Thursday, August 18, 2016

ANOTHER SYRIAN JESUIT MARTYR


Why do I present these martyrs from far off places?  To show the goodness and mercy of our fellow humans, who seek for peace for us all, and who die for the effort.  As long as fanatics roam amidst us, there will be martyrs for the cause of justice, freedom and peace. Bishop Barron recently said that we have had more martyrs for the faith in the last century than in all the centuries since Christ combined! Staggering!

FATHER PAOLO DALL’OGLIO  another Jesuit martyred in the Middle East was an Italian  born in 1954. He was exiled from Syria by the government of Bashar al-Assad in 2012 for meeting with members of the opposition and criticizing the actions of the al-Assad regime during the Syrian civil war. He was kidnapped by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on 29 July 2013.
In 1984, Father Dall'Oglio was ordained priest in the Syriac Catholic rite. In the same year, he obtained a degree in Arabic language and Islamic studies from Naples Eastern University "L'Orientale" and in Catholic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1989, he obtained a PhD degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the topic "About Hope in Islam".
In 1992, he established the mixed monastic and ecumenical Community al-Khalil ("the Friend of God" - Biblical and Qu'ranic byname of the patriarch Abraham in Arabic language), dedicated to Muslim-Christian dialogue and located in the refurbished Deir Mar Musa.
In 2009, Father Dall'Oglio obtained the double honorary doctorate of the Universit√© catholique de Louvain and the KU Leuven.  He contributed regularly to the magazine "Popoli", the international magazine of the Italian Jesuits, established in 1915.

In 2011, Father Paolo Dall'Oglio wrote an article pleading for a peaceful democratic transition in Syria, based on what he called "consensual democracy". He also met with opposition activists and participated in the funeral service for the 28-year-old Christian filmmaker Bassel Shehadeh, who had been murdered in Homs.
The Syrian government reacted sharply and issued an expulsion order. Paolo Dall'Oglio ignored the order for a couple of months and continued living in Syria. However, following the publication of an open letter to UN special envoy Kofi Annan in May 2012, he obeyed his bishop who urged him to leave the country. He left Syria on 12 June 2012 and joined in exile the newly established Deir Maryam al-Adhra of his community in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.
In December 2012, Paolo Dall'Oglio was awarded the Peace Prize of the Italian region of Lombardy that is dedicated to persons having done extraordinary work in the field of peace building.

In late July 2013 Paolo Dall'Oglio entered rebel held territory in eastern Syria but was soon kidnapped by the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, while walking in Raqqa on 29 July.[ Opposition sources from Raqqa said that Paolo Dall'Oglio has been executed by the extremist group and his body thrown into a ground hole in the city of Ar-Raqqa, called “Al-Houta”. Dead Assad loyalist soldiers would have often been thrown into the same hole. The claims are not yet confirmed.

Before his kidnapping, he had served for three decades at the Deir Mar Musa, a 6th-century monastery 50 miles north of Damascus. He has been credited with the reconstruction of the Mar Musa complex and its reinvention as a center of interfaith dialogue. 


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