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“O Gladsome Light, of the Holy glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly Holy, blessed Jesus Christ!” (Holy Saturday Morning Prayers)
This is one of my most favorite days in the village. We have just celebrated the Miracle of the Holy Fire in Taybeh at the outskirts of our village, a little after 5 pm in the late afternoon on this Great and Holy Saturday, after waiting since 2:10 pm local time when this great miracle occurred once again in Jerusalem.
“A rich man is not one who has much, but one who gives much. For what he gives away remains his forever.” St. John Chrysostom
That time of year just sneaked up again. It is a special time to shift gears and direct our lives to what is pleasing, good and holy to God. On this Clean Monday even Israel is trying to keep their buses clean from Palestinians while I am forcing myself to think how to keep my soul clean.
It has been great fun not knowing how to use anything technical that my children have, but I seriously love the GPS (Global Positioning System) on their phone. The Google map application is just amazing to me especially because it’s no longer my fault when we get lost.
I am still trying to figure out which side of the concrete “Wall” is the wrong side, since most of the time I am feeling locked up behind an official 26-foot high “Separation Barrier” on Palestinian land, but when I am in my husband’s village of Taybeh, I end up speaking to God more.
"Let all the earth worship you, and sing to you. Shout with joy to God, all the earth."
"Christ is born! Glorify Him!"
I was very sad the other day because my dear friend, Mother Agapia, was driving to St. Photini’s Church at Jacobs Well and I could not go since I had to stay in the village and give Taybeh Beer Tours. I live among the holiest of places but it takes a great blessing to actually go and venerate.
"When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly." 1 Corinthians 4:12-13
I woke up for another day, and although the sun had an amazing beautiful shine on the olive trees, there was a psychological darkness all around me.
"If your brother is suffering, suffer with him; so that you might be counted worthy to hear from the Lord on the Day of Judgment: 'As ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to Me.'" [Matthew 25:40]
It amazes me that a very lovely independent filmmaker came to Palestine especially to do a documentary about Christians in the Holy Land but had no interest in our Christian day-to-day activities, but just how we get along with Muslims was the only thing on her mind.
“Hail! All-pure Maiden, who bore the Way of Life, and saved the world from the deluge of sin…” (Akathist Hymn)
The many years that I have had the great blessing to be in Jerusalem for August mark beautiful memories and solemn processions at 4:00 in the morning(August 25th to be exact, but only August 12th on the Old Julian Calendar) to walk the icon of the Theotokos, the Holy Mother of God, from the monastery next to the Holy Sepulchre all the way down the Via Delarosa to reach the empty tomb of the Virgin Mary at the bottom of the hill below the Russian Orthodox Convent at the Garden of Gethsemane, next door literally where also the Church is for St. Mary Magdalene.
“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born for you.” Luke 2:13
I woke up today, doing my very best not to be political but wanting to reassure myself that I share with all of my friends the great news that the Holy Nativity Church in Bethlehem just recently became the first World Heritage Site to be listed under the name of Palestine. What?
"We must remember that to be truly human does not mean to be 'like us' but to be 'like Christ'." Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh
I am so used to dining and wining with the ambassadors and “who’s who in Palestine” that it will be so hard to stop being the mayor’s wife. But it is coming up soon. Even after the elections were canceled more than four times, finally it was announced that this September, local municipality elections will take place and, as I understand, my husband David Khoury, will not run again because we are simply done with running around.
In the last few years during Great Lent, I have developed a pattern of promoting our Christian presence in the Holy Land with a book tour and returning to Palestine for Holy Week, to wait for the most marvelous miracle that is at the core of our Christian presence in the Holy Land: The Miracle of the Holy Fire. I have failed to do a book tour this year, so I do not want to fail to be a witness for this magnificent miracle that everyone always asks me about and appeared for the first time during the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 24:4; Matthew 28:1-4)