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The Ninth Fair of Old Books, Archives and Manuscripts

On Thursday May 30, 2013, Under the High Patronage and with the presence of His Beatitude Ignace Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) inaugurated its Ninth Fair of Old Books, Archives and Manuscripts, an exhibition entitled “Monastery of Charfet: Heritage and Treasures, 1786-2013”. The books, archives and manuscripts came from the collection of Charfet’s Patriarchal Monastery. This event was organized by the USEK Library, the Phoenix Center for Lebanese Studies and the Archeological Museum of USEK.

The launch of the exhibition was attended by The Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon, Mgr. Gabriel Caccia, the representative of the Maronite Patriarch, Bishop Paul Rouhana, the representative of Patriarch Mar Gregorios III Laham, Rev. Fr. Gaby Hachem, the representative of Patriarch Mar Youhana X El Yaziji, Bishop Ghattas Hazim, the Superior General of the Lebanese Maronite Order, Rev. Fr. Abbot, Tannous Nehme, the University Vice-President, Rev. Fr. Karam Rizk, in addition to religious, military, the media and academics.

Following the Lebanese National Anthem, Dr. Joelle El Turk introduced the Monastery of Charfet and gave the floor to the University Vice-President, Rev. Fr. Karam Rizk who declared that “The Syriac School of Antioch performed the first acculturation process in human history when it sought to understand the Hellenic thought, in which it explained salvation and contributed in drafting Creed… then they performed a second achievement in this field when they transferred the Greek sciences to the Arabs…” Then, Rev. Fr. Rizk addressed His Beatitude Ignace Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch saying: “Through your generous initiative, you are revealing the Syriac heritage and you honor those who dedicated their lives and set the benchmarks of the history of the Syriac literature…” He praised the Syriac heritage: “It is our spiritual and intellectual food, it is the temple of our rituals and prayers, and our path towards God and our beloved.”

Afterwards, His Beatitude Ignace Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch talked about the history of the Monastery of Charfet and indicated that “… it is the home and the shelter of numerous priests, scientists and researchers, and it has become like a restless beehive”. He added: “In the Monastery, there is a priceless treasure that includes manuscripts and archives. It is time now to show and enlighten the world with this treasure, which represents the heritage of the priests and ancestors, men of science and openness, who have preserved it for us and to which we have to be loyal by preserving the heritage and being proud of it…”

Then, Rev. Fr. Rizk presented His Beatitude Patriarch Younan with a book published by the University entitled Asi-l-Hadath, Lebanon: History of a Grotto, and, in return, Patriarch Younan presented the University a Syriac miniature copied from the Charfet Manuscript.

The Ninth Fair of Old Books included many musical and cultural events, ranging from selling old and rare books, to workshops on Syriac miniatures, pottery, ceramics and mosaics, along with book signing. Visitors were also given the opportunity to take pictures in Syriac popular costume.


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