People carry the large wooden cross

Easter celebration at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.


While across the region, Christians face grave challenges and often systemic injustice, displacement, and even the loss of lives, Metropolitan Thomas of the Coptic Orthodox Church insisted that “as Christians, we refuse to be victims. Instead, we are victorious witnessing our faith,” he said.

In a shared message brought to the central committee – encompassing Christian sisters and brothers from around the globe representing the fellowship of 352 different churches – the member churches from the Middle East stressed the importance of solidarity and accompaniment, describing their witness to the gospel as indigenous to the region.

“The unbroken line of Christian communities who have been witness to the world since the Pentecost often referred to as ‘the Living Stones,’ is under existential crisis, risking the loss of Christian identity. Let us reiterate, if there will be no Christians left in the Middle East it will be a tragedy for the whole world,” they said.

Youth involvement and the call for unity

A critical issue, the group observed, is the apparent exclusion of young people from decision-making processes within many churches and communities in the Middle East.

“We must bridge this gap, involving young people in decision-making and strengthening young Christian networks in the Middle East,” declared Maria Bzdigian of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East – one of the Middle Eastern youth represented at the central committee.

But at the heart of it all, the group noted, is the question of Christian unity – which sits at the heart of the global fellowship of churches coming together.

“We need to promote unity and cooperation among our communities and churches in order to address the challenges faced by Christians in the Middle East,” they urged.

WCC addresses territorial crises in eastern Mediterranean (WCC news release, 27 June 2023)

Photo gallery of the WCC Central committee meeting

WCC Central committee meeting, June 2023


26 June 2023, Geneva, Switzerland: Metropolitan Thomas of the Coptic Orthodox Church shares from the Middle East region as the World Council of Churches central committee gathers in Geneva on 21-27 June 2023, for its first full meeting following the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe in 2022.