Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land
The Patriarch Sophronius and the ‘Omarite Covenant
Events in Jerusalem A.D. 638, when
Patriarch Sophronius met Caliph ‘Omar.
Dr. Geries Khoury
Public lecture at the Swedish Christian Study
Thursday 28th of May, 2015
Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem
At the invitation of the Swedish Christian Center in Jerusalem, Dr. Geries S.
Khoury lectured on the life of Sophronius and the many challenges facing him
before and after his election as Patriarch of Jerusalem focusing as well on Al-Liqa’s
2015 publication titled “Sophronius: Book of Evidence on Confirming Faith” by
Dr. Geries S. Khoury. The author’s study and critical edition of Sophronius’
life, works and Omar’s Covenant was a major focus of Dr. Geries’ lecture.
Sophronius and Jerusalem were besieged by Muslim forces. This led the Patriarch
to call for reconciliation on the condition that Caliph Omar himself should come
to Jerusalem to speak with him. As a result Omar’s Covenant was drawn up.
Clearly Omar’s actions reflected a man of honor with a strong faith. The
Covenant guaranteed the rights and freedoms of all Christians. Dr. Geries
reiterated the importance of the Covenant in laying the foundation of Christian
Muslim encounters and dialogs throughout history.
Dr. Geries pointed out that there were some caliphs and governors who did not
respect Omar’s Covenant or Christians’ holy places. Some even aggressed against
Muslims. At the end of the lecture, a question and an answer session took place.
International visitors, academicians and local Christians and Muslims attended