Note: People have asked “Is it only in Arad?” No! An anti-Christ spirit seems to be roaming to and fo over the land. The Holy Spirit is also roaming to and fo! Looks like war over souls is hot and heavy in the heavans! Eddie
An excerpt from Haaretz.com (June 23, 2006)
…"A pogrom in the church," was the cry that echoed from the
small community whose spiritual life is centered on the Church of St. Nikolai.
What took place wasn't quite a pogrom, but it was the latest in a series of
attempts to damage a holy place. On Friday morning, when they arrived for
services, the congregants found the church windows broken, the icons
overturned, a cross uprooted from a priest's grave and the edge of the grave
ruined… And yet, the police, whose local headquarters are very close to the
church, insist the vandalism was just a prank by a bunch of 8- and 9-year-olds.
"We've gone back to the early days of Christianity," said Gridin
sadly. "Christians are being persecuted again."
… This is the congregation of Father Romanus, a 46-year-old Arab Orthodox priest from Haifa, who is just as fluent in Russian as he is in Arabic and Hebrew. He learned the language while studying at a Russian theological seminary in the U.S., and founded his community here.
for nothing did the patriarch appoint him to be the spiritual leader of the
non-Arab Orthodox (i.e., the Russians). And the community is very fond of him.
Even though they speak with him in Russian, they address him by the Arabic term
abuna (Our Father), which even in a Russian accent clearly expresses the
affection they feel for him. And the feeling is mutual.
“… I know I'm accused of missionary work and I was even questioned once
by the police about it. But we don't go where we're not wanted and we don't
distribute books. I only go where I'm invited, and that's to
”… When the church began operating a year and a half ago, a nun from the congregation used to sleep in the doorway, viewing this as a holy mission. One night, when she left the spot for a moment, someone set her mattress on fire and caused all her meager possessions to go up in flames. The acts of harassment have been unrelenting…”
…”It's possible to pray, but only in the dark. Though it began functioning a year and a half ago, the church has yet to be connected to the electricity grid, or to the water system. There's no plumbing, no bathrooms, no fence to protect it. Only the stones from the original fence are scattered around. The worshipers live in a state of constant apprehension; even the church bells which are supposed to ring loud and clear at the hour of worship are rung very softly.”
The method is familiar: Whenever the establishment wants to get rid of certain residents, it hangs them out to dry, so to speak, in the hope that they'll get the hint and leave of their own accord. Father Romanus and his congregation get the hint, but they have no intention of going anywhere. "We're not leaving," Father Romanus declares, adding: "It's not good for the State of Israel to put itself in the same patterns of behavior like those of the totalitarian regimes, like the Nazis, like the Soviets, like Iran."
'It strengthens us'
And Gridin laughs and says that if Rabbi David Grossman, the chief rabbi of Migdal Haemek, wants to produce archbishops here, he should just continue the way he's been going. "The Christian Church arose out of persecution," he warns, and makes the sign of the cross. "It only strengthens us. Just imagine the reaction if the city of Moscow wouldn't supply water and electricity to the big synagogue in the city and what the reaction would be if the police there didn't provide the synagogue with protection."
And just as he mentions Moscow, Father Romanus gets a call - officials from the Russian delegation in Jerusalem are calling on behalf of the patriarch of Moscow to find out just what happened. They promise that a letter of protest is already on the way…