12
SEP
2013

Mourning for Maaloula (Axel Schoeber)

Aramaic was the language Jesus would commonly have spoken and was the trade language of the nations around Judea in his time. The use of the language has almost died out. One community that is making big efforts to revive Aramaic is the Syrian Christian town of Maaloula. A world heritage site, Maaloula has become the scene of repeated battles in the Syrian Civil War in the past week. Many Christians have fled, though some nuns are staying in order to care for some 20 orphans. There are reports that some of the rebels have killed Christians and attempted forced conversion to Islam. Apparently, control of the city has changed hands several times. Yet it is hard to imagine that this community will be able to return to normal functioning in any case. This historic Christian community is at risk. John Donne wrote, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Similarly I am grieving with our brothers and sisters from Maaloula.

Axel Schoeber
I teach Supervised Ministry and Baptist Identity, and I shepherd the Graduate Internship Program for pastors new to the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. I follow current affairs and, as an old soccer coach, I love a good game, particularly if it involves the Vancouver Whitecaps or the German national men’s team!

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