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Chapter 2
Historic Syria, Christians, Muslims
and Mary
AMASCUS, WHERE POPE John Paul II went in May
2001, is home to Myrna Nazzour, an Eastern-rite Melkite
Catholic. She is a special messenger for Jesus and Our Lady
regarding Christian Unity. Her husband Nicolas is Orthodox. The mis-
sion given her by our Lady has had the interest in Damascus and beyond
of both Catholics and Orthodox.
Byzantine Syrians who remained in communion with Rome were
given the name Melkite Catholics. Christians of various persuasions—
Jacobites, Orthodox and Melkites—were subjected to various degrees of
harassment from the Arabs who took over in 638 and from the Ottoman
Turks who isolated the country and remained in control from 1516 to
the end of World War I.
The independence of the Syrian Arab Republic dates from April 17,
1946. Syria is proud of its ancient patrimony as a cradle of civilization
and of the world’s two great monotheistic religions.
Syria has a history of sometimes being the seat of an empire and
sometimes a part of an empire. A great Semitic empire centered in
northern Syria about 4,500 years ago and extended from the Red Sea to
what is now modern Turkey and east to Mesopotamia. At Jesus’ birth,
2,500 years later, “when Quirinus was governor of Syria,” the entire
Mediterranean world was under Rome.
In 636 Syria came under Muslim rule. The ancient city of Damas-
cus became the capital of the Omayyad Caliphate, the Muslim empire
that extended from Spain to India, 663 to 750. Syria and all the Near
East was part of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years before World War
I. After the war, until its independence, Syria was governed by France
with a mandate from the League of Nations.
Syria today is a rapidly developing country of nearly 17 million peo-
ple, most of whom are Muslim. About ten percent of the population is
Christian, including 309,000 members of various Catholic churches.
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Fifty percent of the total population of approximately 17 million are
below the age of 23. Syria is a secular state and yet the president must
be Muslim. The Christian churches have freedom to maintain their
institutions and practices for their people. In some ways, such as tax ex-
emptions, Christians are favored by the government.
Although eight earlier popes were Syrian-born, Pope John Paul II
was the first pope to visit Syria in modern times. Syrian and papal flags
were flying, and the President of Syria, Dr. Bashar Assad, the ministers
of his government and all the patriarchs and bishops of Syria were there
to welcome the Pope, May 5, 2001. The President laced his welcoming
remarks with references to Syria’s rich Christian and Muslim heritage.
An amazing event took place on the Pope’s first full day in Syria. He
went to greet the Muslim leaders of Syria in the Omayyad Great
Mosque, for 13 centuries considered one of the most important mosques
in Islam. Hundreds of robed and turbaned sheiks and scholars awaited
the Pope in the big porticoed courtyard outside the doors of the mosque.
The Pope first visited the memorial of St. John the Baptist. A Byzantine
church was built to enshrine the head of the Baptist, but it was rebuilt
and enlarged as a mosque in the eighth century. The Muslims honoring
what they believe is the tomb of the head of St. John the Baptist and the
Pope paying his respects at that tomb can motivate Christians to invoke
the intercession of St. John the Baptist for Christian Unity.
The Baptist so effectively preached a repentance to make ready for
the Lord’s first coming. Intercession from his place in heaven would
surely be concerned that all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord, God and
Savior be one in Jesus Christ. He would also be concerned that Muslims
who honor his remains in the Omayyad Great Mosque accept Jesus
Christ as Lord, God and Savior.
Pope John Paul II was the first pope ever to visit a mosque in the
history of Islam. Sheikh Ahmed Kaftaro of the great mosque welcomed
the Pope after he emerged from the mosque. Sheikh Kaftaro has long
been an advocate of Muslim-Christian dialogue and understanding. He
once was received by the Pope in Rome and now there was a reciproca-
tion for the Pope himself.
It was my privilege on September 17, 2001, in Damascus to have an
audience with His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I, Prince Patri-
arch of Antioch and all the world. He is described as “Supreme Head of
the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church.” Fr. Elias Zahlaoui, Melkite
Catholic priest, acquainted with the unusual happenings of Soufanieh
from the beginning, accompanied me to the audience with Patriarch
Ignatius Zakka I. Fr. Elias assured me in advance that this Patriarch was
a very holy man. I gained the same impression from my visit with him.
