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Dublin & Glendalough Supports Beirut Parish Following Devastating Explosion

Dublin & Glendalough Supports Beirut Parish Following Devastating Explosion
Archbishop Michael Jackson and Archdeacon Imad Zoorob (centre) in All Saints’ Church in Beirut in January 2018.

The United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough is supporting relief work in Beirut following the devastating explosion in the city on August 4. The massive blast in the city’s port area caused at least 180 deaths, 6,000 injuries and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless (at the time of writing).

Lebanon is part of the Diocese of Jerusalem which has been engaged in a partnership link with Dublin & Glendalough for almost five years. Dublin & Glendalough is sending €10,500 to All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beirut via the Diocese of Jerusalem. Of this, €10,000 will support the work of the Anglican parish while €500 will assist Armenian Church families in the city.

The money had been earmarked in the Diocesan Council for Mission budget for the development and deepening of the inter diocesan partnership. However, following the explosion the decision was made to give it directly to the parish in Beirut and the Armenian Church community.

All Saints’ Church is located about a mile from where the blast took place. Archbishop Michael Jackson has visited the parish. “I have visited the parish three times. I have conducted a seminar-sermon on the Five Marks of Mission for our Come&C project and book. I also met Armenian Christians who came to the service. The parish is deeply involved in humanitarian work and of course its own members will have their own needs in the current circumstances,” he said.

“All of us are aware of the fragility of human life, its survival and its integrity. My prayer is for all the people of Beirut that they will find comfort at this time and that human dignity and respect will flourish in a situation where peace is a virtue and grace is neighbourliness.

In Dublin & Glendalough we pray with our sisters and brothers in solidarity, in hope and in love,” he added.

The Rector of All Saints’ is the Ven Imad Zoorob, Archdeacon over Lebanon and Syria. The parish serves the Arabic and international communities and after the explosion he has assessed the status from the two resident congregations as well as damage to All Saints’ and the diocese’s complex at the Near Eastern School of Theology (NEST).

Describing the explosion as a “very traumatic experience” for the community of All Saints’ Church, Archdeacon Zoorob said that in addition to the economic strain members had suffered property damage including to doors, windows, furniture, cars and other household items. “We are thankful that the injuries are minimal and do pray for a speedy recovery,” he said.

There was some damage to the church from the blast. “The church building received considerable damage from shattered glass doors in the fellowship hall and also the upstairs vestry window was damaged. However, we are thankful that the sanctuary has remained intact. In fact, not a single window in the sanctuary was broken. We hope to meet there again soon, but that will depend on several factors, including COVID-19,” he explained.

The All Saints’ Church offices are at NEST which experienced damage to windows and doors. The clean up is well underway and Archdeacon Zoorob is working with the Diocese of Jerusalem to support the members of the church whose property has been damaged.

In a letter to the Archbishop of Dublin, Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Archbishop in Jerusalem, expressed his thanks for prayers and support. The diocese has already sent out an appeal to its partners and they are grateful for the positive response. “The recovery from this disaster will take many years, especially in light of the current pandemic and the already difficult economic situation in Beirut. Because of your prayers and the generous support of our many partners, All Saints’ will be able to serve as an outreach center for a good number of those who have been heavily affected by the blast,” he said.

On Sunday January 10 2016, the Epiphany Agreement was signed in St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem by Archbishop Jackson and Archbishop Dawani. The agreement commits to developing a link relationship of equal partners between the Diocese of Jerusalem and the United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough which is sustainable, practical, effective, mutually supportive and mutually enriching. The aim of the link is to strengthen mission in the church communities in both dioceses, to increase awareness between the dioceses of their solidarity in the cause of Christ, to respect and learn of and from each other’s cultural heritage and to enable the world to recognise more clearly God’s mission.

The aftermath of the explosion in Beirut on August 4. (Photo: UN)
The aftermath of the explosion in Beirut on August 4. (Photo: UN)

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