Al-Liqa’ Center / Galilee Branch
Palestinian Contextualized Theology Conference, 14th Session
“Incarnation, Sacrifice and Glory”
Mar Elias College – Ibillin, Galilee
8 December 2007
The conference was held in Mar Elias College in Ibillin on the 8th of December 2007. Leading Galilee religious and laity personalities attended the 14th session titled “Incarnation, Sacrifice and Glory”. Following a brief introductory remarks by Al-Liqa’s Director, Dr. Geries S. Khoury, Archbishop Elias Chacour, President of Mar Elias College and a friend of Al-Liqa’ welcomed attendees and in the process praised Al-Liqa’ Center’s activities. Bishop Butros Mu’allem gave an invocation and a prayer.
The proceedings of the conference began with a lecture by Fr. Dr. Rafiq Khoury which was moderated by Rev. Fu’ad Dagher and which revolved around “Inculturation” throughtout history in light of incarnation, sacrifice and glory. Fr. Khoury mentioned that globalization is an American phenomenon and insisted that there must be a third way that reconciles modernization and traditions. He warned against transforming faith into a political ideology.
Sr. Mary Paul presented a lecture which was moderated by Attorney Badira Khoury and which focused on “Icon of Nativity: An Eastern Vision”. The lecturer emphasized the symbols and meanings of the Nativity Icon. She also explained the meaning of the birth of Jesus in night and in a modest manger and what does mean swadding which is a Pharonic use which indicates that death in a new rebirth. and that the idea that the birth of Jesus in a modest manger and at night clearly indicates that death is a new rebirth.
A third lecture titled “Eastern Testimony in the Childhood Gospel,” was presented by Fr. Said Hashim and moderated by Dr. Shadi Abu Khadra. Fr. Said focused on the Book of St. Luke and treatment of Christ’s childhood. In the process he compared the lives of Jesus and St. John the Baptist clearly showing that Christ’s was sublime and unique in comparison.
Fr. Said Hashim’s lecture was followed by two panels. The first panel, moderated by Mr. Ziad Shlewit, was entitled “Church Educational institutions and their role in confirming social and Church identity.” Mr. Shlewit asked whether schools today carry the same task as the past and the factors behind the resulting present shortcomings. Dr. Hatim Khoury discussed the identity compound of Christians in Israel and showing in the process, as a result of non-scientific survey he made, that Palestinian identity affiliation comes first asking whether school is able to make the educated take a stand. He underlined the characteristics of a Christian school as well; such as: To accept all; to emphasize the Christian faith; ethics and to have specialized committee which should supervise the Christian schools, etc…
Mr. Nasser Chachour and Ms. Elham Marshi presented jointly “The meaning of Christian belonging in Local Theology” throughout history. Both presented the meaning of “belonging” and its variety. The lecturers in this panel raised many critical questions about the role of the Christian schools and urged Al-Liqa’ to study this subject seriously by doing field research and trying to answer the serious questions and suggest possible solutions. The Second panel, moderated by Mr. Yousef Matar, was titled “Unifying Christian Feasts”. Fr. Elias ‘Odeh from the Latin Patriarchate said that a courageous decision is needed by the Church hierarchy. If not, a firm stand is needed by the laity as was seen clearly in Jordan. Otherwise, people can resort to a prayer by Jesus: “They are one in the Father”. Fr. Jubra’il Naddaf of the Eastern Orthodox Church gave a lengthy presentation of the differences between Eastern and Western calendars. He stressed the need of love between the Christians and such a love could lead to a real unity.
At the conclusion of the conference, Dr. Geries S. Khoury spoke thanking in the process all those attending and participating in the conference as well as those in charge of Mar Elias College. A dinner party in Shafa ‘Amr followed. Once again, Archbishop Elias Chachour spoke praising Al-Liqa’ Center for establishing a branch in Galilee. Ms. Mirvet Ashqar, from Nazareth, followed with Christmas Carols and some of her songs from her new album. Likewise, ‘Amer Baba from Shafa ‘Amr presented Byzantine Carols.