On the book: "City of Christian Love"

Nazareth... City of Christian Love

On the book: "City of Christian Love"

By Fr. Rif'at Bader

A year ago, I was invited with Sheikh Dr. Hamdi Murad to participate in the Beirut celebrations marking the Feast of Annunciation which has become a national holiday in Lebanon. We were warmly welcomed to celebrate this feast which is mentioned in the Holy Bible and the Holy Koran. This feast is not confined to Lebanon as it has become a Middle Eastern or rather a universal holiday.

After having celebrated the Beirut celebrations of the Nazareth Feast of Annunciation, we marked a few days ago the launching of a new book titled, "City of Christian Love: the History and Importance of Nazareth" by Dr. Ra'ouf Abu Jaber.

In this book, we do take a bird’s eye view of this oriental “flower” (one of the old and modern meanings of the word ‘Nazareth’) which witnessed the first progress in the city marked by formation of the first municipal council during the Ottoman era in 1875, where its motto nowadays is a green tree that overlooks the Virgin Spring.

The book includes a trip over the ages. It starts with the cradle of Christianity era until today with concentration on the religious societies which still constitute nowadays basic components of the historical Palestinian society and the Nazarene society in particular. This book includes genuine facts which not only mention the strong points relevant to having a coherent society but rather shed light on moments of tension among the residents of the city.

The city of Nazareth is characterized by two points. First: The wonderful collection of churches in the city", which the author mentions in his book, as it does not only reflect congruent plurality, but it rather conveys a message reflecting "the Arab Christian contribution to the progress attained in the city as well as the dissemination of the message of love to the entire world. The Christian institutions there, as is the case in our Kingdom of Jordan, include churches and schools, as well as intellectual, social and health institutions that have contributed to spreading the message of the love of Jesus of “Nazareth”, which He had uttered from a place not far from His Nazareth when He said: "Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the Earth". What is important here is to note that these institutions are open to everybody without discrimination. It is also important to note that the first Arab Patriarch of Nazareth, Michel Sabbah, is a native of the city bearing in mind that he conveyed the message of Nazareth, namely love and justice, from Jerusalem to the entire world."

The second point is the Islamic-Christian solidarity. When the issue of Shahabuddin Mosque in Nazareth came to the fore, there were sagacious people who solved the issue in a way that guarantees the progress of the holy city which is regarded, alongside Jerusalem and Bethlehem, as among the holiest cities in which holy events took place.

We congratulate our friend Ra'ouf Abu Jaber on this new book and ask him for more. The Christian city of love, Nazareth, is in communion with the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, or rather Amman. Amman, which hosts Our Lady of Nazareth College and the St. Mary of Nazareth Church in Sweifieh, has had a new patriarchal vicar for Nazareth, namely Fr. Hanna Kildani. As for love, it is a comprehensive immortal and humanitarian message enclosed by Abu Jaber in this English-language book, by Abu Jabir in this English-language book which we hope will be translated into Arabic. We also pray that the author will live long so as to write more books that convey hope to the people of the East and their friends everywhere.

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