monastery story.. :) - Printable Version

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monastery story.. :) - flofrog - 12-24-2021

Hello friends,

I just read this story in a french paper yesterday, so bear with me as I shall try to re-tell it in that sort of murky frog language.

So it is a monastery located two hours north of Damas in Syria.  The monastery is in a deserted area and built half inside the mountain itself overlooking a plain.  The nearest little town, Nebek,  is about 6 miles or 12 km away.

Its name is Mar Moussa.

Seven men and women live in that monastery, Syrian Catholics, and welcome all, of any religion or atheists, everyone.

In the middle of this 10 year war, they have continued to live and pray .   A little slender nun, Sister Houda, who has been living there for 28 years, said " At the worst of the fighting, we could see the missiles fly over us. we have weighted the question, should we leave. The decision to stay was unanimous. It was imposed on us as we belong to the Syrian people who suffers and we are deeply joined together. The people of Nebek said, if you stay, we shall stay too."

Not one family then left.

Yet between November and December 2013  fight was raging between Nebek and opposing forces and hundreds died. But quickly  a pact of nonaggression took place.   This place first established in the 6th century is perceived as a beacon of peace by all sides

In the monastery the language is Arab, and anyone is invited. Shoes are left at the entrance of the church.  Everyone  sits on carpets, monks and postulants start their day praying, giving grace to God for the life they were given and possible martyr. They pray also for the founder of their order, an Italian Jesuit, Paolo Dall' Oglio who was kidnapped in Raqqa  by the Islamic State, July 29, 2013 and whose fate nobody knows today. He would be 67.  Paolo was visualizing peace and unity  between the three religions existing in that part of the Middle East.

Sister Houda says " We have kept his room with his books ready for him. We can feel his presence here." Brother Jihad says " A man like him cannot die," whether he alludes to physical or spiritual life. Paolo Dall'Oglio first arrived in Mar Moussa in 1986 when the former place was in ruin and empty.

" One day, he'll knock at the door," says Sister Houda, while the cold wind of winter gets into the monastery through the stone walls

So this is the story of the monastery Wink

I shall try to attach some photos but I am not very good at this....

RE: monastery story.. :) - IndigoSalvia - 12-24-2021

Beautiful story. I can visualize a great light radiating from this monastery.

p.s. Whenever I see your name, the word grenouille comes to mind. J'ai etudie le francais a l'universite, and I remember just a bit of French. Grenouille, of all words, stuck in ma tete.

RE: monastery story.. :) - flofrog - 12-24-2021

I am totally a grenouille IndigoS !!  Heart to you

Here are four more pics,
one has on the left Paolo, next to him Brother Boutros, Brother Yauss and on the  right is Sister Houda. That photo was taken five years before Paolo disappeared.

the  other one is of frescoes inside, the third is a few miles away in the desert.  The last one is of Nadima who cooks there in the minuscule kitchen and Brother Jihad.

All photos are by Hasan Belal

RE: monastery story.. :) - MonadicSpectrum - 12-25-2021

Wonderful story and photos! Thanks for sharing, Flo.