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City of Christian Love

The History and Importance of Nazareth


Raouf Abujaber

City of Christian Love provides a detailed history of Nazareth from the dawn of the Christian Era until today with special focus on the religious communities found in this sacred city, including both the periods of tension and the periods of profound interreligious partnership and solidarity.

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Foreword (Dr. Joseph Prud’homme)


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Dr. Joseph Prud’homme

Director, Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture, Washington College

In 1977, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, reflected on the importance of Nazareth for the path of Christian holiness:

The Church cannot grow or prosper if we let it ignore that its roots are hidden in the atmosphere of Nazareth. At the moment when sentimentalism around Nazareth was flourishing, the true mystery of Nazareth was discovered in a new way, in its deepest sense … by Charles de Foucauld. There, in a living meditation on Jesus, a new way was opened for the Church. It was for the Church a rediscovery of poverty. Nazareth has a permanent message for the Church. The New Alliance [of human wisdom and the Holy Spirit] does not start in the Temple, nor on the Holy Mountain, but in the little home of the Virgin, in the house of the worker, in one of the forgotten places of the “Galilee of peasants”, from where nobody expected anything good. It is only by starting out from there that the Church can have a new beginning … It can never provide a true response to the [problems] of our century … if at its own heart, Nazareth is not a reality which is lived. (Joseph Ratzinger, The God of Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Triune God, Rome: Communio-Fayard, 1977, p. 77)

This incisive statement of the need for the church to...

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