Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian officials closed the Holy Sepulchre for two days earlier this month, excluding thousands of disappointed pilgrims. The closure was intended as a protest of the Jerusalem Municipality’s pending law to tax church-owned commercial property. The closure of the Basilica was a bold symbol of Christians’ struggle to retain their roots in the holy city after Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
Father Christiansen, a canon of the Holy Sepulchre, will discuss the threats the two-thousand year-old Christian community experiences in its effort to remain in the city made holy by the death and resurrection of Jesus. He will also address their hopes for the future of Jerusalem, and the place of three Abrahamic religions in peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine and with the international community.
Father Christiansen is Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Global Human Development in the School of Foreign Service and a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University. He has taught at the Jesuit School of Theology (Berkley) and the University of Notre Dame. He has served as director of the USCC Office of International Justice and Peace, the foreign policy office for the U.S. Catholic bishops and editor in chief of America, the Jesuit weekly.
Father Christiansen is a consultant to the Holy See on the Middle East, nuclear disarmament and international security matters, and an international correspondent for Civiltà Cattolica, the semi-official Vatican journal. His most recent articles include, “The Matter of Qatar,” Civiltà Cattolica (with Jocelyne Cesari); “The Social and Moral Responsibilities of Just-War Analysts,” Civiltà Cattolica; “The Vatican and The Ban Treaty,” Journal of Catholic Social Thought, and “The Nonviolence-Just War Nexus,” Horizons (forthcoming).