OPF Pilgrimage for Peace - 2007
- From: John Oliver
2007 PILGRIMAGE TO PALESTINE:
This is to request your input, support, and participation in a Pilgrimage
for Peace in Palestine in 2007 co-sponsored by the Orthodox Peace Fellowship
& Orthodox Peace Fellowship-North America.
Our present intention is to meet on March 26, 2007 at Taybeh, and end with
the great Palm Sunday procession on April 2 in which Orthodox, Greek
Catholics, and Roman Catholics march together to prepare their hearts and
minds for Pascha. "The symbolism recalls Christ's glorious walk into
Jerusalem after he left our village 2,000 years ago," writes Maria Khoury.
It is followed by a service at St. George Orthodox Church. ARE THESE DATES
ACCEPTABLE? IF NOT, WHAT IS A BETTER TIME?
Taybeh, the only completely Christian village in Palestine, is on the West
Bank north of Jerusalem. It is described by the San Francisco Chronicle as
"draped like a necklace around Mount Asur, the highest peak in the West
Taybeh, originally known as Ephraim, is where Jesus
found refuge after raising Lazarus, and where he prepared to enter Jerusalem
prior to His crucifixion (see John: 11:54). It is for this reason that the
Palm Sunday procession at Taybeh has such special importance.
Fr. David P. Khoury, priest at St. George Orthodox Church in Taybeh, David
D. Khoury, mayor of Taybeh, and his wife, Maria, author of books about
Christian life in the Holy Land, will welcome us to this village that is the
home of 1,300 Christians.
Ephraim was renamed Taybeh by Salah A-Din (or Saladin).Maria explains, "The
folk tale states that Salah A-Din visited the village Ephraim and found its
people very hospitable and generous.' Thus he made a statement that they
are taybehn people' -- Arabic,
meaning 'good and kind.' " Today Christian and Muslim children study in the
Fr. Raed Sahlieh, the Roman Catholic priest in Taybeh, has started a medical
center, an old people's home, and a cooperative to sell olive oil --
Taybeh's main crop -- to a French distributor. Revenues go to the farmers,
with a 15 percent tithe to the church to maintain the schools, old age home
and aid to the poor." He has also created a peace lamp, shaped like a dove
and filled with Taybeh oil, to burn in 100,000 churches as "a symbol of the
light of peace shining from the village where Jesus stayed, and a symbol of
support for this Christian community, because to burn the lamp, you must buy
our oil from the local farmers."
"There is nothing more psychologically comforting and spiritually powerful,"
Maria explains, "than feeling the presence of God and knowing, as a
Christian, you walked the same footsteps as Christ Himself during his last
retreat into the wilderness before His
According to present plans, we expect to spend two days in Taybeh, one in
Bethlehem, one in Jerusalem, one with Fr. Elias Chacour*, one in Jericho and
at the monasteries, and have one day free. We will also meet with others who
work in the Christian community.
Once details are finalized, we expect to have an announcement to send to
major Orthodox media.
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