News Archive 2020

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News (Archive-2020)

The conditions faced by the Christian population across the Middle East are important for caring Christians around the world to understand. Major media outlets too often provide us, however, with an incomplete (and sometimes inaccurate) account of events there and their causes. We present herewith a collection of well-written articles on the Christian situation to help broaden your understanding of this important subject. Articles reflect the authors’ research and opinions, not those of SMOTJ.

April 3, 2020

The coronavirus is disrupting Easter plans across the Holy Land, but Israel is bending its rules to enable Orthodox Christians to continue an ancient tradition. Read more….

May 20, 2020

Many Iraqi Christians fled or died during Islamic State’s reign of terror. Some remaining Christians are trying to reclaim the towns they left, but others fear their diminished numbers will sabotage those efforts. Read more…

July 2, 2020

Egypt’s Coptic Christians are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, though a minority in their own country. Egypt’s military rulers have vowed to protect them, but persecution and terrorism against Christians at the local level go unpunished. Read more…

Dear Knights and Dames,

Earlier this month the World Council of Churches (WCC) proclaimed that the week of 14-21 September 2020 should be a time of prayer for Christians throughout the world to pray for Peace in Palestine and Israel.  The Rev. Prof. Dr. Ioan Sauca, Interim General Secretary of the WCC has stated that the theme of this week would be “Creative Solidarity in Common Fragility.” 

As many of you know, the conflict between Palestine and Israel has intensified significantly when Israel declared that it would annex the West Bank of Palestine as they continued to expand the presence of their Settlements.   With regard to this time of prayer Dr. Sauca has written, “In the extremely fragile situation in Palestine and Israel, we still believe in the power of prayer because only the Spirit of God can soften hearts and change attitudes.”

As I think about our SMOTJ mission to care for Christian men and women in Jerusalem and the Middle East, I am convinced that few things could be of any greater importance than to offer prayers and to take creative action on behalf of those whom we support.  Please mark this event on your calendars and plan to both pray for our brothers and sisters, and to contemplate upon the ways you might take actions to live out our mission.  And I bid you to remember that even the smallest of actions is of importance to our Lord.  You will recall that what Jesus taught his disciples about caring for people in need: “For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward (Mark 9:41, NRSV).”  Through your prayers and your actions, even the slightest action, you will bear the love of God in Christ to people in great need.

For your assistance, below is a link to a resource and guide that has been created to assist you in your prayerful actions.




The Rt. Rev. James B. Magness, D.Min., D.D.

Grand Chaplain

Sovereign Military Order of the Temple in Jerusalem (GPUSA)

Hagia Sophia belongs ‘to all of humanity’, Eastern Orthodox patriarch says amid mosque plans. Read more…

Thousands of Palestinian Christians rely on the tourism industry for work in the
Holy Land. The pandemic has devastated those jobs, as described here by the
Commander of the Templars’ Commandery of the Holy Land, a local leader in the
Christian community. Read more…

A broadcast company for Middle East Christians recently focused on their kids with an online event to help kids face this year’s additional fears (pandemic, recession, more) and see stories of how some youngsters are applying their faith to cope. You can read more here

While Templars address the humanitarian needs of Middle East Christians, the
non-profit In Defense of Christians speaks for their needs in the halls of
Congress. IDC recently organized a summit meeting on the persecution of
Christians globally that highlighted Congressmen and the work they are doing on
that issue. You can read more here.

Christian-nation allies can suffer when U.S. policy is driven by geopolitical strategy, rather than the values our leaders profess to support. Armenia is an example. Here is an argument for supporting a Christian presence in the Middle East by revitalizing employment opportunities with private sector support from Western Christian organizations and businesses. Read more…