Angel Gabriel Church lies in the heart of the town Migdal Ha’emek which
in the past was an Arab village called then Al- Mjadel.
Fr. Jack Karam, my teacher at the Franciscan School in Nazareth was
assigned in charge of the monastery and started to hold prayer services,
and since then I felt like “this is my church”
We renovated the church, the bell tower and put a new rope, yet until
now the bell hasn’t done its purpose. The bell rings to invite the
people to pray, but there are no Christians in Al-Mjadel now.
Despite the lack of Christians in Migdal Ha’Emek, the church is full of
life and many come here from Nazareth and the surrounding area to pray.
Meanwhile the Monastery is open as a place of prayer, place of solitude
and spiritual guidance. While many approach the place, my goal is to
make it an oasis of prayer and meeting place with man and God. Let us
not forget this is Angel Gabriel Monastery and angel Gabriel was
mentioned the Old Testament, New Testament and in the Qurran.
We still have records of family names that lived in Al-Mjadel as well as
those who were baptized and married here. The last person to be baptized
here was on the 29th of June 1948.
Uncle Nassri Nassar, my neighbor in Nazareth was born and raised in Al-Mjadel.
He comes to pray in the Church in Migdal Ha’ Emek.
Naturally when clashes between the Arabs and the Israelis started, we
were forced to leave the village and moved to live in Nazareth .
I still have maps and documents that prove the memories that can’t be
forgotten, even the grandchildren have to learn and not forget what
grandpa had in Al-Mjadel.
This is a document from the time of the Turkish occupation describing
the limits of the land my father inherited from his grand father and his
great grand father.
Uncle Nassri agreed to go with me to the Church in Migdal Ha’Emek” Part
of the Land under the church today was under the authority of uncle
Nassri’s family. Being a place of prayer it is also a place of bonding
between the grand fathers and the grand children.
The map shows the location of the village. We are now standing here.
From this point to this point is at least three hundred meters, this is
my house. My house existed under that distant building.
Here was a huge Mulberry tree that served as a place of refuge in
the1948 war during the months when the planes shelled the village, we
abandoned our homes and spent the night under the tree. Soldiers were
not allowed to come in the church property so we hid here.
Even though I am old now, I still wish I could return here to live in my
I hope that my children and grand children will return to their grand
The church here is not a meeting place for Christians only, but other
groups are welcomed to meet here as well, if they like.
In truth I don’t understand the reason for people’s attraction to this
place, is it their craving to the abandoned village? Or maintain the
church? Or maybe even create a new mania on the ruins of the past, like
hope for peace.