Friday, December 11, 2015

‘He is a martyr, and I honour him’

From The Church Times-

EVERY morning and evening, the bells ring out from the seventh-century desert monastery of St James the Mutilated at Qara, 60 miles north of Damascus, in Syria, as the community of Carmelite monks and nuns follow their ancient liturgy in Arabic and French.

The lines of Islamic State (IS), or Daesh, are only 8km to the west, and 23km to the east. It was here that we spent three nights at the end of November, as part of a six-day visit by an international delegation, led by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire.

The purpose of our visit was to meet and listen to people on the ground, and see the situation for ourselves. The invitation was from the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III; and the Church acted as our hosts. The government provided a security detail to protect us, and we were free to travel at will — though at our own risk.

More here-

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