Fr. Elias Zahlaoui, born in Damascus in 1932, studied at the Greek-
Melkite Catholic seminary of Ste-Anne in Jerusalem. He was ordained
in July 1959, devoting himself to university youth while teaching at
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Damascus University. A parish priest of Our Lady of Damascus since
1977, he organized a choir named “Choeur-Joie” which has over 450
members belonging to all the Christian communities. He was a privi-
leged witness since the beginning of the Soufanieh events. He is an
author of several books. He is highly respected, well-known for his
search for truth, his integrity, his spirit of poverty and abnegation. He is
described as an apostle, illuminated and set ablaze by Jesus Crucified.
Myrna received a personal message in December, 1982 regarding
Fr. Elias Zahlaoui:
“My son Elias, I, myself, have lifted you up from the ailing bed, and
I made you leave your church to
come here and serve me. Carry on
your work of spreading the faith.
You are an apostle. You are good. I,
myself, am aware of your long
struggle since the holy month of
July. I know you struggle with
yourself and with all those who sur-
round you and especially with your
church and the other churches. You
are an apostle. You are good. The
unity which you are seeking will
I was able to interview His
Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius
Zakka I in his audience hall at his
Patriarchal See in Damascus.
Before I departed this Patriarch of
the Syrian Orthodox Church pre-
sented to me a book in English,
“The Quest for Unity”—An Apostolic
Journey of Goodwill
. It was written by Dr. Daniel Babu Paul and was
published by the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Damascus, Syria.
This book featured, in addition to much historical information in
English, many colorful pictures including the Patriarchal Delegation to
the Ecumenical Summit at the Vatican in June, 1984. The Summit at
the Vatican culminated in the Joint Declaration signed by their
Holinesses the Pope and the Patriarch of Antioch.
To quote Daniel Babu Paul in the preface: “According to this decla-
ration the Christological controversy which had led to the alienation of
the two Churches has been laid at rest for good. To enable the readers
to appreciate its significance I have devoted some space to introduce the
Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, to which I feel proud to belong, the
Christological controversy in the early centuries and the relatively recent
attempts at healing the breach. This is not meant to be a scholarly
Chapter 2 - Historic Syria, Christians, Muslims and Mary 29
Fr. Joseph Maloui, so important in the
Soufanieh events, is shown on his sick
bed not long before he died, March 5,
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dissertation on the subject; it is only a general background for the unini-
tiated. . . . I am grateful to His Holiness the Patriarch for kindly accord-
ing apostolic approval to this work. . . .”
Of the “Apostolic Journey of Goodwill” to the Vatican, Patriarch
Zakka wrote: “The challenge that the world has placed before the Chris-
tian Church can be faced only through beginning together which is the
vision of our Lord expressed in His ‘High Priestly Prayer’ seen in the 17th
Chapter of St. John’s Gospel. Our visit to His Holiness Pope John Paul II
and the consequent joint declaration is an important step in this direction.
Hence, we consider our trip to the Vatican as an historical event. . . .”
Dr. Daniel Babu Paul begins his book by quoting Fr. Bede Griffiths:
“The Syrian Church . . . is the remnant of a once great and glorious
Church, which extended its sway from Antioch on the shores of the
Mediterranean right across Asia to India and China. . . . Its importance
for Christendom as a whole remains very great, both because of the
beauty and antiquity of its prayers and its rites, and because it is the one
surviving link with the ancient Aramaic Church which was the Mother
Church of all Christendom.”
Then Dr. Paul continues:
“From the beginning of the Church the Patriarch was [existed]. The
Church did not have any elaborate organizational structure during the
apostolic times but it had its Patriarch in the person of St. Peter, the
Chief of the Apostles. There were also bishops, presbyters and deacons.
It was in the fourth century, after the conversion of Emperor Constan-
tine, that the Church built around itself an organizational frame.
“The Throne of Antioch was established by St. Peter in 37 A.D.
After his departure for Rome, where he courted martyrdom, he was
succeeded by two patriarchs, Mar Eudios and Mar Ignatius Noorono.
One looked after the Jewish converts and the other the Gentile con-
verts. After Mar Eudio passed away, Mar Ignatius Noorono became
patriarch for both Gentiles and Jews. From that time onwards the
Church came to be known as the Universal Syrian Church. The
expression “Universal” meant that it encompassed all Christians what-
ever their origin.
“The Syrian Orthodox Church was the original church established
in Jerusalem and grafted in Antioch by the Arameans and other Gentile
converts. Its liturgical heritage and theological and missionary record are
unique. It is rich in all the best traditions of the undivided Church of the
first five centuries. Antioch was the center of Christianity in Asia. It had
at one time presided over a flourishing church with 107 archbishoprics
extending as far as China. . . .”
