Changes and Developments of the Latin Patriarchate and the Melkite Catholic Church in the Post-Great War Lands of Palestine and Transjordan

In: Social Sciences and Missions
Paolo Maggiolini Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

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Reconsidering the relationship between the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Melkite Catholic Church, the paper aims to analyze the changes and developments of the Catholic Church’s presence in post-World War I Palestine and Transjordan. It specifically examines how the dialectic and debate on the issue of Arabization and Latin-Melkite competition during the Mandate period went beyond the traditional inter-Church rivalry, epitomizing the progression of a complex process of reconfiguring the Catholic ecclesiastical and missionary presence in the Holy Land in efforts to amalgamate and harmonize its “national-local” and “transnational” scopes and characters. The paper will specifically look at the local Catholic dimension and its religious hierarchies to understand the logic behind their positioning in regard to such issues. This perspective makes it possible to reveal how local religious Catholic leaderships (of both the Latin Patriarchate and Melkite Catholic Church) sought to interpret and promote the reconfiguration of their respective Church and religious community organizations and structures in these two lands during the Mandate. The intra-Catholic perspective will help us understand how intra-denominational as well as inter-denominational competition acted as tools for missionary, ecclesiastical and community development as well as a catalyst of change, anticipating most of the issues that still characterize the complex position and condition of the Church in this territory.


Cet article réexamine les relations entre le patriarcat latin de Jérusalem et l’ Église catholique melkite, afin d’ analyser la manière dont la présence de l’ Église catholique a changé et évolué dans la Palestine de l’ après-guerre et en Transjordanie. Il montre en particulier en quoi la question de l’ arabisation et la concurrence entre Églises latine et melkite durant la période du Mandat allaient au-delà de la traditionnelle rivalité entre ces Églises. Celles-ci illustrent la progression d’ un processus complexe de reconfiguration de la présence catholique ecclésiale et missionnaire en Terre sainte, à travers des efforts visant à rapprocher et harmoniser les orientations et les caractéristiques de l’ Église aux niveaux “national-local” et “transnational”. La perspective intra-catholique permet de mieux comprendre comment les concurrences intra-dénominationnelle et inter-dénominationnelle deviennent des outils pour le développement missionnaire, ecclésial et communautaire, ainsi qu’ un catalyseur du changement, anticipant ainsi la plupart des enjeux qui caractérisent encore aujourd’ hui la situation et la position complexe de l’ Église sur ce territoire.

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