Religious in Syria Restore Faith in a Broken Humanity

When Arzé Khodr visited Syria after the 7.6-magnitude earthquake, much of the country had already been destroyed by 10 years of civil war. Among the institutions still standing were those run by religious men and women who did not abandon the people in their need.

Editors’ note: Listen to Arzé Khodr‘s moving audio report about the dedicated people she met in Aleppo. Then read her compelling interviews with these religious men and women in “Firmly Planted” in the December 2023 edition of ONE. A full transcript follows.

If there is one thing I will always remember from my visit to Aleppo and the interviews I did for an article about the Christian community there, it would definitely be the smiles on the faces of the people I met and the sense of peace and total surrender to God that clearly guides them in everything:

Father Georges Fattal’s absolute confidence in divine providence.

The hope of Father Pierre Jabloyan for the future in the face of all the difficulties.

The peaceful smile of Sister Bernadette d’Hauteville, the French Franciscan Missionary Sister, who has spent more than 50 years in the Middle East, and who talks with great conviction about the necessity of the presence of the mission in Aleppo.

The silent tears of Sister Antoinette Battikh as she remembered all those who died in the darkest hours of the war, her serenity and deep commitment to her work at the sewing workshop founded during the war, a workshop that offers opportunities and empowerment to women of all faiths and backgrounds.

The insistence of the administration of the Mekhitarist Fathers’ School to provide the best possible education despite the difficult conditions.

All these people are examples, not only to their fellow Christians, but also to all those who believe in humanity, to all those who seek hope in a time of war and catastrophe.

In Aleppo, I can truly say that I met people who can restore anyone’s broken faith in humanity.

Arzé Khodr is a freelance writer and playwright, based in Beirut.

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