Over the years I have published a number of articles in St Francis Magazine. The online journal focused on Christianity and Christian witness in the context of the Arab world specifically, and the Muslim world more broadly.
I always felt the journal played a unique role. But word has reached me through the grapevine that the website became too costly to maintain. The PDFs of the articles will hopefully be made available some time down the road. But I’m not in charge of that.
But for now, I am able to make my own articles available. So, here are numerous links…
This was published last year but I had not posted it to my blog yet. This brief article includes a historical sketch for Christ Church (Episcopal/Anglican) in Nazareth, and a description of the liturgy as it presently exists.
The Crimean War is not generally considered to be particularly important in the popular mind. Indeed, many people have never even heard about it. But for the Holy Land it was very important:
While this war, which mainly took place on the northern and western borders of the Ottoman Empire, did not lead to the Empire’s disintegration, the victorious powers – the French and English – could expand their foothold inside the holy places. The Ottomans were on the side of the French and the English, but they paid a heavy price as a result of European pressure. The Ottomans were forced to allow Christians and Jews to buy estates and own lands. It was then that in Jerusalem, Nazareth an Bethlehem a great many new institutions and orders established a presence. […]
The introduction of Western institutions was facilitated by administrative reforms. […] As for the religious places, the Crimean War led to an arrangement, called the “status quo”, which minutely detailed the relations between the different churches at the holy places, including the demarcation of territories, the possession of keys, and cleaning arrangements. This status quo has henceforth been confirmed by the successive powers in Bethlehem. (page 46)
This is from a rather obscure book I procured in Bethlehem: Bethlehem Community Book (Bethlehem: Arab Educational Institute, 1999) No author or editor is listed.
The current vicar of Christ Church has recently removed some carpet that had covered the chancel for many years. He found an interesting pattern there of an octagon with an eight-pointed start in the middle. Does this mean anything? The church itself was build in the 1870’s by the evangelical CMS missionary John Zeller, who was German. Do leave a comment if the curious designs may have any meaning or significance beyond decoration.
Included here are a few other details from the church as well. More pictures can be found at my Flickr site. (All pictures copy right D A Miller 2013.)