It is urgent to save the Eastern Christian heritage

The heritage of the Eastern Churches endures the test of time and sometimes undergoes voluntary destruction.

The rescue of the bed but also archives and manuscripts is a crucial issue for the region.

St. Francis Magazine about the degradation of the religious heritage in the region of Wadi al-Nasarah, ‘Valley of the Christians’, near Homs, Syria.

Throughout the Arab world, churches keep the traces of buildings dating from the first centuries, as a baptistery, a stele… This heritage of the Eastern Churches is unique and vital for Christians, of course, but not only. He is the witness of an ancient presence who has survived the centuries, civilizations and empires.

This heritage is often threatened. The wild destruction staged by ISIS illustrate the most immediate danger. But there is another, less visible: one of degradation, dispersion, or even of oblivion, which weighs on bed and maybe even more on the archives and manuscripts.

Large exhibition organized by the Institute of the Arab world

Educate the general public, researchers but also the churches themselves to the preservation of these treasures is not any merit of the great exhibition organized by the Institute of the Arab world. “Four manuscripts that are presented have been restored with the help of the library of France (BNF)”, says Charles Personnaz, responsible of mission to the Eastern Louvre, who works at the creation of a conservation centre and restoration within the confines of the Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate in Charfat (Lebanon).

Passionate, this officer passed by the Ministry of culture and today the Defense saw ‘things move from ISIS’. ‘ In France, for a long time, talking about the safeguarding of the heritage”Christian” delicate. ” “Since then, many institutions have mobilized – Ministry of culture, Foreign Affairs, National Archives, etc.”, welcomes. “And the public is interested: the round tables that we organize for 2013 at the Institute of the Arab world, in partnership with the Œuvre of the East, have always packed.”

Collaborative digital library

Several initiatives are growing. In the United States, in Minnesota, the Benedictine monk Columba Stewart worked for several years to the digitisation of manuscripts in danger, they’re from Timbuktu or the Arab world. His religious status allows him to reassure churches who saw part of their archives go to European libraries under the colonial period, accustomed for centuries to protect their treasures hiding them. The BNF comes from his side to inaugurate a ‘collaborative digital library’ in partnership with seven libraries in the Middle East.

 

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