Israel Church Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Israel Wiki Topics
Flag of Israel.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Israel Background
Local Research Resources

For information about records for non-Christian religions in Israel, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source],, and can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Christianity is one of the main religions in Israel, third by size, and is practiced by 177,000 people living in Israel (2.0% of the population) as of 2020. 77% of these followers are Arab-Christians, who are mostly adherents of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (60% of Arab Christians). 42% of all Israeli Christians are affiliated with the Melkite Greek Church, and 30%-32% with the Orthodox Church'; smaller numbers are split between Latin Rite Catholics with 13% of Christians, about 25,000 Russian Orthodox Christians (Russian Orthodox Church), about 15,000 Arameans (including 7,000 Maronites) who adhere to the Maronite and Syriac Churches, 3,000 to 10,000 adherents of Armenian Churches', 1,000 Assyrians affiliated with the Assyrian Churches', a community of around 1,000 Copts, being registered as "Arab Christians", though their Arab identity is disputed, and small branches of Protestants.

Ten Christian churches are formally recognized under Israel's confessional system, for the self-regulation and state recognition of status issues, such as marriage and divorce: the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Latin Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Syriac Maronite Church, and the Syriac Orthodox Church. However, the practice of religion is free, with no restrictions on the practice of other denominations. There are approximately 300 Christians who had converted from Islam according to one 2014 estimate, and most of them are part of the Roman Catholic church. A certain number of Israelis also practice Messianic Judaism—usually considered a syncretist form of Christianity. The number of Messianic Jews in Israel is estimated at around 20,000. They are mostly classified "without religious affiliation" rather than Jewish or Christian.

Israeli Christians are historically bound with neighboring Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian Christians. Christian Arabs are one of the most educated groups in Israel. Maariv newspaper has described the Christian Arabs sector as "the most successful in the education system", since Christian Arabs fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other group receiving an education in Israel.

There has been a small Protestant community in Israel since the foundation of the state in 1948, who are either Christian Arabs who had changed their religious affiliation to Protestant teachings or European residents moving to the area.

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is a province of the Anglican Communion. [1]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will effect how much information can be found in the records. This outline will show the types of details which might be found (best case scenario):

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name

How to Find Records[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Israel.
b. Click on Places within Israel and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. See Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

There are approximately 200,000 Christians in Israel[1] and the Palestinian territories,[2] representing about 1.5% of the total population. The largest Catholic Churches include 64,400 Greek Melkite Catholics, 32,200 Latin Catholics, and 11,270 Maronite Catholics.

Jurisdictions of seven of the Catholic Churches overlap in Israel: the Armenian, Chaldean, Greek Melkite, Latin (Roman), Maronite, and Syriac. The Coptic Catholic patriarchate also has representation in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as does the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, the Territorial Prelature of the Notre Dame Center of Jerusalem, and the Personal prelature of Opus Dei have jurisdictional presence. The Holy See is represented by the Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem for Palestine.

About 85% of the Catholics in Israel and the Palestinian territories are Arabic-speaking. In addition to a handful of chaplaincies for expatriate clergy, pilgrims, and workers, there is also a vicariate within the Latin Patriarchate ministering to Hebrew Catholics, i.e., non-Arab converts to Catholicism of Hebrew descent, or Hebrew-speaking Catholics born to immigrant workers, often from the Philippines. [2]

Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Armenian Apostolic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Address: Armenian Patriarchate Street 87 Jerusalem
Mail: P.O.Box 14235 Jerusalem Old City 9191141 ISRAEL

Assemblies of God Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Jehovah's Witnesses Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Protestant Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Russian Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in Israel", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 11 April 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Israel", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 11 April 2020.