23 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 10/25/2012 14:40
SYRIA
Trappist nuns in Azeir, a sign of hope for Syria at war
Located between Homs and Tartous in western Syria, the Monastery of Azeir continues to help Christians and Muslims, despite the fighting. What follows includes some excerpts from letters written by five Italian nuns living at the monastery posted online. Through simple actions like praying and gardening, the sisters have become a beacon of hope for Christians and Muslims devastated by the conflict.

Azeir  (AsiaNews) - Amid the chaos of the Syrian civil war, when the main noise has been the sound of bombs going off and the screams of those they wounded, there are still some places where the prevailing hatred is held at bay. One of them is a Trappist monastery in the small Maronite village of Azeir, located in western Syria between the cities of Tartous and Homs.  Five Italian nuns from the Monastery of Valserena (Pisa) call it home. Despite the fighting raging around them, they chose to stay in the country. "Despite our Italian nationality," said Sister Monica, superior of the Mother House, "and the resources we might have because of it, we are part of this community and cannot leave at a time of trial. Its fate is our fate."

In letters written over the past few months and posted on the monastery's website, the nuns describe the tragedies of the war and the suffering endured by the residents of the villages that surround them.

For the sisters, the monastery is a tangible sign of hope. "A place where God is worshiped in his real presence, both Eucharistic and Ecclesial, through prayers and brotherly communion, is a blessing for all."

However, "Our neighbours are discouraged," said one of the letters posted. "Even in our small village, civilians and young conscripts have been killed."

"The country," wrote another, "has become a battleground for adversaries that are bigger than Syria, people who came to fight in this land and this people to settle their own conflicts."

In each post, the Trappist nuns call on all Christians to pray for the Syrian population that welcomed them.

According to them, "people want justice, freedom, democracy but also jobs and a chance to go out with the family."

During the months of war, Muslims came to the monastery, not only to ask for basic items, but also for some comfort.

"Some young people began turning to us because they needed someone to help them think, grow and reflect," one nun said.

The nuns responded to such requests with their life, full of prayers and small actions, like growing vegetables in the garden and tending the orchard, which produces all sorts of fruit," another nun said.

Bearing witness in this simple fashion helps people have hope and stand up to hatred,  mindful of the traditions of this land where Christians and Muslims have lived in peace for centuries.

"Our trust in man comes from Christian hope and it is stronger than all the horrors," Sister Monica wrote. "Christians are called to bear witness to it in the world. Since we have been called to Syria, why leave?"

Syria's civil war broke out in March 2011 in the wake of the Arab spring. Some 30,000 people have died since its start with almost a million forced from their homes. Some 200,000 have found refugee in neighbouring countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

After months of fighting and appeals by the pope and the United Nations for a ceasefire, UN and Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi announced today a possible truce for the Muslim festivity of the Eid al-Adha, which will be celebrated over the week-end.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/11/2014 SYRIA - LEBANON
Exchanged for the wife of an al Qaeda member, Ma'aloula Sisters shout "Allah Akbar"
by Paul Dakiki
12/10/2013 LEBANON - SYRIA
Lebanon asks for Qatari help in Maaloula nuns affair
by Fady Noun
06/25/2013 SYRIA
Custos of the Holy Land: Fr Franҫois Mourad killed by Islamist insurgents in al-Ghassaniyah
06/26/2013 SYRIA
Fr Mourad, "a man of faith" who gave his life for Christ and Syrians
02/10/2014 SYRIA
New video of abducted Ma'aloula nuns, calling for the release of "all detainees" in Syria

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.