Father Elias Chacour
- A Living Stone of Israel
by Bobby Morris
Were one to chose two words to
describe Father Elias Chacour, those would have to be that he is a man of faith
Many people in Elias Chacour’s
position would have lashed out in rage and spent the rest of their lives
plotting revenge on Israel. However, although distraught over the loss of his
home, this would not be the course Chacour’s life would take.
Elias Chacour became a priest
in the Melkite Catholic Church, which dates back to the Byzantine period and
Constantine. Father Chacour is a man of faith, of the Christian faith. He is
also a Palestinian. It is often assumed that all Palestinians are Arabs and
are Muslims. However, this is a very incorrect assumption. There are actually
between twelve and fourteen million Arab Christians in the world, and many of
them live in Palestine, and are thus often called Palestinians.
Father Elias Chacour is also a
man of action. The "Arab-Israeli Conflict" as it is often called
runs so deep and is so complicated that most people sit idly by, concluding
that there is nothing one person could do to help. But not Father Chacour.
"Peace needs no contemplators, it needs actors, people who are willing
to get their hands dirty, to get up and do something. The same is true for
justice." True to his words, Father Chacour has done something.
Israel has a public education
system which Palestinians have access to. However, many Palestinian children
seem to get left out of this opportunity for many reasons. Some are unable to
pay for the necessary supplies and materials for school. Others live in what
have become remote Palestinian villages and have no way to get to and from
schools. This is where Father Chacour felt he was called to make a
The establishment of this
school was not without challenge and frustration. As the high school grew,
Father Chacour wanted to build a gymnasium for the young people to be able to
Father Elias Chacour wants
everyone to know that there are many Palestinians in Israel who do not desire
war, but peace. It is not Father Chacour’s desire to make anyone become
one-sided and hate Jews. Palestinians want to be able to live in a land that they
have called home for hundreds of years without oppression and discrimination.
"The world does not need any more enemies, but common friends. It is
much more difficult to move toward peace than to go to war." There are
those on both sides of the Atlantic that do not agree with Father Chacour.
However, as he has demonstrated, it only takes one person to make a
difference. As fellow Christians with Father Chacour, we all have a
responsibility to work for peace and justice in the world and to stand up for
justice where there is injustice.
To find out more about Father
Elias Chacour and what you can do to help, visit his school’s website at http://www.m-e-c.org/english/.
Also worthy of consideration
are two of Father Chacour's books: