Syria

Population

About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

Click here for the sources of the statistical data

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18650334
Surface area:185200 km2
Capital:Damascus
GNI per capita:1190 US$
Classification:Developing economy
Languages:

Arabic

Religions:

Muslim: 92.00%

Christian: 5.00%

Jewish: 1.00%

Christianity:

Orthodox: 1490000

Catholics: 615000

Protestants: 80000

Assyrians/Chaldeans: 40000

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Ancient Syria was home to the Canaanites, Assyrians, Persians and Babylonians. Antioch (now in Turkey) was the Christian centre of the eastern part of the Roman empire. With the Arab conquest and Islamization in the 7th century, Christians became a minority. Syria was part of the Ottoman empire until 1918, and under French rule until it achieved independence in 1946. After a brief union with Egypt (1958-61), the socialist Ba-ath party seized power and established a radical regime. A military coup in 1970 brought president Hafiz al-Asad into power, until his death in 2000. He was succeeded by his son. Syria is the only secular country in the Arab world. It does not tolerate opposition, neither Islamic nor political. The country has been in the forefront of support for the Palestinian cause, and the struggle against Israel. Syria's economy is based on agriculture, some manufacturing industry, and oil production and export. All major enterprises have been nationalized since the 1960s and the economy is under government control. The main Orthodox churches in Syria are the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, which is Arab and uses the Arab liturgy, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate (Oriental), and the Armenian Apostolic Church, also Oriental. There are six Catholic rites: Melkite, Armenian, Syrian, Maronite, Latin and Chaldean. The Ancient Church of the East (Assyrian) is also present, and is part of the WCC through its patriarchate in the USA. The main Protestant churches are the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, and the Union of Evangelical Armenian Churches.

The churches in Syria are also portrayed on the 'Keeping the Faith' website.

 

Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

    Last updated: 01/01/06