in black.

The capitulations and international treaties signed between the Ottoman sultans and
European and Russian courts were renewed over the centuries, confirming the intention
to protect holy places.

Then Jerusalem and Bethlehem took on new importance. On 8 February 1852, the Otto-
man Empire issued a firman establishing a status quo that stipulated equal ownership and
rights among the Christian communities to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem,
the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the Tomb of the Virgin Mary in Jerusalem.

The faithful communed in the holy places, and brought back symbolic objects that the
visitor to the exhibition can therefore discover: soaps, box-reliquaries, even an immense
model inlaid with wood, ivory, and mother-of-pearl representing the Holy Sepulchre.

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Model of the Holy Sepulchre

Jerusalem, Bethlehem
eighteenth century
Jerusalem, Terra Sancta Museum Custody of the Holy Land

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The artistic renewal of the icon
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The beautiful series of icons from the Collection Abou Adal embodies an artistic renewal.
Indeed, in the Ottoman Empire, the sixteenth century corresponded to a period of econo-
mic, societal, and artistic growth for Christian communities. The sacred art of icons seeks
to extract the visible form the invisible. The growing influence of the West in the choice
of subjects and their iconographical style allowed for the emergence in the eighteenth
century a veritable art of the Christian icon.

In Aleppo, where these icons are from, schools and dynasties of Christian artists - illu-
minators, icon painters, miniaturists - emerged during the seventeenth century, such as
the famous al-Musawwir dynasty

But Aleppo was not the only centre of creativity: Beirut, Jerusalem, Damascus, and Cairo
also participated in that movement. We see appearing on the icons, alongside the figure
of Christ, Arabic characters, as is the case, for example, of the Al-Musawwir icon of the
Descent into Limbo.

A Christian from the Azeizat clan from Madaba
Jerusalem, 1905 Ecole biblique darchologie franaise, Paris

Lebanon, 1691 Syriac Catholica convent in Charfet

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20th- 21st CENTURIES
Being Christian
in the Arab World Today
national question: between arab renaissance and
disintegration of the ottoman empire
part 4

This fourth section of the exhibition begins with the presentation,

in several displays, of famous magazines and newspapers: Al-Hilal
(the crescent), Al-Manar, and Al-Muqtataf, that show the desire to
create a common Arab culture that can assert itself in relationship
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to the West in the nineteenth century. The end of the nineteenth

century and the start of the twentieth century profoundly marked
the Christian communities in the Ottoman
Empire, which alternately experienced
hopes, difficulties, renunciations, exiles, and
sometimes bloody collapse. In 1860, Christians
were massacred in Syria: unpublished
engravings lent by the MuCEM illustrate that
tragic incident. In 1915, the Armenian genocide
by the Young Turks led to the displacement of
a very large population to camps in Lebanon,
Syria, and Egypt...

Exile and memory

The traumatic economic and political events

that have redrawn the map of the Middle East
led to the first migratory movements. Exile is
part of the history of these communities and

poses the problem of memory and transmission. Works by authors Dor Guez
and artists like Marie Seurat, Dor Guez, Brigitte Findakly, and Wajdi Scanograms #1 Georgette with her family,
Cyprus, 1958, 2010
Mouawad draw us into the search for the beloved land, left and often
manipulated readymade
lost. The final part of the exhibition concludes with personal visions 60x75 Edition 1/6, 2 AP
Courtesy of the Dvir Gallery and the artist
inscribed in a collective history.

Ysuf al-Musawwir, Descent into Limbo
Aleppo, Syria, 1645
Collection Abou Adal
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rCultural and religious renewal

Those political troubles and movements led to a revitalisation

of Christian religious and cultural practices. In 1968, one year
after the Six Day War, the popular fervour that followed the
apparition of the Virgin in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Cairo
demonstrated a need to turn toward a protective figure.

Even today, in Syria, Saint Thecla is renowned for accompa-

nying and supporting the nuns of Maloula. In Lebanon, the
streets abound with altars (mazar) dedicated to Rifqa and to
Charbel, two miracle-working Maronite saints who lived in
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Side by side, statues
representing the Virgin, pendants, icons, and photographs
here illustrate that new cultural and religious dynamic.

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Eastern Christian Heritage Today

Archaeological sites, churches, and monasteries are physical evi-

dence of the two millennia of Christian presence in the Arab world.
Today, some places have been partially or totally destroyed, churches
looted, manuscripts burned, statues knocked down. Other sites are
subject to increased surveillance by local populations concerned
about the continuity of their heritage and their faith.

Despite the vicissitudes of history, manuscripts, archives, and icons

have been protected and transmitted, for instance to the library of the
Catholic Syriac Patriarchate of Charfet, in Lebanon, that preserves
manuscripts from Tur Abdin and from southeastern Turkey displaced
after the events of 1915.

That same library, with support from the Bibliothque nationale de

France and from uvre dOrient, has launched campaigns to restore
manuscripts and printed works the loss of which would be irreme-
diable for the survival of the patrimonial memory of the Christians
of the Arab world.

