ASIA/MIDDLE EAST - Orthodox Christian Michel Abs is the new Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 middle east   oriental churches   ecumenicalism   theology  

Michel Abs (MECC)

Bkerké (Agenzia Fides) - The new Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) is Michel Abs, 65 years old and a member of the ethics Committee for research at the “Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth” of the Jesuit Lebanese order. Abs was elected by the Executive Committee of MECC on September 18 during a meeting at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerké (Lebanon), contrary to the provision that reserves the task of the plenary Assembly to appoint secretaries with full mandate (and not just ad interim).
Michel Abs will therefore hold the position entrusted to him for the next four years. The coadjutor of the new secretary will be Melkite Catholic priest and theologian Gaby el Hachem, currently Director of the MECC's department for theology and ecumenical relations and who works closely with outgoing Secretary general, Professor Souraya Bechealany. In doing so, he will ensure continuity in the work of the ecumenical council.
An economist and sociologist with extensive experience in management and business consulting he has also carried out studies and research on the subject of the presence of Christian communities in the Middle East and on issues of interreligious dialogue.
About thirty churches and ecclesiastical communities belong to MECC, representing four different "denominations": Catholic, Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant. According to the rotation criterion, the new General Secretary belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, whose Patriarch Yohanna X has its seat in Damascus.
During the meeting of the Executive Committee, outgoing General Secretary Souraya Bechealany, professor of theology at the Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, presented a final report that included critical insights into the workings of leading representatives of Christian communities in the Middle East. Souraya Bechealany highlighted, among other things, their "weakness" when it comes to sharing a "common vision" capable of dealing with today's social, geopolitical, theological and ecumenical crises.
The Middle East Council of Churches, founded in Nicosia in 1974 and currently based in Beirut, aims to promote cooperation between Christian communities in the Middle East on issues of common interest and to help overcome sectarian conflicts. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 23/9/2020)