6 October 2011
The Melkite Greek Catholic Warood School in Aleppo, Syria, enrolls 350 students from preschool through sixth grade. (photo: Spencer Osberg)
In the November 2009 issue of ONE Spencer Osberg reported on the diverse community of Christians living in Aleppo, Syria, one of the “oldest continuously inhabited centers in the world”:
The Greek Melkite Catholic Church offers a host of social services. Since his installation in 1995, Archbishop Jeanbart has worked tirelessly to expand existing programs and has spearheaded many new ones.
“I feel as a pastor I have to do my part to help our people to remain, to try and help the youth not to emigrate.”
The archbishop focuses much of his energy on the archeparchy’s numerous educational institutions. Under his watch, the archeparchy has opened six vocational schools that provide training in business, tourism, nursing and other skilled trades. The archbishop expressed hope the schools would enable a new generation of Syrian Christians to “find a good job and encourage them to remain in the country — to continue living in this country where we have been for 2,000 years.”
In addition, the archeparchy administers numerous and well-regarded elementary and secondary schools. Open to all Syrians regardless of creed, these schools are diverse and dynamic centers of learning and culture, often enrolling more non-Christian than Christian students. Depending on a family’s ability to pay, the church awards generous financial aid packages to qualifying students and in some cases waives school tuition and fees altogether.
For more about Aleppo see Aleppo: A Syrian Mosaic by Spencer Osberg. For more about the state of Syria’s Christians, check out last week’s blog post, Syria’s Christians: Are We Next?
Tags: Syria Middle East Christians Middle East Melkite Greek Catholic Church