(Detail) Houda Kassatly, Nabil Boutros, Icons
Street Altar Copts of the Nile series
Beirut, twentieth century Egypt, 1997-2004
Collection Houda Kassatly Nabil Boutros

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The human geography of the Christians of the six Arab countries of Egypt,
Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon will close the exhibition. Before
the eyes of contemporary photographers, the faces of those who are today
stakeholders in those territories confronted with very diverse political and
social situation express themselves.

In the privacy of a room; around a coffee; reading the love notes exchanged
by future spouses; following the Christian militias who have defended
Alqosh from Daesh; contemplating the beauty of teens passing the time
in Damascus; or documenting the ruins of the destroyed city of Maloula...
These photographic artists show us the reality of life that turns these
populations into sensitive individuals participating day after day, and with
courage, in the diversity of the Arab world.

Roger Anis, Blessed Marriage

Egypt, Cairo (2015)
Roger Anis

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Roger Anis
Michele Borzoni
Nabil Boutros
Katharine Cooper
Brigitte Findakly
Dor Guez
Hawre Khalid
Wajdi Mouawad
Serge Negre
Lenders & Artists

The Arab World Institute would like to express its gratitude to all the lenders who have contributed to this exhibition:

Collection Guilhem Morand
Muse rgional de la Narbonne Antique
Archives nationales
Archives du Ministre des Affaires
Dpartement des Antiquits
Muse de Jerash
Muse de Madaba
Institut Archolgique Franciscain

Marie et Zalfa Seurat Bibliothque Nationale de France (BnF)
Vincent Gelot (Albin Michel) Atchan
Lara Tabet
Imprimerie nationale Patriarcat syriaque orthodoxe

Muse de Cluny - muse national du Moyen Balamand
ge Couvent grec-orthodoxe Notre-Dame de
Muse des Arts dcoratifs Balamand
Muse du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac
Muse du Louvre
lenders Pertuis
Patriarcat maronite
Collection Monique Alphand Acadmie des Beaux-Arts (ALBA)
Berlin Universit de Balamand
Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin American University of Beirut (AUB)
Athens Collection Freddy Abou Adal
UNITED KINGDOM Benaki Museum Collection Antoine et Janine Maamari
Christian and Byzantine Museum Bibliothque orientale de lUniversit Saint-
British Library
IRAK Collection Houda Kassatly
British Museum
Bagdad Maison Tarazi
Furussiya Art Foundation
Muse national dIrak Ministre de la Culture / Direction gnrale
George Antaki
des Antiquits / Muse National de Beyrouth
Society of Antiquaries of London
Suleymaniyeh Harissa
BELGIUM Slemani Museum
Couvent syriaque catholique de Charfet
Morlanwelz iSRAEL Joun
Muse royal de Mariemont Couvent Saint-Sauveur
Tel Aviv
Dvir Gallery Kaslik
united arab emirates
Universit Saint-Esprit de Kaslik
Sharjah ItalY
Barjeel Art Foundation
Florence Ordre Basilien Alpin
usa Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana Art
New York Milan
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Castello Sforcezco / Raccolte dArte
Fondation Bodmer
Yale Applicata del Castello Sforzeco
Muse dArt et dHistoire de Genve
Yale University Art Gallery Rome
Musei Vaticani Museo Cristiano PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
Auch Bethleem
Muse des Jacobins Collection George Al Ama
Terra Sancta Museum Custodie de Terre
Avignon Sainte
Mission archologique franaise de Ecole biblique darchologie franaise
Saint-Symon Patriarcat Armnien de Jrusalem

Johann Demarigny

Collection and Exhibition Curator IMA

A trained historian, lodie Bouffard has worked on French interpretations of the Koran
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and the creation of a collective imagination about the figure of the Oriental in France.
For three years she coordinated the European project Qantara, Eastern and Western
Crossings, promoting medieval the Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic heritage of the Medi-
She is now the Collection and Exhibition Curator at the Arab World Institute, where she
curated the exhibition The Thousand and One Nights in 2011, was assistant curator for Haj:
Pilgrimage to Mecca in 2013, and curator of the HIP HOP: From the Bronx to Arab Streets
exhibition in 2015. She was also the curator of the Basmoca Virtual Museum, a private
collection of contemporary Arab and Chinese art. She has overseen the publications about
The Thousand and One Nights and HIP HOP: From the Bronx to Arab Streets exhibitions.
She is currently the curator of Eastern Christians: 2000 Years of History, which will be
presented at the IMA and at the MuBA Eugne Leroy, in Tourcoing

