Friday, May 8, 2009

Pope visits the Holy Land

Here are some voices from reasonable people who hope that the papal pilgrimage to the Holy Land will do some good, especially for relations between the Christian community and others. Christians are now a minority in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Middle East, mostly due to comparatively low birth rates and emigration when other communities have higher birth rates or demographic growth through immigration. Demographers speak of Christians as the "vanishing third," but perhaps that's too dramatic. If one takes the long view (say over the past two millennia), this means that Greek and Roman influence on the culture and society of the Middle East has only been fully marginalized and eclipsed through events that unfolded over the past century. The remarkable longevity of the age of Hellenism is still evident in the fact that the Greek Orthodox Church continues to be the most significant landowner in the Holy Land after the State of Israel.

A shoutout to David Satran, who opens the documentary.

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