Syrian orphanage in Jerusalem … From Arab orphan shelter to settlement | Encyclopedia

The German Christian Orphanage was founded in Jerusalem to spread evangelical Christianity. It operated for 80 years between 1860 and 1940, providing academic and vocational training to hundreds of orphans and displaced Arab children.

Founder and origin

In 1854, German Lutheran missionary Ludwig Schneller came to… Jerusalem A year later, he, his wife and six other students from the German Protestant Mission bought a plot of land in the displaced village of Lifta and lived there, later settling within the walls of the old city before returning to his first home.

In 1860, Schneller traveled to… Beirut During the Lebanese civil war between the Druze and MaronitesSyriaHe returned to Jerusalem with 9 orphans, then 41 children joined the family, his house began to expand, he built a kitchen, dining room, storage room, bedrooms and living areas, and the family began to take in orphan girls.

According to some reports, the purpose of the foundation is to “spread the evangelical faith among the inhabitants of the Holy Land.”

Evangelicals believe only in the Bible as the source of Christianity, not the Pope or tradition, and they do not recognize the Pope's authority, the right to forgive, and some of the worship and rituals of the Catholic Church.

Syrian Orphanage, front garden, circa 1930 Photographer: Paul Hommel. State Church Archives, Picture Collection, No. N 1298 (
View of the back garden of the Syrian orphanage in the 1930s (Württemberg Church History website)

Also known as the “Schneller House”, the house was generously funded by the German and Swiss Protestant communities. In 1901, a German man donated 700,000 marks (the official currency of West Germany before German reunification in 1990) to build a house. A school for the blind within the Syrian orphanage, which can accommodate about 50 children.

The history of German missionaries can be traced back to Palestine As late as 1846 AD, monks Ferdinand Palmer and Konrad Schick were the first missionaries to reach Jerusalem, sending pilgrims to the Brotherhood of St. Chrisona, a German missionary order founded in 1840 AD by Christian Friedrich Spitler.

German evangelization enjoys a high reputation in this land Palestine Seeking to spread Christianity through crafts and commercial activities.

Home Facilities

The house had its own printing press and bindery, and produced its own textbooks and books for the blind BrailleGerman newspapers were also printed.

It included a flour mill and a bakery, producing 35,000 loaves of bread per year, in addition to a laundry and repair shop, a carpentry workshop, a pottery, a nursery and a brick and tile factory, producing one million bricks and 250,000 loaves of bread and tiles per year.

The school also has a water tank, gardens, playground, museum, chapel and reading room.

Books published by the press include Diwan Halim, Death or the Embrace of Eternity, The Samaritans and Khalil Beidas’s first Palestinian novel, The Heirs.

The main building of the Syrian orphanage Photographer: Paul Hommel. Stuttgart Regional Church Archives, Photo Collection, No. 1 N 2866 (
The main building of the Syrian orphanage in the 1930s (Württemberg Church History website)

Home Landmark

The multi-story building was designed by Palestinian workers Bethlehem Beit Jala is shaped like the letter “H” and is a blend of German and Arabic architectural styles.

The building is topped with a dome whose facade is inscribed with verses from the Book of Psalms, which read: “God is in his holy dwelling” and “For you have seen suffering and misery, pay with your own hands.”

The tower is also engraved with names in Arabic and German, and there are three bells and a lightning rod on the top of the tower.

Houses have a great impact on people the Middle East Through students from many countries across the region, they learned sewing, shoemaking, metal tools, pottery, carving, carpentry, painting and architectural decoration, printing, agriculture, and landscaping.

There are Palestinian and Syrian students in the Syrian orphanageEgypt andEthiopia And Armenia and TürkiyeRussia andIran and Germany, and received their education In Arabic The German language was taught by Arabic and German teachers, and by 1910 the number of graduates reached about 1,170 students of both sexes.

between the British and Israeli occupation

go through Second World WarAuthorities deported british mandate German teachers, the house was turned into a camp, housing, besides a grain warehouse, the largest stockpile of ammunition in the Middle East.

And in 1948 War The gangs took over Haganah Zionism They took control of the site – then known as Camp Schneller – and turned it into a base of operations. In 1951, the occupation forces summoned representatives of the Lutheran Church, removed artifacts from the church and turned it into a battlefield for the soldiers. Then, a synagogue was opened in one of the buildings, which remained under the control of the occupation authorities until 2008.

In 2009, a marble altar covered with a wooden box was unveiled there and, after consultation with the Lutheran Church, it was moved to the Lutheran Chapel at Augusta Victoria Hospital, north of Mount Olive, where it was dedicated in November 2010.

In 2011, the Occupied Land Administration approved the development of 218 apartments, the site was transformed into a residential area, and since 2012 the building has been used to educate religious settlers.OrthodoxA training facility for police personnel and a waste storage facility have been established.

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