Raphalle Ziad
Scientific Curator, Head of the Byzantine Department Petit Palais

Raphalle Ziad holds a doctorate in the History of Religions, and is a specialist of Eastern
Christianity. She is the Head of the Byzantine Department at the Petit Palais, the Museum
of Fine Arts of the City of Paris, where she curated the exhibition Mount Athos and the
Byzantine Empire, Treasures of the Holy Mountain in 2009 and God(s), A Users Guide in
2012. She was also a scientific advisor for the Arab World Institute on questions of Eastern
Ferrante Ferranti Christianity and ancient Judaism while the museum was being renovated (2010-2012).
She has published Les Martyrs Maccabes: de lhistoire juive au culte chrtien: Les hom-
lies de Grgoire de Nazianze et de Jean Chrysostome (Brill, 2007) and Icnes du Petit Palais
(Paris-Muses, 2013). Her new book, Icnes et arts chrtiens orientaux au Petit Palais
(Paris-Muses) will be published in autumn 2017, to accompany the opening of the new gal-
lery dedicated to Eastern Christianity as part of the permanent collections of the museum.
Raphalle Ziad is a statutory member of the research laboratory Orient mditerrane
(UMR 8167) and is a member of the French Committee of Byzantine Studies. She is also a
member of the editorial boards of the reviews Le Monde de la Bible and Arts Sacrs and
collaborates regularly on books, symposiums, and specialised reviews.
In the context of the exhibition Eastern Christians: 2000 Years of History, for which she
coordinated the catalogue, she is organising a study day on the arts of Eastern Christians
that will take place on 18 November 2017.


a press kit

o o
Jointly published by the Arab World Institute, MUba
Eugne Leroy Tourcoing, and Gallimard
Under the direction of Raphalle Ziad

Publication date: 5 October 2017

208 pages g 29

Tuesday 14 November 2017

from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
From Spirituality to Citizenship:
Eastern Christians

With support from Kaiciid
With Bernard Heyberger, Director of Studies at the EHESS and the EPHE ;
Sbastien de Courtois, French historian, author, and journalist specialised
in Eastern Christian minorities; Mgr Pascal Gollnisch, Director General of

SPECIAL EDITION uvre dOrient ; Jean-Christophe Ploquin, rdacteur en chef La Croix


hors srie

CONNAISSANCE DES ARTS (in French) from 8 p.m. onwards

Destroying Memory: A Weapon of War
Chrtiens dOrient

The special edition will include a long interview

Chrtiens with the curators, general articles, and commen-
dOrient taries on works. With Mgr Youssif Thomas, Archbishop of Kirkuk (Iraq); Bernard Heyberger,
Director of Studies at the EHESS and the EPHE; Karima Berger, author; Mgr

68 pages g 9,50
H. S. N 778

Institut du Monde Arabe Paris

9,50 MUba - Eugne Leroy Tourcoing

Pascal Gollnisch, Director General of uvre dOrient; Sbastien deCourtois

(moderator), French historian, author, and journalist specialised in Eastern
Christian minorities.

Chrtiens dOrient. Nouveaux dfis
(working title)
Special edition. In the middle of the last century, Saturday 18 November,
Christians, present at every social level in Arab
countries, seemed to be full partners in the emer-
In the auditorium of the Petit Palais
ging modern Arab societies. Their situation has from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
deteriorated significantly over the last decade.
The Arts of Eastern Christians
But that phenomenon began earlier, in the 1970s,
with the war in Lebanon and the Islamist attacks Study day in the context of the exhibition, organised by Raphalle
against Copts. However, it was the war in Iraq, Ziad, Scientific Curator, Curator at the Petit Palais, and Ioanna
which inaugurated a new series of denominational Rapti, Director of Studies at the EPHE
conflicts, that forced Christians into exile. Colla- With Amir Harrak, Sulamith Brodbeck, Jannic Durand, Christian Frstel,
teral victims or direct target of terrorist organisa- Mat Immerzeel, Catherine Jolivet-Lvy, Andrea Paribeni, Ioanna Rapti,
tions, only 7% of the original Christian population Jean-Michel Spieser, Raphalle Ziad
Free admission, limited seating
Publication date 20 October 2017
7,50 Subscription: 25 (4 issues/year)

Young peoples booklet

DORIENT Richly illustrated, this booklet will be a veritable

En coproduction
small catalogue of the exhibition for young au-
25/08/2017 17:32
diences. One copy is offered to each visiting class
and the library of their school.
dition IMA/Silvana editoriale
6 On sale at the IMA Bookshop

