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“We are calling out for peace”

Archdeacon Imad Zoorob
The Ven. Imad Zoorob serves in the only Anglican parish in Lebanon.

The Ven. Imad Zoorob brought greetings from Archbishop Hosam Naoum and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem to Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Jan. 7. Even though the unusually warm weather turned wintery during his visit, he thanked Bishop Shane and the people of the diocese for their warm welcome and for their prayers and support during this most difficult time in the Holy Land.

Archdeacon Zoorob serves in the only Anglican parish in Lebanon, All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beirut, which has two congregations, an international English-speaking community and an Arabic-speaking congregation, who are mostly Palestinian. The parish also includes St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center, located in a town on the edge of Beirut, which provides education, vocational training and care for about 50 special needs children with various cognitive disabilities at no cost to their families.

The archdeacon came to Canada to visit family after Christmas and graciously took time for a brief interview with Crosstalk after the service at the Cathedral.

While all of Lebanon is affected by the war in Israel and Gaza, Archdeacon Zoorob has felt its impact very directly because his home village of Alma el-Chaab is adjacent to the border where Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging rocket fire. Several houses in Alma have been destroyed and the archdeacon’s family’s home was damaged. Most of the residents have fled to Beirut.

The war weighs heavily on the diocese and especially on Archbishop Hosam Naoum, as he worries about how to meet the needs of the people not only in Gaza but in Lebanon. “We’re doing a lot to help the people there,” the archdeacon said, noting that the Diocese runs the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, which is still open even though it was hit by airstrikes in October.

“Our diocese is thankful for the help of Christians and all the people, all the dioceses around the world,” he said. “We are calling out for peace….Wars and bloodshed are not good for anyone. … We pray for every family that lost dear ones. We don’t want this to happen to anyone….As a church we cannot declare the love of God unless we apply this on a daily basis to everyone.”

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