Nabek (Agenzia Fides) - The monks and nuns of the monastic Community of Khalil Allah in Deir Mar Musa - founded by the Roman Jesuit Dall'Oglio Paolo, who was abducted by unknown kidnappers at the end of July - have issued a Christmas letter in which they express to their friends and acquaintances the feelings and deeds that mark their path towards the feast that celebrates the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. In the letter, sent to Fides Agency, information is given on the initiatives carried out last year by members of the Community with regards to the dynamics and consequences of the conflict in Syria. In particular, we have the testimony of Brother Jacques, who works in the city of Qaryatayn, where "he dedicates all his time to accommodate refugee families who came to the monastery of Mar Elian looking for help and protection". The refugees who arrived in Mar Elian from the same town of Qaryatayn in recent months – says the letter - have been more than five thousand, with a Muslim majority: "They slept like scouts, everywhere, in church halls and even on roof tops in the cold weather. We thank the Lord that their escape was in spring and not during the winter season". The refugees hosted in Mar Elian by nearby villages are currently 450, with 97 children under 10 years of age. "In Qaryatayn" explain the monks and nuns of Deir Mar Musa "the situation is good at the moment, the city is quiet and almost stable, while the nearby villages are still suffering". To save the city from destruction were "the efforts of monk Jacques along with the Mufti of the city with some respectable people among the Muslims" who preserved it from the battle that was about to erupt in the area. "In fact a truce was ordered", explains the letter, "which produced a local solution between the two parties in conflict and ensured peace in the city as well as preparing the ground for a future deeper reconciliation".
The monks and nuns of Deir Mar Musa also expressed their anxiety about "the fate of our founder, Father Paolo. We have not had any news since his disappearance", the letter reads, "We do not know who to ask or who to turn to for any help. But we know we can rely on God, Merciful and Compassionate, and on the prayers of so many people of good will in the world, of different religions and nations for our beloved brother and teacher". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 09/12/2013)