Archbishop Elias Chacour
Archbishop Elias Chacour, a world-renowned priest, peacemaker, and author will speak
on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at Duncan Memorial United Methodist
Church. The event is free and open to the public; a freewill offering
will be received to support Mar Elias Educational Institutions (MEEI) in Ibillin,
in the Galilee region of the State of Israel. The church is located on the campus
of Randolph-Macon College at 201 Henry Street.
Elias Chacour was born in 1939 in the village of Biram in the Upper Galilee in Palestine,
to a Palestinian Christian family. At the age of eight, he experienced the tragedy
of his people when he was evicted, along with his whole village, in the Jewish War
of Independence. He became a refugee in his own country.
In 1965, he was ordained a Melkite Catholic priest and was assigned to a parish
in the small village of Ibillin in Galilee. While serving as priest and pastor,
he quickly saw the need for reconciliation and education in the face of poverty
and conflict. He founded a Kindergarten in 1970, followed by a library, community
center, elementary school, and high school. Three thousand students from age three
to eighteen now attend these highly rated schools, coming from a 50-mile radius
around Ibillin. The students and faculty include Muslims, Christians, Jews, and
Druze. More than 50% of the students are girls. They come to MEEI for a superior
education and to demonstrate the possibility of living together with mutual respect
in the midst of great diversity.
Archbishop Chacour was the first Israeli Arab to graduate from the Hebrew University
in Jerusalem, where he received a Master's Degree in Bible and Talmudic Studies
in 1968. In 1971, he earned a Ph.D. in Ecumenical Theology at the University of
Archbishop Chacour is the author of Blood Brothers and We Belong to the Land,
which tells stories of his life and ministry in Ibillin. He has received numerous
honorary degrees and awards, including the World Methodist Peace Award, the Marcel
Rudloff Peace and Tolerance Award at Strasbourg, and the Niwano Peace Prize, Tokyo-Japan.
In 2006, he was consecrated as Archbishop of the Melkite Catholic Church of Haifa,
Akko, Nazareth and all Galilee. As archbishop, he continues to pursue his passions
of caring for the oppressed and working for reconciliation among peoples, especially
the diverse and historically complex interests of the people of the Middle East.
This event is co-sponsored by the Randolph-Macon College Campus Ministries Council
and the Office of the Chaplain. For more information about Archbishop Chacour’s
visit to Ashland, contact the church office at (804) 798-7224 or