o a
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Thursdays at the IMA

In collaboration with uvre dOrient
and the Collge des Bernardins

Thursday 12 October 6:30 p.m Thursday 14 December 6:30 p.m

Salle du haut conseil salle du haut conseil OR auditorium
The Role of Christians in Arab Societies. Eastern Christians: Situation and prospects
Modern and Contemporary Period.
Guest: Monsignor Pascal Gollnisch
Presented by Jean-Christophe Ploquin, Editor in Chief of La Croix
In a Middle East shaken by the barbarity of the pseudo-Islamic State,
Christians have always been engaged in the societies of the Middle war is not sparing the minority Christians, who have been forcibly
East and the history of their countries. They have been - and still expelled from a land that is also theirs. The future of Eastern Chris-
are - engaged in economic, intellectual, and political life. Both tians now in question and what it represents for the political
during the Arab Renaissance, al-Nadha, and, more recently, in and social situation in the Middle East cannot be explained without
the political crises that have traversed the region, they belong to reference to the history of the region and without understanding the
the future of their countries and experiencing unique situations. role played by Christian communities in the context of increasing
Will they disappear, as some suggest? No. The Arab Christians Islamisation.
are not writing their last chapter in the Orient, and their future in
The Eastern Churches have experience in dialogue with Islam.
the Mashreq still belongs to them.
Monsignor Gollnisch recommends an oriental secularism, reaffir-
With Florence Hellot Bellier, historian, associate researcher with the ming the right to citizenship for all. He is fighting for the return of
CNRS, UMR Iranian and Indian Worlds, author of Chroniques de massacres Christian populations to their homes. These are reasons to hope for
annoncs. Les Assyro-Chaldens dIran et du Hakkari face aux ambitions des these resisters and victims without whom history cannot continue
empires, 1896-1920, uvre dOrient academic prize 2015; Jean-Franois
to be written.
Colosimo, Director of the Editions du Cerf, historian of religions, chronicler
for more than thirty years about Eastern Christians, author of the essay Les Monsignor Pascal Gollnisch became Director general of uvre
Hommes en trop. La maldiction des chrtiens dOrient , Editions Fayard, dOrient on 1 September 2010. Director of French pilgrimages in
2014; Antoine Fleyfel, Professor at the Catholic University of Lille, Head of Poland at the age of 24, Father Gollnisch was committed very early
Academic Relations at uvre dOrient. Author of Gopolitique des chrtiens
to these spiritual journeys and encounters with local communities.
dOrient: Dfis et avenir des chrtiens arabes, Harmattan, 2013.
He also has a passion for the Eastern churches, whose uniqueness

and history he knows well. For thirty years he has spent most of
his holidays backpacking through the countries of the Middle East
and Eastern Europe. He has acquired a deep experience of the daily
difficulties encountered by the Eastern Christians, and he has made
many friends there. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI promoted Monsignor
Pascal Gollnisch Chaplain of His Holiness.
Thursday 16 November 6:30 p.m

Salle du haut conseil
The Other and the Neighbour in the Koran
and the Bible
Presented by Sbastien de Courtois, author, journalist,
Producer of Eastern Christians on France Culture radio Thursday 11 January 2018 6:30 p.m
A Mediterranean Religious Freedom?
Different religions coexist in the Middle East. In a region experien-
cing profound upheavals, interreligious dialogue is a requirement Situation and Challenges
for building peace. That dialogue is intellectual and spiritual, and
In collaboration with Valentine Zuber and Jacques
finds inspiration in a shared daily life. The question of otherness is
essential, expressed differently in the Koran and the Bible. What Huntzinger (Collge des Bernardins/EPHE)
are the Christian and Muslim perspectives on the other and the With Ghazi Gherairi, Professor at the University of Carthage and Ambassador
neighbour? of Tunisia to UNESCO ; Mohammed Mouaqit, Professor at the University of
Casablanca; and Alessandro Ferrari, Professor at the University of Insubria,
With Nayla Tabbara, Professor of Religious and Islamic Sciences and Direc-
tor of the Institute for Citizenship and Diversity Management of the Adyan
Foundation; Father Eric Morin, Doctor of Theology, Coordinator of the cole The focus will be on the right to freedom of religion on both sides
Cathdrale, Director of Public Courses and of the Institut Suprieur de of the Mediterranean.
Sciences Religieuses des Bernardins the principles of interpretation of
the founding texts in Islam and Christianity.

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Tuesday 3 October 2017 at 7 p.m.
VILLA TOUMA by Suha Arraf
Palestine, fiction, 2014, 87
In Ramallah, in Palestine, three sisters from the Christian aristocracy lost their land
and their social position after the Six-Day War in 1967 with Israel. Unable to face their
new reality, they isolated themselves from the rest of the world by shutting them-
selves up in their villa to cling to their past. The arrival of their young niece, Badia,
soon upsets their routine, and even more when they decide to find her a husband.


Tuesday 17 October 2017 at 7 p.m.

Sous les soutanes by Michel Zarazir
Lebanon, fiction, 2015, 1951
Nuns receive the visit of the Bishop who announces the impending closure of their
convent. He accidently steps on a mine left over from the war. In a panic, the nuns
question their faith

La Vierge, les coptes et moi by Namir Abdel Messeeh

France/Egypt, documentary, 2012, 91
Namir goes to Egypt to make a documentary about the miraculous apparitions of the
Virgin. Though sceptical, he is fascinated by the question (taken very seriously by the
Holy See). He decides to go to Upper Egypt, to the village of his mothers family. There,
with the help and support of the inhabitants, he stages a fake apparition of the Virgin.
Between documentary and autofiction, a tremendous comedy about roots, beliefs...
and the cinema.


Tuesday 24 October 2017 at 7 p.m.

