Fr. Elias Mallon, SA

About Fr. Elias Mallon, SA

External Affairs Officer for CNEWA

Father Elias Mallon is involved in the Roman Catholic/Christian-Muslim dialogue and issues of interreligious cooperation for conflict transformation and peace building in the Middle East. At present he is the External Affairs Officer for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) which supports charitable, educational, health and development projects in the Middle East, Ethiopia, Eastern Europe and southern India.   Paul of Graymoor helped to found CNEWA in 1923.

Father Mallon, a native New Yorker, was first professed as a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement in August of 1963 and was ordained in January 1971. He obtained a licentiate degree (STL) in Old Testament studies and a PhD in Middle Eastern languages from the Catholic University of America. He researched and wrote his dissertation at Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen, Germany. He taught Old Testament at the Washington Theological Union and American University in the Washington, DC. He taught ancient Near Eastern languages the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He also worked for the then Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (now Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) as its faculty representative at the Institut Œcuménique of the World Council of Churches in Bossey, Switzerland. From 1989-2001 he was Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute in New York City.

He has been involved in the Roman Catholic/Christian-Muslim dialogue on the local, national and international level since 1985 and has published several articles and two books on Islam. The first was Neighbors: Muslims in North America (New York: Friendship Press, 1989) and his latest book is Islam: What Catholics Need to Know (Washington, DC: National Catholic Education Association, 2006), which won second prize at the Catholic Press Association of the US and Canada in 2007. He has also been awarded several prizes by the Association for articles he published in Ecumenical Trends, America, ONE and Origins. He has also worked with Westminster Press on several programs in its Thoughtful Christian Series. Father Mallon worked for six years at a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at the United Nations, where he used his experience and contacts with Islam to work with Muslim countries and NGOs. He is on the NGO Israel-Palestine Working Group.

In November 2014, Father Mallon was invited by the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to appear as a witness before them to share his views on the horrific violence, religious persecution and dislocation perpetrated in Iraq, Syria and the region by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

His published articles include: “Will Democracy Bloom? A Closer Look at the Arab Spring.” America October 10, 2011; “Democracy Is Not Enough,” America December 9-13, 2013; “Contesting the Caliphate,” America July 17, 2014; “Who Speaks for Islam,” America, March 16, 2015; “The Eastern Catholic Churches Before and After Vatican II,” Origins, November 6, 2014. Father Mallon’s articles in ONE, a publication of CNEWA include: “The Ninety-nine Beautiful Names of God,” September 2009; “Ramadan Observed,” September 2011; “Religious Minorities in the Middle East,” March 2012; “Ecumenism,” Summer 2013; “The Fundamental Agreement,” Winter 2013; “A Global Peril: the state of religious freedom today,” America February 29, 2016, “Sykes-Picot and the making of the modern Middle East,” America May 17, 2016.