Christian in the Holy Land: “For me, it doesn’t matter where I pray. I am attending God’s house.”

An interesting glimpse at a phenomenon in the Holy Land, from CNS: 

Suheir Saliba was running late as she prepared to go to the Easter Divine Liturgy with her husband, Aimad Kamal, and his family.

Saliba, a Catholic, had a late night. She, along with other Catholic and Greek Orthodox residents of the village, had attended the ceremony welcoming the holy fire at St. George Greek Orthodox Church…

Saliba joined her mother and brother and his family at Mass Holy Saturday in the Catholic church where she was raised. Some of the Greek Orthodox parishioners stayed for the Mass, too. Saliba and her family went out to eat afterward, and she did not return home until late.

Easter was the day to spend with her husband’s family.

In Israel and the Palestinian territories, where Christians make up a little less than 2 percent of the population, it is difficult to find a family where there is no “intermarriage” between people from different Christian denominations. In Palestinian tradition, the women join their husband’s church after marriage, raising their children in that church, but most women also continue to attend religious ceremonies in the church where they were raised…

…”For me it doesn’t matter where I pray, I am attending God’s house. How the prayers are said does not matter,” [Saliba] said. On Sundays she attends Mass with her mother at the Catholic Church and for holidays and special ceremonies she goes with her husband to the Greek Orthodox Church. She said sometimes it is difficult to follow the Orthodox prayers, so she simply prays in her heart.

Read it all. 

Photo: CNS/Debbie Hill


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