Les Derniers Assyriens by Robert Alaux
France, documentary, 2003, 53
The film tells us the history of Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac Christian identity from
their Mesopotamian origins and their Aramaic language to the genocide of 1915 and
their dispersal.
In the face of Islamist pressure, these Christians are now fleeing Iraq, Syria, and
Turkey for the West, where they risk losing a culture they have managed to preserve
for millennia.
Robert Alaux

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Tuesday 24 October 2017 at 7 p.m.

Damas, au pril des souvenirs by Marie Seurat
France/Syria, documentary, 2012, 62
Marie returns to Syria, where she was born, after a long exile. She wants to purchase
a house, she says, she believes. Her return brings back her history in the context of
the larger one. Her voice runs over the images, like a letter addressed to her husband,
Michel Seurat, assassinated in Lebanon thirty years earlier.
Memories of childhood and love blend with the history of the country in the light of
todays events.


Tuesday 21 November 2017 at 7 p.m.

Incendies by Denis Villeneuve
France / Canada, fiction, 2010, 130
At the reading of their mothers will, Jeanne and Simon Marwan receive two
envelopes: one for a father they believed to be dead and the other for a brother they
never knew existed.
Jeanne sees in the enigmatic legacy the key the silence of their mother, locked in an
unexplained muteness in the last weeks before her death. She immediately decides
to leave for the Middle East to unearth the past of a family she knows almost nothing
Simon, on the other hand, couldnt care less about the posthumous caprices of a
mother who had always been distant. But his love for his twin sister will soon lead
him to join Jeanne and to travel with her through the country of their ancestors on
the trail of a mother very different from the one they knew.

All screenings:

Full price 5 Reduced price 3


Tuesday 28 November 2017 at 7 p.m.


Sleepless Nights de Eliane Raheb

Lebanon, documentary, 2012, 128
The film brings together two people irreparably marked by the war in Lebanon: the
former head of the Lebanese Forces Christian militia, Assaad Chaftari, in search
of redemption, and Maryam Saiidi, who is desperately seeking her communist son,
Maher, who disappeared thirty years earlier during a military operation planned by
Assaads militia.

Free entry

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Educational Activities
Guided Tours All ages
>> From Tuesday to Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.,
Eastern Christians Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays at 11:30 a.m., 2:30
p.m., and 4:00 p.m
>> Online booking and payment required 01 40 51 38 14
>> 20 people
>> From Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays,
Sundays, and public holidays from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
>> Booking required 01 40 51 38 45 or 01 40 51 39 54
or groups@imarabe.org g 20 people

Meeting A diversity of paintings, styles, themes, and techniques

- between Byzantine conformity and creativity - will be
at the Exhibition presented during this session. An emblematic icon will
One Month, One Eastern Icon be studied in greater depth
>> Sundays 15 October, 19 November, 17 December, 7
>> Online booking and payment required 01 40 51 38 14
>> 20 people


Creative workshop for A visit of the exhibition, taking time to choose motifs,
followed by a creative workshop to make a self-portrait
parents and children on a wooden board with encaustic in the Fayum style.
Wax Portrait >> Saturdays from 7 October 2017 to 13 January 2018 and
during school holidays from 24 to 28 October 2018,
31 October 2017 and from 2 to 4 November 2017; from 26
to 30 December 2017 and from 2 to 13 January 2018
>> Schedule: 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Prices: 1 child + 1 parent 13, 2nd child 6,
>> Buy online or at 01 40 51 38 14
>> 20 people, from age 6 In workshop -2

Visit of the exhibition then the workshop, creation by
Day-long creative clay engraving of an image inspired by the pictorial art of
workshop (for adults) Byzantine and Arab icons.
Making an Icon >> Saturday 14 October 2017 10 people, adults
Saturday 18 November 2017 10 people, visually impaired
adults (New accessibility workshop)
10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Visit of the exhibition
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Discovery workshop
2:00 p.m. - 5 p.m. Production workshop
>> Price: 65 In workshop -1
>> Online booking and payment required 01 40 51 38 14

press kit

Story Time This weekly programme will offer children and adults an
entertaining journey to discover myths, stories, and heroes
Myths: Stories of Heroes from the Bible.
>> Wednesdays and Saturdays from 4 October 2017 to 13
January 2018 and during school holidays from 24 to
28 October 2017, 31 October 2017 and from 2 to 4 November
2017, and from 26 to 30 December 2017 and from 2 to 6
January 2018
>> In workshop -1 7 and 14 October, 18 November and 9
December, Bibliothque jeunesse level -2 from 3 to 4 p.m.
>> Free admission, reservation required by telephone at 01 40
51 39 80.
>> Subject to minimum reservation of 5 people g 25 people

Tales from Fifth-Century Egypt Samira Kirollos believes in the power of tales and myths.
She will present the monodrama of Hilaria, daughter of the
Roman Emperor, that of the beautiful Euphemia, and the
encounter of Pisenthios with a mummy. She will appear
before the audience of the Arab World Institute on Sundays.
>> 8 October 2017 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
>> Worksop -1 - Free - from age 12 - limited seating


EXPLAINING AN The walls of the workshop will be prepared like a screen

bearing icons, playing on the modernity of motifs the
ICONOSTASIS better to decode the symbols of the myths and stories of
Gallery of Icons heroes.
This gallery, set up in workshop - 1, can travel.


