Culture

The Greek Orthodox Community in the Holy Land

Contributed by This Week In Palestine on 25.05.2006:

The Arabic speaking Greek Orthodox denomination is considered the most ancient and most widespread among Christians in this land. The roots of this community date back to the time of the early propagation of Christianity in the East by the apostles. It was the first church to regulate masses and from it originated priesthood and the notion of abstinence and devotion to prayer. Christianity s(...)

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Doorways: Arched and straight

Contributed by Vinzenz Hokema on 25.05.2006:



Walls in traditional Palestinian houses are constructed with far more tricks and secrets than expected.

This door leading to the roof of the Lama House in Bethlehem has an arched lintel on the inside, and a straight one outside, while it is one undivided wall apart fr(...)

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Modern way of building houses

Contributed by Vinzenz Hokema on 25.05.2006:



The facades of newly built Palestinian houses are usually made of limestone and contain references to old styles of building (e.g. arches). This is requiered by municipal law (in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other areas).

As visible in the aperture, not the natural stones(...)

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The wasps

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

A long time ago one of the invaders of Palestine persecuted the Christians; some of them were banished, some were killed and their churches were defamed. The leader of the invaders ordered his men to enter the Church of Nativity, loot all its treasures, and destroy it. When his soldiers entered this holy site and tried to steal all precious things in it, all of a sudden large numbers of wasps(...)

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The Old Man – St Nicholas

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

Beit Jala is an old Canaanite city whose name in Aramaic means "grass carpet." It hosts the Church of the Virgin and St Nicola's Church, and also a mosque for Moslems who took shelter in Beit Jala in the wake of the 1948 war. The Ras Mountain, which lies to the West of the city, is 923 metres high. On the northern part of this mountain lies the Cremisan Convent which is famous for manufacturi(...)

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To Mar Saba: a poem

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

1. I long to see the shrines and graves

My soul journeys with the monks

Shrouded by the silence of the night

and the wonder of prayer!

2. The Monastery remains, the "towers"

remain, gracefully facing the sky.

Our eyes gaze, our memories go

back to the ancient history.

3. Ancient is your history, Mar Saba,

uniting the present with (...)

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A story of an Arabic proverb

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

"Men are closed boxes opened by experiences"

A man had a son, and the son had a lot of friends. One day the father asked the boy, "Dear boy, I see you very often going in and out with your friends." The boy answered: "These are my friends, even brothers; they support me when I need them." The father replied: "I think that you should try them out in order to be sure that they support yo(...)

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Olive wood tree speaks…

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

The story of the olive wood tree

when he would be able to speak...

Have you ever wondered why there are so many signs and symbols of olive branches and doves and why the name "olive wood" sounds so special? Oh, if this beautiful little tree could speak, here are some of the wonderful secrets she would share with us.

I am a small shapely tree with pointed dark, green leave(...)

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The Window in the Ceiling

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

The following story happened in Syria but is known in the Bethlehem area.

It is said that a young peasant fell in love with a girl from the same quarter. Like the girl's father he worked on the land. However, customs and traditions put an obstacle to their meeting. During his trading trips to Aleppo her father used to lock her up. However, her lover climbed on the roof and talked to he(...)

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Fadwa Tuqan, Poet (1917-2003)

Contributed by This Week In Palestine on 23.05.2006:

"It would be enough for me to die in my country, to be buried, to dissolve and be annihilated"

Fadwa Tuqan is the grande dame of Palestinian letters. She is considered one of the best pioneering contemporary Arab poets. Born in 1917 to one of Nablus?s leading families, Tuqan, whose work has won several international prizes, knew Palestine under British rule, the creation of the state(...)

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