The Latin Episcopal Conference for the Arab Regions (CELRA) is meeting in Jordan from Monday, February 13 until 15, 2017.


The annual meeting of the Latin bishops from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula is taking place in the Visitation House of the Sisters of the Rosary in Husen, Jordan. Present for the opening of the meeting on Monday were twelve of the members of CELRA including four of the Vicars from the Latin Patriarchate, Bishops Marcuzzo (Israel and Palestine) and Shomali (Jordan) and Fathers Kraj (Cyprus) and Neuhaus (Hebrew speaking and Migrant Catholics in Israel). The Papal Nuncios for Israel, Palestine and Cyprus, Archbishop Lazzarotto, and for Jordan and Iraq, Archbishop Ortega Martin.

A particularly important part of the meeting is the exchange of news and the view of what is happening in each of the countries. Among the moving testimonies that were given were those of Bishop Jean Sleiman of Iraq, Bishop George Abu Khazen of Syria (resident in Aleppo) and Bishop Adel Zaki of Egypt. These three countries have lived through very difficult times in the past few years. Also fascinating was the testimony of Archbishop Paul Hinder from the United Arab Emirates whose jurisdiction covers Yemen, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, who described the enormous migrant community of Asians and Africans in these lands. He also spoke about the sad state of the tiny remnant Christian community in war torn Yemen.