Study tour From Jerusalem to Alexandria, Aleppo to Bagdad, a

journey of discovery to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim
for families pilgrimage places. Provided with a map, families leave
Mysterious Journey Jerusalem in pursuit of Ambroise, doctor to the princes
in the East and kings of France, who, from city to city, is seeking a
cure for a young princess.
>> Sundays 19 November 2017, 7 January 2018, visit starts
at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. (lunch not provided)
>> Booking www.collegedesbernardins.fr
>>Study tour of the Muse dart et dhistoire du Judasme,
Institut du monde arabe, Collge des Bernardins


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Founded in 1856 by professors at the Sorbonne, uvre different religions sometimes struggle to live side by side.
dOrient is a French association dedicated to supporting uvre dOrient does not neglect those who, fleeing dramatic
Eastern Christians. Its work is long term - which is what situations, make the choice to leave their country and come
makes it unique - but it also intervenes in the event of war or to France. It is currently coordinating CCARCO, a committee
natural disaster. under the aegis of the French Episcopate working to support
the social and human reception of Eastern Christian refugees.
A Catholic charity headed by Monsignor Pascal Gollnisch and
supported by 70,000 donors, uvre dOrient funds each year To inform and raise awareness about the origins of Eastern
more than 1,500 projects led by 400 Christian communities and Chr istians and their situation today, uvre dOr ient
institutions. They work with all who are in need, regardless of intervenes in various ways: exhibitions and conferences in
religious affiliation, in some twenty countries, mainly in the town halls and parishes; interventions in schools... uvre
Middle East. In 2016, almost 20 million euros were distributed. dOrient also responds to requests from young people hoping
uvre dOrient has been awarded Give in Trust certification to go into the field and meet Eastern Christians thanks to its
from the French charitable oversight organisation Don en Youth Council. Through its presence on the scientific council
confiance. of the exhibition and the connections it makes possible among
Eastern Christian communities and the Arab World Institute,
I t s w o r k f o c u s e s o n e d u c a t i o n (s c h o o l s , c r c h e s ,
uvre dOrient is a partner of the exhibition and has been
orphanages), social assistance (dispensaries, hospitals,
active in its preparation.
institutions for the disabled, retirement homes), cultural
actions, and diocesan life (scholarships, training, libraries, In general, this action is part of the mission of uvre dOrient
translation of books). to act in support of the heritage of Eastern Christianity by
making it known in France and by protecting it in situ. Eastern
From the beginning of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, uvre
communities pass that heritage on to the universal Church
dOrient has provided humanitarian aid to displaced persons
and the entire world. It also bears witness to their roots in
and refugees. It is essential for Eastern Christians to remain in
the lands and societies of the Middle East
their countries of origin: they have lived there since the origins
of Christianity and are vectors of peace in societies where

uvre dOrient 20 rue du Regard 75006 Paris
Tl. +(33) 0 1 45 48 54 46

Press contacts
cbaumont@oeuvre-orient.fr amilcent@oeuvre-orient.fr
press kit

Shared heritage online


The digital library Bibliothques dOrient, the fruit of coo- Bibliothques dOrient not only allows the general public
peration between the Bibliothque nationale de France (BnF) to discover an exceptional heritage, it contributes concretely
and seven heritage and research libraries in the Middle East, to protecting it. It is a firm commitment by the BnF, which
will be presented at the Arab World Institute in Paris and at is acting to protect threatened documentary heritage. Lau-
the Tourcoing Museum of Fine Arts on the occasion of the rence Engel, President of the BnF..
exhibition Eastern Christians: 2000 Years of History. By
Visitors to the site will discover a vast collection remarkable
bringing together its collections with those of its partners
digitised documents divided into six thematic sections. Pre-
and by making its technological know-how available for this
cious Hebrew manuscripts, maps that open new perspectives
project, the BnF is contributing to the preservation and dis-
on the social and economic history of Turkey, the ancestors
semination of an exceptional heritage. Bibliothques dOrient
of the Guide Bleus, preparatory drawings for the Description
was made possible through support from the Total Corporate
of Egypt, unpublished albums of photographs...are all docu-
Foundation and the Plastic Omnium Group, which supported
ments that open a door to knowledge and imagination with a
the digitization and online accessibility of the documents from
simple click.
partner libraries, as well as the training of their personnel.

press kit

The unique collections brought together demonstrate the inte- on Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage: As a mirror
ractions between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean of humanity, a guardian of our collective memory, and a wit-
and France over several centuries, with particular emphasis ness to the extraordinary creative spirit of humanity, world
on the period 1800-1945. Intended equally for the scientific cultural heritage represents the foundation of our common
community and the general public, the digitised works were future.
chosen by a scientific council that brought together fourteen
The BnF is participating in the exhibition through the loan of
internationally renowned academics and researchers and the
some thirty exceptional works. It has also supported the pre-
president of the BnF.
sentation of two collections of Syriac liturgical books from the
This action to preserve and promote a cultural heritage of eleventh and seventeenth centuries preserved in Lebanese
several millennia is part of the BnFs policy of cooperation churches and restored with support from the Total Corporate
throughout the world. It contributes to the implementation of Foundation and the Plastic Omnium Group.
the 3 December 2016 Declaration of the Abu Dhabi Conference

