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Taybeh announces OctoberFest details, Sept. 16 – 17
Stop by for a free Taybeh Beer Tour and Free Taybeh Winery Tour whenever visiting Taybeh, West Bank, Palestine. It’s a unique location and features the amazing Palestinian art exhibit at the Taybeh Golden Hotel
By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.
Returning one more time to Taybeh, Palestine, the only all-Christian village that exists in Palestine, has been a challenge.
But the most amazing thing of all was the great blessing to light candles on my first day at the fourth century ruins of Saint George Byzantine Church built the same time St. Helen asked for the churches in Jerusalem and Bethlehem to be built. It’s simply the local treasure.
I have the great blessing to walk on the same land our Lord Jesus walked when He came into this area right before His crucifixion which happens to be one of the most ancient places in Palestine as Biblical Ephraim with less than two thousand residents.
“Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim…” (John 11:54).
Actually, as a Greek-American, I have been in my husband’s village since the early 90’s. We returned to the Holy Land during promising times when Israel and Palestine wanted to make peace and leaders signed the Oslo Peace accords in front of the White House (1993).
Currently, this is a frozen peace, but as our new boutique wines from Taybeh made it to the United States, if you happen to be in Boston you can also purchase a Taybeh Beer, the First micro-brewed beer in the Middle East, and might notice the “sun” in the logo which is the symbol of hope and a promising future for Palestine according to my husband David Khoury.
I am simply hanging out by his side and nagging him not to do what he is doing; totally opposite that famous quote, “behind every great man there is a great woman.” Good thing, this guy did not switch me over since he lives in a land where other faiths take on five wives.
I had the great blessing this past May to participate in the Hellenic College Alumni activities and see classmates who we wish will become friends of Taybeh especially now that the Khoury family built the Taybeh Golden Hotel with eighty rooms. (www.taybehgoldenhotel.com)
Thus, I reflected upon how in 1979, a Greek-American from Denver but born in Tripoli, Greece, meets the only non-Greek boy on campus in Boston because it was a total shock for my traditional old fashion parents who wished and hoped I meet a nice Greek guy. And, the same goes for my husband; his family desired that he marry a nice girl from his village where his grandfather was the parish priest at St. George Greek Orthodox Church where the indigenous Palestinian Christians trace their roots to the Holy Apostles.
Anyway, not only did I miss out on marrying a nice Greek boy but it’s too bad I missed President’s Trump visit to Jerusalem this year. The fact that he spent 26 hours in Israel and only one hour in Palestine reflects the possibility of nothing changing on the ground for a while. It truly was a historic moment for the first president of the United States to visit the Holy-Life-Giving-Tomb of Christ at the Holy Sepulchre. I know he had a private tour by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III.
However, while I was in Boston, I never heard anything on the news about over 1500 Palestinian political prisoners on a hunger strike. I know they were carrying out this non-violent action for forty days with silence on mass media. Many friends during my past book tours promoting Christina Goes to the Holy Land, have always brought up the issue that we need a “Martin Luther King” in Palestine. But when we have one named Marwan Barghouti sitting in a dirty Israeli jail who initiated the freedom and dignity strike, no one knows about him. I am thinking there were over 1500 “Martin Luther King” who tried to survive on salt and water on their hunger strike but it’s more popular to label Palestinians as the bad guys always. Many of these prisoners got critically sick while Israeli practice constitutes a flagrant violation of the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law. We hope and we wish for an end to Israeli military occupation.
My husband’s village does exist here however even before the time of Christ and it sits on the highest mountain region of Biblical Judea and Samaria near Mount Asur. On a clear day from the highest hill in Taybeh you can see the magnificent Dead Sea, the Jordan valley, the mountains of Samaria, the mountainous desert of Judea and also Jerusalem. It is really amazing and spiritually rewarding to stare down at the same valley where Jesus once walked.
The village has five places of worship including the original St. George Greek Orthodox Church in ruins (built in the 4th century), the new St. George Greek Orthodox Church (rebuild in l929-1932), the Melkite Church (build in 1964 but Melkite worship was founded in the village in 1869), the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to “The Last Retreat of Jesus” (inaugurated 1971), a small monastery build by a monk and the Nasr Priestly House which includes a beautiful chapel reflecting fourteen generations of Fr. Constantine Nasr’s family serving the Church.
The Taybeh village has always been under the protection of our patron Saint George who is also the patron saint of Palestine. We have been blessed not to have seen the destruction and bombings that have happened in nearby Ramallah and Gaza. For two thousand years this tiny little village has had the blessing to maintain a Christian presence in the Holy Land and has survived many wars. I wish that President Trump had made more time to see this different face of Palestine where we try to make amazing Palestinian boutique wine and beer under very harsh conditions with no basic human rights.
Our non-violent action in Taybeh will continue with our unique way of inviting everyone out for a glass of Taybeh beer and promoting our historical and archaeological sites of ancient Ephraim under the umbrella of Taybeh Oktoberfest, September 16 & 17, 2017. Please come visit. Do not be afraid!
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Palestine Christian Writer, Blogger at St. George Greek Orthodox Church
Maria (Kouremenou) Khoury is the author of Orthodox Christian children's books including Christina Goes to the Holy Land, walking the footsteps of Christ. She is a graduate of Hellenic College (1982), Harvard University (1985) and Boston University (1992) with a doctor of education degree. Born in Tripoli, Greece, she was raised in Denver, Colorado. On Dec 31, 2009 she was included on the top 4 Human Rights Champions list by DC Human Rights Examiner including the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Hilary Clinton.
Maria is the author of Witness in the Holy Land (distributed by www.HolyCrossBookstore.com), a publication reflecting personal experiences living under military occupation with her husband the former Mayor of Taybeh, David Canaan Khoury and three children Elena, Canaan, and Constantine. Her articles have been published world-wide in numerous newspapers and magazines and have been translated to various languages bringing awareness of the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
Maria Khoury has been the Taybeh Oktoberfest organizer since 2005.She divides her time between her homes in Boston and Taybeh, travels throughout the world promoting the Christina Books and making presentations about the dwindling Christian community in Palestine.She encourages people to stay at the new Taybeh Golden Hotel and experience rural life in Palestine.
Latest posts by Maria Khoury (see all)
- Taybeh announces OctoberFest details, Sept. 16 – 17 - June 15, 2017
- A visit to Saint George Church in Burqin - April 23, 2017
- Receiving the Holy Fire in Taybeh - April 3, 2017