“Fr. Bede Griffiths says:
“‘In the course of time the Syrian church with its liturgy in Syriac
spread all over the East from Syria to Mesopotamia and Persia and even
to China and India, . . . with all its wealth of liturgical, doctrinal and spir-
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itual life, the Syrian church possessed a spirit of missionary enterprise
which carried it right across Asia to China and India and made it at one
time the most widely extended church in Christendom.’
“The monasteries of the church were at one time famous both for
the number of monks and for their contribution to the life of the church.
It is recorded that in the fifth century the church had 600,000 monks.
There was a time when there were 90,000 monks in the 300 monaster-
ies in the mountains of Edessa, 12,000 in St. Matthew’s near Mosul and
6,300 in St. Basu’s near Homs.
“Among these monasteries perhaps the most significant was St.
Mark’s in Jerusalem. That is where our Lord had His Last Supper, the
house of John Mark; that is where the Holy Quorbono was established;
that is where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection; and
that is where His mother and disciples waited in prayer between
Ascension and Pentecost. Later on, that Upper Room was consecrated
as a church dedicated to the Mother of God. A Syriac inscription of the
sixth century discovered there in 1940 says: ‘This is the house of Mary,
mother of John also called Mark. The apostles consecrated it as a church
after the name of Mary, the God-bearer. It was rebuilt in 73 A.D. after
King Titus destroyed Jerusalem.’
“The Syrian church produced many scholars. Bardaisan, Mar
Aprem, Mar Balai, Mar Yacoub of Srug, Bar Ebraya and Bar Saleebe are
but a few of them. It is interesting to note that some of the thoughts
shaped in the West in the later centuries had already been anticipated in
their writings. ‘Man is a small world,’ said Harder. This concept of man
being an epitome of the world was discussed by Mar Ahodemeh, Catho-
licos of the East, in the sixth century. Some of Galileo’s theories of astron-
omy were treated in the book ‘The Cause of all Causes’ in the tenth cen-
tury. Even Nietzsche’s theory of the superman was discussed in that book.
“The later historical experience of the Syrian Church has been sim-
ilar to that of its Master, of repeated crucifixions and resurrections. The
Patriarchate had to be shifted from place to place because of persecution.
The survival of the church to this day is indeed a miracle, a work of God.
“The Biblical heritage of this church is significant, too. In 404, one
Daniel translated the Bible into Armenian. In the seventh century the
Syrian fathers translated the Bible into Arabic under orders of Patriarch
John II, in response to a request by the Prince of Jessera, Abi Waqqos El
Ansari. In 1221, John Joseph, a Syrian priest from Taflis, translated it
into Persian and in this century Corepiscopo Mathen Konat, the
Malankara Malpan then, translated into Malyalm. . . .
“The Syrian Orthodox Church is spread over all the continents of
the world—except, of course, Antarctica. The total number is small, only
around five million. Of this about two million are in India, where we
have nearly 1300 churches. . . . There are 13 Metropolitans in India
besides the Catholicos; there are also Metropolitans in West Asia,
Chapter 2 - Historic Syria, Christians, Muslims and Mary 31
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Europe and North and South Americas; one is to be shortly appointed
to Africa. . . .
“It is well-known that Christological differences between Rome and
the East led to the end of what one may call the Nicean era when the
Patriarchal thrones and the churches under them were in full commun-
ion. The council of Chalcedon is generally recognized as the watershed
marking this distinction. . . .”
It is not the purpose of the book on Our Lady of Soufanieh to give
a detailed or precise study of the problems which developed centuries
ago. It was encouraging to read in the book, The Quest For Unity, pre-
sented me by the Patriarch of Antioch, “It is now widely accepted that
the difference was one of emphasis. . . . The theological formulations
were not unaffected by the political situation in the Empire.”
It has always been a mystery to me and many how in the seventh
century Mohammedanism could have such a fast conquest among areas
of the once-Christian East, which was in communion with the See of
Peter in Rome. In making my study on Our Lady of Soufanieh in
Damascus and heaven’s call for Christian Unity, I could not help but
wonder if the controversies among Christians of earlier centuries had
contributed not only to divisions among Christians, but to the wide-
spread of Islamism among Muslims today.
