Thursday, April 15, 2010

More on Russian Orthodoxy in the Holy Land

For a while on my list of links, I've had the website for the Sophia Association, a charity run by Fr. Roman Radwan, an Arab priest with Israeli nationality who studied at Jordanville and whose family has a long history of ties to the Russian mission in Palestine. The Sophia Association's work is to repair and rebuild Orthodox churches within the current territory of Israel, most of which were destroyed or put into disuse in 1948 and remain very frequent targets of vandalism and other kinds of abuse from the local Jewish population, as documented on the website, which is in Arabic, Russian (with pre-revolutionary orthography!) and English.

Recently, the Jerusalem Post published a very interesting article about Fr. Roman's parish, St. Nicholas, that is well worth reading. While the Post itself is generally way too right-wing to be reputable, even among Israelis, this article was surprisingly balanced and sympathetic. It highlights the anxiety that many Jewish Israelis have about the strong tendency for Russian immigrants to convert to Christianity- anecdotaly, it probably is rather more than the statistics given by the talking heads toward the end of the article. In a sense, the Orthodox Church is one of the only things that on some level unites the Israelis and the Palestinians....

Read it here.

1 comment:

Aaron Taylor said...

Very fascinating. Thanks for this!