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"Father Antoine Daniel was a man of great courage and endurance, whose gentle kindness was conspicuous among his great virtues. […] Verily, he burned with a zeal for God more intense than any flame that consumed his body." — Fr. Paul Ragueneau
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"Upon the road, René was always occupied with God. His words and the discourses he held were all expressive of submission to the commands of Divine Providence, and showed a willing acceptance of the death which God was sending him. He gave himself to God as a sacrifice, to be reduced to ashes by the fires of the Iroquois, which that good Father's hand would kindle. He sought the means to bless Him in all things and everywhere. Covered with wounds as he himself was, Goupil dressed the wounds of other persons, of the enemies who had received some blows in the fight as well as those of the prisoners. He opened the vein for a sick Iroquois. And he did it all with as much charity as if he had done it to persons who were his best friends."
— St. Isaac Jogues (writing in 1643)
About the “Fire in Damascus” project
published 28 July 2010 by Corpus Christi Watershed

For those of you who are wondering what this is all about, allow me to introduce and explain the project. I have been working with Corpus Christi Watershed to produce a film about the three Massabki Brothers and the Emir Abd El-Kader.

The Massabki Brothers were three Maronite brothers who were devout Catholics and who gave their lives for their faith during the 1860 massacre of Christians in Damascus. Looters and rioters offered them the choice of renouncing Christ or of being brutally murdered, and they chose the latter. Their story is interesting because they were extremely materially wealthy, because they were laymen and because they died in a monastery with Franciscan brothers, speaking to the interconnectedness of the Church of the East and that of the West.

The other side of the story is that of the Emir Abd El-Kader. He was an Algerian Muslim who saved about 10,000 Christians from the 1860 massacre. He is only one of the many people who stepped in to try to prevent the killings and his story is extremely important in the contemporary dialogue about Islam. The truth is that the massacre itself was not caused by religion but rather by political and economic factors. As in the case of most if not all wars, people on both sides commit horrible atrocities. Abd El-Kader was a righteous religious man and a testament to what good people do in difficult situations.

CLICK HERE to learn about Watershed’s ongoing video projects in Lebanon. CLICK HERE to read more of Eric’s blogs.

CLICK HERE to enlarge this video