Bibliothques dOrient

accessible online on 12 September 2017

g 8 partner institutions, with new national and international partners coming in January 2018:
Bibliothque nationale de France (Paris),
Institut Franais dArchologie Orientale and Institut Dominicain dEtudes Orientales (Cairo),
Centre dEtudes Alexandrines (Alexandria),
Institut Franais du Proche-Orient and the Bibliothque Orientale of Saint Joseph University (Beirut),
cole Biblique et Archologique Franaise (Jerusalem),
Institut Franais dEtudes Anatoliennes (Istanbul)

g Almost 7000 exceptional documents online at opening, with many more to come
g Nearly 100 themes addressed and 100 texts written by internationally renowned academics, scientists, and
curators, clarifying themes and contextualising documents.

g Content in three languages: French, Arabic, and English.

Press contact
Isabelle Coilly
01 53 79 40 11 g isabelle.coilly@bnf.fr


press kit

History and Mission

Christianity has had a durable, rich, and diverse The Stavros Niarchos Foundation [(SNF) (www.SNF.org)] is one

presence in the Arab world. That presence is cha- of the worlds leading philanthropic organizations, making grants

racterised not only by conflicts but also by its vitality. in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and

Eastern Christians have played a critical role on the social welfare. The Foundation funds organizations and projects with

social, political, cultural, economic, and religious a broad, lasting, and positive impact for society at large, concentra-

levels. Eastern Christians: 2000 Years of History ting on vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly and also

will present a coherent account of the permanent exhibiting solid leadership and sound management.

and rich presence that began with the founding of

Christian communities in the Arab world and that The Foundation actively seeks to support projects that facilitate the

has evolved to this day in a region that is increasingly formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for

unstable. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) has serving public welfare. 2016 will be the twentieth year of philanth-

already supported many major exhibitions that have ropic action by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Since 1996, the

explored the Christian presence in the Arab world in Foundation has made 3,381 grants for a total of 1.8 billion euros in

the broader context of the Byzantine Empire and By- 113 nations around the world. Through its four areas of interven-

zantine culture and civilisation. We are very pleased tion, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation supports projects to improve

to be able to collaborate with the Arab World Institute access to basic rights for all. It works to meet the needs of its time

and to support this superb exhibition at a time when and improve the lives of the many beneficiaries of the projects it

regional conflicts have had a severe impact on the supports;

Christian community in the Middle East, menacing

its presence and its future. The extraordinary his- In 2006, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation announced its plan to

tory of the Arab world includes an essential Christian finance the development of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultu-

component, and Eastern Christians: 2000 Years of ral Center (www.snfcc.org). The total cost of the project was 629

History has succeeded marvellously in capturing, million euros. The project was to include new facilities for the Natio-

exploring, and presenting the riches of the Christian nal Library of Greece, and Greek National Opera, as well as create a

heritage in the region.. 210,000-metre park. Ten years later, that symbol of the twenty-first
century had been built. Designed by the internationally renowned

Signed by the Board of Directors of the SNF architect Renzo Piano, this far-reaching project was entirely funded
by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and was offered to the Greek
government, which will manage it. Following the transfer (from
the SNFCC to the Greek government) the Foundation announced
its commitment to continue supporting the SNFCC for the next five
years, through grants totalling 50 million euros. The grants support
the implementation of public programming and help cover part of
the SNFCCs operational costs. All events funded with SNF support
are free to the public. It is the intention of the Foundation to offer
the city and future generations a tool that will help build the Greece
of tomorrow by focusing on the values of education, culture, and
sustainable development.

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The exhibition Eastern Christians: 2000 Years of History

was developed with the patronage of
the Total Foundation Major Patron of the IMA

Present in the Middle East since its creation, the Total Group another priority of the Total Foundation. Manuscripts from
has always paid particular attention to the culture and heri- these countries, restored by the BnF with support from the
tage of the region. So it is quite natural that the Foundation Total Foundation, will be on display for the event.
and the Arab World Institute have been working together The Total Foundation is therefore very pleased to be associa-
since 2005 to promote the cultures of the Arab world and pre- ted with this initiative of exceptional quality that celebrates a
sent major exhibitions: Pharaohs, The Golden Age of Arab region of the world particularly dear to the Group.
Sciences, Bonaparte and Egypt, Palestine, Creativity in
All its Forms, The Thousand and One Nights, Breaking
Away...Tunisia One Year Later, Nefertitis Theorem, The
Hajj, Contemporary Morocco, Egypts Sunken Myste- The Total Corporate Foundation
ries, Gardens of the Orient, and more recently Ocean
Explorers, From Sinbad to Marco Polo. Established in 1992, The Total Foundation par ticipates
This new opus at the IMA is a first in France and the world, through its cultural patronage in the promotion of the cultures
since no exhibition has yet been dedicated to the two millen- and preservation of the heritage of the territories where it is
nia of history of the Christians in the Middle East, commonly active. It supports access to culture for the greatest number,
known as Eastern Christians. and for young people in particular. The diversity and comple-
To Present the Eastern Christians is to understand their mentarity of the actions supported by the Total Foundation
diversities and the major role they have played in the politi- make it one of the main French actors in cultural patronage
cal, cultural, intellectual, and religious development of that
and a Major Patron of the Arab World Institute.
geographic area. That richness and vitality must be explained
to a varied audience, Eastern and Western, Christian and not.
The exhibition Eastern Christians not only highlights the
dialogue of cultures, but also exhibits restored heritage,

