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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nazareth: Patriarchal Vicar participates in “Cultural Salons”

NAZARETH – There is a new and interesting phenomenon in Nazareth, the birth of “cultural salons”, which can become excellent pastoral opportunities.

Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, was invited to the March 5, 2014 gathering of the “Noha Qawar Literary Salon” in Nazareth to host an evening on the “Ancient Palestinian Arabic Christian Literature”.  Some time ago,  the Orpheus Cultural Salon  convened to speak to members on a similar topic, but with a more general and cultural touch, “The Arab Christian Heritage”.

The penchant of Galileans for membership in conventional Social Clubs of American origin (Rotary, Lions, etc.) is already well known. This inspired the birth of “Family Clubs” already active in some parishes. Now, some Arab residents of Israel, especially Christians, are experiencing the emergence of a new social phenomenon, the establishment of cultural salons. In Galilee, for example, there is the “Salon Al- Kalimah” of Haifa and the “Salon Al-Ofoq” in Shefaamer. Is it a spontaneous need arising out of the special situation faced by Arab residents in Israel?

Similar and different

These salons are rather small or average-size groups of relatives, neighbors and friends. They have a common attribute: all possess a strong social and cultural pursuit and the members are almost all university graduates. Normally, they gather in a family home (a minimum of twelve persons up to a maximum of forty, with an average of twenty-five participants), once a month, on the same day of the week. Usually, politics does not enter into the activities of these salons, which, incidentally, do not receive a government subsidy.
But they also have many interesting differences. The members of these salons are very different in religious affiliation: Christian, Muslim, Druze, and difference in profession: lawyers, zajjalin (poets that improvise a traditional form of oral poetry in colloquial dialect), doctors, teachers, architects, musicians, writers and journalists. They have varied cultural interests such as literature, music, art, astronomy, gastronomy, medicine and, of course, religion. In these meetings, as one can understood, a lively, friendly and familiar, but also serious and profound debate unfolds between the participants, based on the word of a specialist.

The happy rediscovery of Arab Christian Heritage.

To return to the two Nazareth Salons, a new interest is evident today for ancient Arab Christian literature. This interest is probably generated by the al-Liqa Centre, which for some years has coordinated cultural events in Galilee and, in fact, organized a convention in Bethlehem in January: “In the wake of our Palestinian Arab Christian heritage”.

This is all joy for Bishop Marcuzzo. He specialized on this subject during his graduate studies in Rome. He also taught this at the Diocesan Seminary in Beit Jala and continues to teach even at the University of Bethlehem. “Now,  at the outcome of the “Noha Qawar Literary Salon”,  I took advantage of this new-found enthusiasm for the culture to make ACL (Arabic Christian Literature) a pastoral instrument, and I took advantage of the invitation to participate in these cultural salons as an opportunity to exercise a certain apostolic presence in the midst of intellectuals, who, generally speaking, are not very accessible”.

Text from our correspondent in Galilee. Photos and N.Z M.Q


1 comment:

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