In the cities of Palestine the most holy events took place. God became flesh in Bethlehem. There He walked among the people, gave sight to the blind, healed the sick and raised the dead. He took disciples and gave them the Word for the salvation of all humanity. In Jerusalem He was crucified and rose from the dead, destroying death by His death.
The ground of Palestine is soaked with the blood of Christian martyrs who without violence but love for their enemies endured the most horrible deaths imaginable.1 In the 4th century, with the support of Constantine the Great and his mother Helena, the seeds of the saints and martyrs of Palestine flourished as churches were built and monasteries filled. Palestine was a center for all of Christianity.
Pascha at The Holy Sepulchre, during Ottoman Rule, where Jesus rose from the Dead.
Over the last two thousand years wars and politics have taken a heavy toll on the Christians of Palestine but perhaps the events of the last century should be noted as particularly devastating. At the beginning of the 20th century Christians made up about one fifth of the population of historic Palestine. Today, 80% of their historic homeland is gone and they are struggling to maintain a population of 2%.
The Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem, Palestine.
The hardships forcing Palestinian Christians to leave are numerous. Some have been brutishly forced out of their ancestral homes by military might. All are victims of Israeli check points which inhibit or cut off markets for businesses and access to schools for children. Unemployment in many areas hovers over 50% because of these and other hardships continually imposed on the population. In addition to the economic difficulties, social harassment and military attacks from multiple groups continually terrorize the population.
St. George Greek Orthodox Church in St. Paul, MN welcomes the efforts of Dr. Maria Khoury of Taybeh, Palestine. Maria is working hard to alleviate the suffering of the Christian community in Palestine so that they may stay and the Light of Christ may shine over the Holy Land. A list of some of her works are below:
- Holy Land Housing Campaign
- Taybeh Educational Fund
- Christians in Palestine
An interview with Maria Khoury on Calvin College's Inner Compass program.
Video (76 MB), Audio (12.6 MB)
- Christians in the Holy Land
- Ancient Faith Radio's Interview with Maria Khoury
- Audio (12.2MB)
- Arabic Hour
- Discussion of living conditions in Palestine as well as efforts to help families obtain homes on land donated by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
- Video (156 MB), Audio (14 MB)
- Taybeh Housing Campaign (28 MB)
For more information please visit http://www.saintgeorgetaybeh.org.