An exploration of Christian-Muslim Relations in Syria, 2000 – 2018
: Contextualising the religious landscape, historic and contemporary dynamics in Christian-Muslim relations, and Eastern Christian frameworks of engagement.

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores Christian-Muslim relations in Syria before and during the current conflict. It describes the diverse historical and contemporary Christian and Muslim religious landscapes of the country, and, building on previous scholarship, considers some of the cultural, religious and political issues that have impacted the interreligious dynamic, putting them in their local and wider context. Written from a Christian perspective, the thesis considers the contributions of several contemporary Eastern theologians to illustrate how Eastern theology, spirituality and ecclesiology – the ‘Antiochene paradigm’ - are uniquely placed to play a major role in Christian-Muslim dialogue and post-conflict reconciliation initiatives in the region. The work is unique in being rooted in extensive on-the-ground research undertaken over several years in the midst of conflict, with numerous people from across the religious and cultural spectrum. Most government-controlled areas of the country were visited and many Church, civic and political leaders were interviewed during the course of the research. The thesis includes a number of case-studies from local contexts during the war, and includes quotations from several Syrian Church leaders.

In summary, combining fieldwork with critical historical and Christian theological reflection, this thesis makes an original and significant contribution to understanding Syria’s diverse religious landscape and the multi-layered expressions of Christian-Muslim relations, in a way that has not been previously attempted. Providing insights into interreligious praxis prior to the conflict and in its midst, the study contributes to an understanding of the effect of conflict on interreligious relationships. This has significant implications for understanding, developing and applying Christian frameworks of Christian-Muslim coexistence and reconciliation, not just in Syria, but in the region and beyond. The thesis also suggests that in a rediscovery and reframing of Eastern Christianity’s ecclesial, theological and spiritual traditions lies the potential for new frameworks of religious discourse and understanding.
Date of Award21 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorAnna King (Supervisor) & Mark Owen (Supervisor)


  • Christian-Muslim relations
  • Syria
  • Interreligious dynamics/relations
  • Eastern Christianity
  • Christianity in Syria
  • Islam in Syria
  • Antiochene paradigm
  • Religious leadership in Middle East
  • Eastern Christian spirituality
  • Eastern Christian theology/ecclesiology

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