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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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Much of the beauty of the older forms was lost and the hymns did not really become classical. We have reason to hope that the present reform of the breviary will also give us back the old form of the hymns. But meanwhile it seems necessary to keep the later text. This is the one best known, it is given in all hymnbooks and is still the only authorized form. Only in one case have we printed the older text of a hymn, number 57, “Urbs Jerusalem.” The modern form of this begins: “Caelestis urbs Jerusalem.” But in this case the people who changed it in the seventeenth century did not even keep its metre; so the later version cannot be sung to the old, exceedingly beautiful tune.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1913)
Exploring Bkirke
published 8 July 2010 by Corpus Christi Watershed

One of the many perks of working in the Middle East was a special invitation to go to Bkirke, the seat of the Patriarch of the Maronite Church. There was a bishop’s conference and every Maronite bishop from the entire world was there (unless one or two were sick or something).

Bishop Gregory Mansour from New York invited me to go. Bishop Samir Nassar from Damascus got me special permission to film and take photographs of this historic event. Check out the photo shoot of all the bishops, with Bishop Gregory pointing out a few of the exotic locales the different men of the Church hailed from:

Bishop Nassar had studied audio-visual art before becoming a Bishop and was a friendly ally in getting me permission to be there. He told me: “avec la caméra il faut oser”: you have to be bold with the camera. “If you have a camera you have a power and a responsibility. Even the president of the United States will stop for you if you have a camera. You can’t be timid.”

Afterwards Bishop Samir said “let us go to a little place down the road.” One of them said “Walking?” Bishop Samir said, “No, I have a car.”

We went up the road to a place near “Chez Tony” and had drinks and snacks. We spoke Arabic, English and French. We spoke about the Massabki Brothers. Bishop Noujaim, the one in charge of their cause for canonization asked me: “So Eric, what news do you have of the film?” I said “I’m thinking we should move in the direction of a documentary. That way we can give them the important information direction without the constraints of a drama.” They all nodded their heads and said they liked the idea.

Here I am with the Bishops. Bishop Samir took the picture. He is actually a very good photographer and the problem with over-exposure is completely my fault as I had messed with the camera settings earlier that day for a special effect:

Here is the same place, before the sun went down:

Ahhhhhh. It’s a tough life but someone has to live it.