For more information

www.fondation.total.com g www.facebook.com/FondationTotal
Director of Communications g Caroline Guillot g caroline.guillot @total.com

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The Sawiris Foundation for

Social Development(SFSD)
A century and a half of sustainable development

Since it was founded in 2001, the Sawiris Foundation for Social prerequisites for greater productivity and empowerment of
Development, one of the first family foundations in Egypt, has populations.
established itself as a new model for development aid in the Over the past fifteen years, the SFSD has granted nearly 40
country. Its central mission is to contribute to the develop- million euros to 321 projects within our axes of intervention:
ment of Egypt, to create sustainable employment opportu- professional training, scholarships, cultural prizes, access
nities, and to empower citizens to build productive lives that to microcredit, and health and development of local commu-
realize their full potential nities.
The SFSD has benefitted nearly 212,000 Egyptians in 23
The Foundation supports initiatives in the areas of professio- departments, helping to empower individuals and improve
nal training, education, and access to microcredit. We are also their well-being within local communities across the country.
mobilizing our efforts to improve hygiene and access to care
For more information about the SFSD
and to accompany local communities in the improvement of
infrastructure and access to basic services - two important


An officially approved non-profit structure since 1992, the funds created by individuals or legal entities that want to en-
Fondation Notre Dame supports and develops nearly 140 gage in charitable work to fund projects in the public interest.
Christian mutual aid, educational, and cultural projects each Presenting a panorama of the communities of Eastern Chris-
year. It is mobilised in the service of the human person, in all tianity, the exceptional participation of the Fondation Notre
of its dimensions. The foundation supports the commitment Dame is justified by the essential nature of an irreplaceable
and ideas of those who wish to encourage human growth by history and a current situation that no one can ignore. For its
providing confidence and hope. twenty-fifth anniversary, the foundation created by Cardinal
For the last ten years, the Fondation Notre Dame has been Lustiger - it is also the tenth anniversary of his death - is
a sheltering association, hosting thirty-three individualised happy to contribute to the success of this major initiative.


With support from

The Arab World Institute warmly thanks the other patrons of the exhibition:

Doctor Nader Riad, Doctor Raouf Ghabbour and Mr Raouf Abdel Messih

and for secondary school visits

Rseau Education Prioritaire dIle-de-France

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Jack Lang, President IMA Media Contacts

Mojeb Al Zahrani, General Director Communication and Media Partnerships
David Bruckert, General Secretary Mriam Kettani-Tirot
Catherine Lawless, Communication Advisor +33 (0)1 40 51 39 64

Exhibition Organization
French and International Press
Elodie Bouffard
Mlanie Monforte
Collection and Exhibition Curator, IMA
+33 (0)1 40 51 38 62
Raphalle Ziad, Scientific Curator,
Head of the Byzantine Department, Petit Palais

Digital Communication
Associate Curator Nama Stamboul
Virginia Cassola +33 (0)1 40 51 39 32
Collection and Exhibition Curator, IMA nstamboul@imarabe.org

Scientific Committee Promotion and press for young people,

the social sphere, and people with disabilities
Franoise Briquel-Chatonnet
Sylvain Robin
Marie-Hlne Rutschowscaya
+33 (0)1 40 51 34 86
Alain Desreumaux srobin@imarabe.org
Bernard Heyberger
Charles Personnaz

Exhibition Department

Aurlie Clemente-Ruiz
Romain Maricaoudin
Production Manager
Sarah Djennadi
Exhibition press contact
Exhibition Assistant
Agence CommunicArt

Exhibition Design Oriane Zerbib & Anas Tridon

Giovanna Comana, Iva Berthon Gajsak architects + 33 (0)1 71 19 48 04 g + 33 (0)7 69 75 11 78

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1 rue des Fosss Saint-Bernard 75005 Paris

+33 1 40 51 38 38 g www.imarabe.org
Open Tuesday Friday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday - Public Holidays: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Full Price: 12 g Reduced Price: 10



The exhibition Eastern Christians - 2000 Years

of History will be on display at the MuBA
Eugne Leroy, Fine Arts Museum of Tourcoing,
from 22 February to 12 June 2018.

In partnership with


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