The Holy See’s Vision of an Abrahamic Middle East: Islam, Israel, and Oriental Churches
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Being the cradle of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the Middle East constitutes a pivotal but highly contested region for the papacy. Despite the disadvantage of representing only a rather weak fraction of the three Abrahamic religions in the region, the popes managed to become a public and political player in the Middle East. The argument presented in this chapter is that papal power in the Middle East is based on a long-lasting, sometimes attractive vision of an Abrahamic Middle East in which the three religions live side by side in an interreligious public of peaceful coexistence. Based on Paul VI’s first journey to the Holy Land, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis worked towards that aim with different approaches, but all chose travelling as their prime instrument.