Father Nicodemus Schnabel © Stefanie Jarkel
Donald Trump wants to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. In an interview, the prior-administrator of the Dormitio Abbey in Jerusalem, Father Nicodemus Schnabel, talks about solutions, problems of Christians and what could change because of Trump.
Interviewer: How important are the bishops' visits for Christians in the Holy Land?
Father Nicodemus Schnabel (prior-administrator of the Dormitio Abbey in Jerusalem): I think they are enormously important. First of all, there are only two percent Christians in the Holy Land anyway, and these are then also divided into 50 denominations. So it is a very colorful Christian picture. There are the long-established, the Arabic-speaking Christians, and alongside them the many new Christians, migrant workers and refugees. That is, there is a lot going on. Christianity, after all, began in the Holy Land. At the beginning of the year, it is important to make it clear to world Christianity – as much as everyone loves Rome – that Jesus Christ was born, died and rose in the Holy Land. To keep looking at the roots of our faith, at the region of origin, is first of all good for world Christianity, and the small minority of Christians gets a kind of soul massage and feels that they are not forgotten.
Interviewer: What are the ies that are particularly pressing on the minds of Christians this year??
Father Nicodemus: There are an incredible number of ies. You have to distinguish which Christians we are talking about. On the one hand, there is the challenge for the Palestinian Christians who have lived there for centuries, who perceive that they are becoming fewer and fewer. This is, of course, due to emigration. They are often highly qualified and can emigrate. But they also have the fewest children. This is a very big factor in the demographic development of Christians. The feeling of the two huge majority religions, the big, strong Judaism and the big, strong Islam, convey to the Christians to sit between the chairs. We as foreign Christians, as "professional Christians" who live there, have the task to convey that they need not be afraid and do not fall into a "ghetto trap", nestle in as a small minority and close themselves off to the majority religions. Rather, we encourage to go out. That's a lot of psychological work, to break out of this spiral of fear and to go against the fears of becoming less and less interested in Christianity. Encouragement and strengthening is one challenge.