Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany e.V.
The Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany is a non-profit association of Christians living in Germany who belong to the oriental churches. It was founded on 18.03.2013 in Munich and is registered in the register of associations of the Munich district court under the name "Zentralrat Orientalischer Christen in Deutschland e.V.", short "ZOCD".
Especially from the Middle East, many oriental Christians came to Germany because they had little chance of a secure future as Christian minorities in their home country. As a religiously and politically persecuted fringe group, they often faced various forms of oppression in their homeland. With the economic miracle in Germany in the 1960s, more and more workers were sought and recruited from abroad. Many oppressed Christians took advantage of this opportunity and immigrated to Germany as "labor migrants"
They usually left their home country not for economic reasons, but to escape the poor living conditions in their homeland and with the goal of later establishing a well-off and secure existence in Germany. Today there are an estimated 650,000 Oriental Christians living in Germany alone, who have become firmly naturalized and settled. The Oriental Christians have always tried to adapt and integrate in their new homeland. Many, especially members of the second generation, feel as Germans of oriental Christian faith and not as Orientals in exile. Oriental Christians therefore consider themselves citizens of German society and would like to make their contribution in the fields of integration, inter-religious dialogue, cultural exchange and political and historical awareness.
There is the Eastern Christianity, following the Eastern Rite, which in turn has different traditions. The Apostolic Church of the East and its sister united with Rome, the Chaldean Church, belong to them.
The Western Rite is followed by the Syrian Orthodox, Coptic and Armenian Apostolic Church. The Roman Orthodox as well as parts of the Greek Orthodox Church are territorially settled in Syria and today's Turkey and follow the Byzantine rite. Other churches united with Rome are the Maronite Church in Lebanon and the Melkite Church in Syria.
Western - European rites are influenced by Roman Catholicism and the Protestant churches of the Reformation. Both Western traditions can also be found in the Middle East in various forms today.
The ZOCD, as a lay organization, feels connected to the interests of the members from the oriental churches, without forgetting to build a bridge to the western churches. The universal tie is the common faith in the New Gospel and the Sermon on the Mount.
The key tasks of the Central Council are to further promote the integration of oriental Christians in Germany and to foster cultural and religious tasks based on the Christian values of the oriental churches. The main focus is on the preserving of the international spirit and tolerance in all fields of culture and international understanding. These tasks are realized through a close cooperation with representatives of the leading structures of the oriental and western churches and through the exchange with German associations from the political and social sector.
The Central Council also focuses on general youth support in terms of education and cultural exchange with the various Christian denominations within Germany. Here, the focus is on educating the young generation about the different Christian movements and cultural values and making them more aware of them. Furthermore, the Central Council wants to build a bridge to the other religions in Germany in order to promote understanding and mutual respect between Christians and non-Christians.
Furthermore, the ZOCD also endeavors to organize joint events with German and oriental associations that are dedicated to religious, musical and cultural international understanding. In addition to representing the interests of oriental Christians in Germany, the Central Council's solidarity also applies to oriental Christians in their home countries.
As emigrants and as descendants of emigrants, we consider the right of home, also internationally, to be an essential legal asset and essential human right. The fate of Christians in the Middle East, Africa and Asia receives only limited attention in the West. For this reason, the Central Council advocates that ethnic and religious minorities be given the opportunity to live in their homeland in a humane manner. In many of these regions, universal human rights are not fully guaranteed. This is particularly true of religious freedom, which is codified in the United Nations Charter - and to which all 192 member states now commit themselves.
In addition, the Central Council wants to build a bridge to the other religions in Germany to promote understanding and mutual respect between Christians and non-Christians. The regions most affected are those in the Middle East, where Christian minorities are often caught between the fronts as a result of political-religious conflicts. A particular characteristic of oriental Christians in the Middle East is their strong fragmentation into the most diverse Christian denominations, which often also have an individual ethnic identity, and living together with an Arab-Islamic majority society.
This leads to the fact that Christians, due to the political-cultural influences in the Arab world, are given different rights and freedoms depending on the country. In addition, the Oriental Christians do not have an independent country with a solid rule of law according to democracy and secular separation of powers. This makes it difficult for Christians to demand their human rights. This development does not only result in a strong demographic change in the form of emigration, but also in a slowly creeping loss of our Christian roots.
In the context of these developments, the Central Council would like to address the situation of Oriental Christians in their home countries in a constructive and pragmatic manner through public relations work and information events on an objective basis. Tolerance and respect for cultural diversity as well as a non-violent and peaceful coexistence in this world are the main approaches the ZOCD pursues
The Central Council is therefore called upon to seek peaceful dialogue with the various nationalities, different cultures and political organizations in Germany and abroad.
It is only on the basis of peaceful dialogue that we can attempt to pave the way for a sustainable peaceful coexistence of all ethnic groups in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.