جماعة "روح وقـوّة "                             دير الملاك جبرائيـل

 

الجرس الصامت

 

                                                                     The Silent Bell

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 village.
I hope that my children and grand children will return to their grand fathers’ memories.

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.