Under Caesar's Sword

An International Conference on Christian Response to Persecution

December 10-12, 2015
Location: Pontifical Urban University, Rome, Italy

"Under Caesar's Sword" introduced the results of the world’s first systematic global investigation into the responses of Christian communities to the violation of their religious freedom. This initiative extends to some 100 beleaguered Christian communities in nearly 30 countries around the globe.

Held at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, Italy, this conference aimed to:

  1. Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on religious freedom, and to inquire into the threats to religious freedom at the time of the declaration and those that Christians face today;
  2. Elicit a lively discussion of the global persecution of Christians among journalists, government officials, human rights activists, church leaders, representatives of world religions, scholars, students, and the interested public; and
  3. Draw public attention to the plight of persecuted Christian communities, promote cooperation among Christian churches in assisting these communities, and encourage global solidarity with them.

The conference featured plenary speakers from among the world’s most respected advocates of religious freedom. It offered a lively discussion of the global persecution of Christians among church leaders, government officials, scholars, human rights activists, representatives of world religions, students, and the interested public. Finally, the conference shed light on the experiences of millions of Christians worldwide whose religious freedom is severely violated.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

4:00-4:30 p.m. | Welcoming Remarks
Daniel Philpott, University of Notre DameThomas Farr, Georgetown University

4:30-4:45 p.m. Official Greeting
His Excellency Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Vatican Secretariat of State

4:45-5:05 p.m. | Keynote Address
His Beatitude Louis Raphael Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church

5:05-5:25 p.m. | Keynote Address
His Beatitude Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Syriac Catholic Church

5:25-5:55 p.m. | Keynote Address
Andrea Riccardi, Community of Sant'Egidio

Friday, December 11, 2015

8:45-9:00 a.m. | Official Greeting and Reflection
His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras, Exarch of Benelux

9:00-9:30 a.m. | Keynote Address
His Eminence Charles Cardinal Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Burma

9:30-11:00 a.m. | Panel: Findings from the Middle East and North Africa
Christian Sahner, University of Cambridge (moderator)
Christian van Gorder, Baylor University
Mariz Tadros, Sussex University
Joshua Landis, University of Oklahoma
Elizabeth Prodromou, Tufts University

11:15-11:45 a.m. | Keynote Address
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom

11:45-1:00 p.m. | Keynote Conversation: The Travail of Religious Liberties in the Americas and Europe
Ken Starr, Baylor University (moderator)
Msgr. Tomas Halik, Czech Christian Academy
(keynote panelist)
Paul Marshall, Hudson Institute
Paul Freston, Wilfred Laurier University

2:15-3:30 p.m. | Panel: The Legacy of Dignitatis Humanae
Timothy Samuel Shah, Georgetown University (moderator)
George Weigel, Ethics and Public Policy Center
Russell Hittinger, University of Tulsa
Mustafa Akyol, Hurriyet Daily News

3:45-5:15 p.m. | Panel: Findings from South Asia
Chad Bauman, Butler University (moderator)
Paul Bhatti, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for Minority Affairs (keynote panelist)
Reginald Reimer, Expert on Christianity in Vietnam and Laos
James Ponniah, University of Madras
Sara Singha, Georgetown University
Robert Hefner, Boston University

8:00-9:00 p.m. | Ecumenical Prayer Service for the Martyrs
Basilica of San Bartolomeo

Saturday, December 12, 2015

8:30-10:00 a.m. | Panel: Persecution and Peace in Africa
Fr. Angelo Romano, Pontifical Urban University (moderator)
The Most Reverend Archbishop Benjamin and Gloria Kwashi, Anglican Church of Nigeria (keynote panelists)
Fr. Bernard Kinvi, Director of the John Paul II Hospital, Central African Republic
Fr. Robert Dowd, CSC, University of Notre Dame

10:15-11:45 a.m. | Panel: Findings from China and Post-Soviet Countries
Kent Hill, World Vision (moderator)
Right Rev. Borys Gudziak, Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop in France, Benelux, and Switzerland (keynote panelist)
Karrie Koesel, University of Notre Dame
Kathleen Collins, University of Minnesota
Fenggang Yang, Purdue University

12:45-2:15 p.m. | Panel: Religious Persecution through the Eyes of Christian Women
Mariz Tadros, Sussex University (moderator)
Helen Berhane, Eritrean Gospel singer
Pascal Warda, President of Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, Iraq
Sister Joanna Salib, Daughters of St. Mary Convent in Beni Suef, Egypt
Tehmina Arora, Alliance for Defending Freedom, India

2:30-3:45 p.m. | Panel: The Political and Policy Challenges to Advancing International Religious Freedom
Allen Hertzke, University of Oklahoma (moderator)
Hon. Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard University and former US Ambassador to the Holy See
Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Hon. David Saperstein, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

3:45-4:15 p.m. | Concluding Address: Responding to Persecution: The Way Forward
Carl Anderson, Knights of Columbus

4:15-4:45 p.m. | Synthesis of Conference and Project Findings
Daniel Philpott, University of Notre Dame
Timothy Shah, Georgetown University

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