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  The hill of 'Azeir      

Cistercian Monastery "Beata Maria Fons Pacis"

 
 

Since March 2005 a small group of sisters, coming from the Monastery of Valserena, settled in Aleppo, Syria, in order to become part of the country and begin a new monastic  community
 The wish of receiving the heritage from the seven monks of Tibhirine, our seven brothers killed in 1996 in Algeria, was the starting point for this way. They left us, stronger than death, the evidence of their life, entirely devoted to God and offered with love to all brothers who surrounded  them, both Christians and Muslims.

Living, as minority, among believers of another faith, helps us too to purify our judgement, learning to see ourselves as well as Islam with God’s sight and pushes us to deeply renew our love and our adherence to Christ, bearing always in our minds his words: “I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice.” (John 10,16)

Cross’ installation ceremony

“To see ourselves and Islam through God’s sight and support the Christian Arab staying in the Middle East.”

As we settled in Aleppo, we soon became aware how it was important to support the presence of Christian Arabs in the Middle East, to help them keep living in their lands as well as their rich traditions, and,  in the same time, to promote an ecumenical spirit, in our belonging to the one universal Church. We would like to live these things by fulfilling the project of a monastery which will link us forever to this land, by loving this country and returning with joyful gratefulness the generous welcoming given us  by this land as well as its people.

Owing to the Latin Apostolic Vicar and Maronite Bishop of Tartous who both blessed our project, together with the help of many friends, we could buy a ground in the Maronite village of 'Azeir, on the top of a hill, next to the Syrian border.
It’s still a rural area, very simple in its beauty, far from the belt of the big towns, yet easily reachable without great difficulties.
Its blessing as well as the solemn installation of the Foundation’s Cross, on March 2008, have been moments of great joy for the village, which totally participated by climbing the hill in procession after the Mass in the parish church.

Azeir: procession with the faithful

“Convinced about the fruitfulness for a deep exchange
between Eastern and
Western heritage”.

There is another important reason for choosing this land to build a new monastic foundation, even if, indeed, we were led to Syria by the providence.
Here, in fact, the development of Christianity started. It shortly spread throughout Minor Asia , Greece, Rome and then Armenia, India up to China.
Since first centuries, the missionary action was borne and carried out by a very much lively monastic movement, arisen in the same time and independently as regards to the Egyptian one, more well-known. Saints like Aphrahat,  Ephrem the Syrian, Simeon Stylites, Maron, Isaac of Nineveh and many others following their marks like John Chrysostom and John of Damascus, started a very rich spiritual tradition.

We want to follow in the wake of them, starting from our Latin and Benedictine tradition, convinced about the fruitfulness coming from a deep exchange between the Eastern and Western heritage.

Searching of God, through prayer, has always been the soul of monasticism and this pursuit joins together all people of good willing both Christian and not Christian.
We experience this every day, when, standing as faithful in front of God and recognizing each other as brothers, we are able to long for what is true, good and beautiful.
We would like to become, through our life of work and prayer, a place where all this can be fulfilled.




Contacts:
valsyr@scs-net.org
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