Palestine Church Leaders – visit to Ireland Nov 2010

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Click on link to read about outcome of recent Synod on the Church in the Middle East

From 23rd November to 1st December, Sadaka (organised in partnership with Christian Aid and Trocaire) are hosting a week-long series of engagements with three eminent church leaders from Palestine.

The tour will include a courtesy visit with President Mary McAleese, a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin, a number of meetings with senior Irish church leaders, a reception with the Lord Mayor of Dublin, a presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, and a meeting with the First and Deputy First Ministers in the NI Assembly.

The Palestinian Church leaders are: Archbishop Theodosius Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Most Reverend Monsignor Manuel Musallam of the Roman Catholic Church, and Mr Constantine Dabbagh of the Middle East Council of Churches (see below for a short biography).

H.E. Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna

Archbishop of Sebastia for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Archbishop Hanna Archbishop Theodosius (Atallah) Hanna was born in 1965 in the village of Al Rameh, Galilee district, Israel. He was ordained in 1991 and since that time has held many prominent positions within the structures of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, including spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. He held the position of Secretary General of the Clerical Lay Joint Council of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem and was appointed Professor of Church History and Arab Civilisation at the Arab Teachers College in Haifa. He is the founder of the Orthodox Youth Movement in Jerusalem and the Holy Land and is an active member of the international ecumenical movement both at local and regional level. Alongside his work towards Christian unification, he is a representative at the Geneva-based World Council of Churches. Throughout the Holy Land he is regarded as one of its most prominent religious and spiritual leaders. On the 1st December 2005 he was unanimously elected by the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem as Archbishop of Sebastia (Nablus district).

Most Reverend Monsignor Manuel Musallam

Priest of the Latin (Roman Catholic) Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Monsignor Manuel Musallam Monsignor Manuel Musallam was born in British Mandate Palestine in the West Bank town of Birzeit in 1938. He entered the seminary of Beit Jalla, Bethlehem Governorate and became a priest in 1963. He served as a priest in Jordan, then in Jenin, and finally served as parish priest of the Holy Family Parish, Gaza until his retirement in May 2009. During his time in Gaza Monsignor Manuel became known as the “Priest of the Million” in recognition of his unfailing care and concern for both Christian and Muslim alike. He also served as Director of the two Latin Patriarchate Schools in Gaza which are run as co-educational facilities providing for both Muslim and Christian children. Monsignor Musallam is currently President of the Christian World Department at the International Relations Commission – FATEH and a member of the Islamic Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites and Director of its Birzeit Office.

Mr. Constantine Dabbagh

Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees in Gaza

Mr Constantine Dabbagh Constantine Dabbagh was born in British Mandate Palestine in the city of Jerusalem in 1938, and in 1947, fled as a refugee to the Gaza Strip. During his life he has worked for the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Gaza and for the United Nations in the Republic of Congo (now Zaire). Constantine currently directs the provision of health care, education and community services for the predominantly Muslim population of Gaza. These services focus on mothers and babies, vocational education and the provision of psycho-social health services to an increasingly traumatised population. His personal and professional commitment to justice, peace, security, mutual understanding and reconciliation has involved him in critical negotiations between political factions within Palestine and between the Palestinian Authority and the international community.