A “new beginning” for theological reflection in the Middle East, which takes into account the current historical phase and contributes to nourishing the communion between Churches and Christian communities present in the Middle Eastern area. This is the perspective with which Professor Souraya Bechealany, Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches, MECC, convened the representatives of the organizations that adhere to the Association of Faculties and theological institutes of the Middle East in Beirut. The meeting, held in the Lebanese capital on May 18-19, was attended by 18 deans, directors and representatives of faculties and institutes of theology spread across Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, linked to different Middle Eastern Christian churches and communities.
The Association had effectively suspended its activities for ten years. The initiative to convene the meeting is obviously inspired by the need felt to relaunch theological reflection in the context of the relations of communion among the various ecclesial communities, to try to read together the “signs of the times” with which the Christian presence is called to come to terms with the troubled Middle Eastern scenarios. During the meeting, the executive committee of the Association was re-elected, which includes theologians belonging to different Churches and ecclesial communities present in the Middle East. For the next term, Maronite priest Tanios Khalil, Dean of the Faculty of Ecclesial Studies at the Université La Sagesse, in Beirut will be the president of the executive committee. During the “refoundation” meeting, all the participants underlined the urgency of deepening the ecumenical trait of common work in the field of theological research, in the critical phase crossed by the Christian Churches and communities in the Middle East. The participants of the meeting have already fixed the dates of their next meeting, scheduled for next October in Egypt.