22 June 2016

Christians in Ramallah and changes in the city

Christians presence in the Palestinian center of Ramallah, 16 kilometers north of Jerusalem. A journey in one of the most multicultural and religious cities of the territory.

Christians in the Holy Land

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The city of Ramallah, 16 kilometers north of Jerusalem, owes its name to two words that mean "God wanted."
It is characterized by a growing rapidly population, due to an internal migration from rural areas and other cities. Thanks to the growing job opportunities, residents have already exceeded 200 thousand people, according to the Palestinian statistics office.

Despite the changes, Ramallah continues to attract the Christian immigrants from the northern areas of the West Bank.
Since the ancient times, Christians have found here a suitable place to settle.
There are five churches of different denominations documenting their presence and various schools enrolling Christians and Muslims students.

Fr. IBRAHIM SHOMALI
Latin Parish Priest - Ramallah
“Towards the end of 1855, Christians asked the Patriarch to send a priest to serve the city. Later, they founded a school and in 1857 they established the first parish in the Ramallah area. The name given to the church was “Holy Family” to remember the visit of the holy family to the city and Mary’s return to Jerusalem with Joseph, to look for Jesus, when Mary realized that Jesus was not with them.”

One of the churches is St. Andrew’s Church, which belongs to the Anglican Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East.


Rev. FADI DIAB

Parish Priest of St. Andrew’s Church– Ramallah
"Our church is beautiful because it has an ancient Palestinian style: the stones used to be covered with a layer of concrete until about 10 years ago when we decided to bring back the ancient stone. Also, you can see two different architectural styles: the Palestinian style within the structure of the church and the English style on the arches."

Rev. IMAD HADDAD
Luteran Parish Priest - Church of Hope – Ramallah
"The parish was established in 1954, the cornerstone was laid in 1961 and the church was inaugurated in 1963. Historically, I am the fifth pastor. All the while the church was subject to continuous development and construction. The glass window was renewed in 1984 and tells the story of creation."

The Greek Orthodox Transfiguration Church is the oldest church in the city.

Arcimandrite GALAKTION AWWAD
Spiritual Director of Greek Orthodox Church – Ramallah
"They decided to build a large church that was completed and opened in 1850. It was so called because there was not a church on Mount Tabor to celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration, therefore Christians came here from villages and cities to celebrate the recurring event."

Fr. ABDALLAH LULIO
Melkite Greek Catholic Parish Priest – Ramallah
"The Greek Melkite Catholic Church is an Eastern church that belongs (since its origins) to the Arab Orthodox Church, which is based in Damascus."

Ramallah stands out from other Palestinian cities because of the wealth of cultural activities and scope of communication and mass media. In fact, the majority of journalists and writers who have returned to Palestine after living abroad, live here. The city is also the headquarters of diplomatic missions and many non-governmental institutions that create great accomplishments on all levels.