Saturday, December 1, 2007
"Christian roots aren't European"
Church's Roots Aren't European, Says Pope
Comments on Syriac Poet-Theologian
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Christianity didn't originate in Europe, but rather has its roots in the Middle Eastern world of the Old Testament, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today during the general audience in Paul VI Hall, which he dedicated to the figure of St. Ephrem the Syrian, a fourth-century theologian, poet and musician.
He said the reflection continued along the lines of his commentary last week on the fourth-century Syriac Christian Aphraates, which also showed the cultural diversity of the early Christians.
"According to general opinion," said the Pontiff, "Christianity is a European religion that has exported the culture of this Continent to other countries. The reality, though, is a lot more complex, as the root of the Christian religion is found in the Old Testament, and therefore in Jerusalem and the Semitic world."
The Holy Father continued: "Its expansion during the first centuries was both westward -- toward the Greek-Latin world, where it then inspired the European culture -- and eastward to Persia and India, thus contributing to stimulate a specific culture, in Semitic languages, with its own identity."
St. Ephrem, said Benedict XIV, "was the most important representative of Syriac Christianity, and succeeded in a unique way to reconcile the vocation of the theologian with that of the poet."
Read Benedict's whole teaching on St. Ephrem here: