Catholic Biblical Federation of the Middle East was founded in 1985 in Egypt by Mgr Antonios Nagib, the former Coptic Catholic Patriarch.
In 1985, in Larnaca, on the island of Cyprus, the first meeting took place of 20 exegetes and ministers of the Word in the Arabic speaking countries of the Near and Middle East: Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Jerusalem. Cyprus was not chosen in the first place because it was the home of Barnabas and the place of the first stop-over of Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Rather, it was chosen for the practical reason: it was the only place in that war-torn area that could be reached by people from all these countries: Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon etc.
Organizer of this first-ever meeting of its kind on Cyprus, aside from the General Secretary of the Catholic Biblical Federation, was the Coptic-Catholic Bishop of Minia, Egypt, Antonios Naguib, since 2006 Patriarch. He became the first sub-regional coordinator of the CBF for the Middle East and as such, with the CBF General Secretary, he undertook a most adventurous journey through Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, to contact the different hierarchies of the Catholic Oriental Churches for the sake of promoting the biblical-pastoral ministry.
The second Cyprus Meeting in February 1988 had as topic “The Reading of the Bible in our Middle East context”. This topic developed into a program for the years to come. – After Lebanon became accessible again since the 1990s, every two years a Biblical-Pastoral Congress has been held in that country for the entire Middle East – with very qualified resource persons from both the region, especially Lebanon, and from abroad. All contributions to these congresses have been published in Arabic. In this regard, the Lebanon is considered a real blessing for the biblical movement in the entire Middle East. This has been acknowledged by the entire Catholic Biblical Federation during its 6thPlenary Assembly held at Jounieh, Lebanon in 2002.