Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Christians in the Middle East

Today's feast of the nineteenth century Maronite monk St Shabel Makhluf  is a reminder to us, if we need it, to keep in our prayers, and lend whatever support we can to Christians in the Middle East. The Iraq war and the Arab Spring have placed many of these communities in an extremely difficult position - hitherto protected or tolerated by relatively secular regimes they now face the risk of attack from supporters of more militant branches of Islam or from those who have overthrown governments that enjoyed the relative support of the Christian communities. From Egypt to Syria and into Iraq their future is uncertain, and support from Western governments often appears to be only routine expressions of vague concern.

These communities are not only Christian brethren but part of the continuing witness to the faith from Apostolic and post apostolic timesin the region. They need and deserve our prayers and support.  

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