The Carmelites of the Middle East and North Africa

 

I will take you from among the nations gather you from all the foreign lands and bring you back tu your own land… you shall well in the land which I have to your fathers. You shall be my people and I will be your God (Ezek 36-24)

 

The Middle East is the cradle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, forming a great religious mosaic.  Since then, our father Abraham, on his journey of faith, welcomed the Revelation, the life and the preaching of the Lord; he saw the foundation of the first Christian communities, hosted the first councils and it was on the road to Damascus that Saint Paul converted.  North Africa has contributed enormously to the doctrinal development and Egypt to the monastic life.   It was from this region that the missionaries left in order to evangelize the world.  In later centuries, our Order was born here and it is also here, in the 13th century, that it experienced the greatest expansion in its history.

The foundation of our monasteries goes back to the end of the 19th century. The international situation and the missionary spirit that animated the Catholic Church in particular at that time, allowed the re-establishment of the Latin Patriarchate in the Holy Land and the blossoming of numerous Christian achievements. In this context, people inspired by the Holy Spirit responded generously and made possible the founding of Carmel.

The contemplative, ecclesial and apostolic charism of Carmel receives here a unique seal: in Christ, we are associated “with the same inheritance, with the same promise” as the people of Israel (Eph 3:6). We are called to relive this mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption in prayer, contemplation and fraternal life, according to the particular character of each of our monasteries. Thus, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Mount Carmel, Fayoum, Aleppo and Tangier embody a whole spiritual path to which we wish to invite every Christian… and even every man and woman of good will