My suspicion, not based on any study in depth, was strengthened
when I read in Daniel Babu Paul’s book, The Quest for Unity: “The
judgement of the efflux of time on this controversy is best summarized
in the following words of Walker: ‘The effect of the Christological con-
troversies was disastrous to church and state. By the close of the sixth
century the Rome state church of the East had been rent, and separated
churches, Nestorian and Monophysite, had been torn from it. Egypt and
Syria were profoundly disaffected toward the government and religion
of Constantinople—a fact that largely accounts for the rapid conquest of
those lands by Mohammedanism in the seventh century.”
Now in the 21st century as dialogue intensifies between the Church
and Muslims, Mary is being seen more and more as a link. The Virgin
Mary occupies an important position in the Koran on the historical and
dogmatic plane. In addition to being the object of as many as 34 direct
or indirect references, Mary also gives Sura XIX its name and is its cen-
tral figure as the Mother of Jesus.
In its edition of April 13, 1978, L’Osservatore Romano (weekly news-
paper of the Holy See) carried an article by Giancarlo Finazzo on “The
Virgin Mary in the Koran.” He wrote as follows:
“The characteristic note of references to the Virgin in the Koran
and, to an even greater extent, in Islamic tradition, can be seen both in
the information about her genealogy and her childhood—a part of
which is more detailed than in the four Gospels—and in the language
and way of narration which are seen to be particularly significant.
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Without going deeply into the question of the validity of the informa-
tion and of the vast Islamic exegesis or “Mariology” to which it has given
rise, we will limit ourself here to recalling that the sources of Moslem
tradition are, in this connection, The Arab Gospel of Childhood, the
Protogospel of James, the Gospel of Pseudo Matthew, the traditions of
Judaizing Christians and the Hadith.
“To confirm the extraordinary value of the person of Mary, the fact
that to her, alone among creatures, and to her Son, is attributed a nature
exempt from all sin, is sufficient. We know that the Islamic religion
ignores the concept of original sin, it attributes to man, however, a nat-
ural defectiveness which makes him impure and imperfect from birth.
Nevertheless, in a famous Hadith attributed to the Prophet, it is
affirmed: ‘every child is touched by the devil as soon as he is born and
this contact makes him cry. Excepted are Mary and her Son’. From this
Hadith and from verses 35-37 of Sura III, Moslem commentators have
deduced and affirmed the principle of Mary’s original purity. God,
according to the Koranic text, granted the wish of Anna who consecrat-
ed to him Mary, about to be born, and the One to whom she would give
birth (III,37). God predestined Mary and purified her, raising her above
all women (III,45).
“After this premise it is not surprising that the dogma of the Im-
maculate Conception, though only implicitly contained in verses III, 31,
37, is unequivocally recognized by the Islamic religion. The recognition
arises without difficulty also from the repeated and always unanimous
evaluation of the extraordinary person of Mary and of her pure life (III,
42; XXI 91; LXVI 12) which set her, with her Son, above every other
created being.
“Mary’s childhood, as seen through the Koran narration and
Islamic tradition, is entirely a miracle. Mary grows under direct divine
protection, she is nourished daily by an angel (III, 32) and has visions
of God every day. Everything contributes to making her and her Son a
signum for mankind (V, 79, XXI, 91, XXIII, 50). But if the detailed nar-
ration of Mary’s childhood confirms the exceptional value of her per-
son, it is necessary to stress that the greatness of Mary is completely
related to the extraordinary event constituted by the birth of her Son
Jesus. The fearful and sweet vicissitudes that precede and accompany
the birth and the childhood of her whom God chose above all women,
are, in fact, nothing but the prelude to the coming of the Messiah
(III,40). Therefore, in the intentions of Mahomet and the whole
Islamic tradition, the advent of the Man generated by the Word (III,
45) finds in the history of the little Mary the mysterious preceding fact
that prepares the believer, even more than the Gospels themselves do,
for an expectation full of awe and hope.
“This atmosphere, so charged with expectation and wonder, certain-
ly does not disappear at the moment of the annunciation—a moment
Chapter 2 - Historic Syria, Christians, Muslims and Mary 33
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that for Mary is the highest and most mysterious one in her earthly life,
and that reveals to her at last the significance of her function in the his-
tory of men. The Koran does not indicate the place in which this mys-
tery was carried out (XIX, 16). It asserts, on the contrary (III, 42 FF; XX,
17), that God sent his Spirit under the semblance of a handsome young
man who, similarly to what is narrated in the Gospel of Pseudo Matthew,
was the Archangel Gabriel, often identified in ancient time with the
Spirit of truth or at times divine Spirit (ruh ul-amin and ruh Allah, XVI,
102, XIX, 17, XXVI, 193). It should be pointed out that in the Koran
version Mary does not utter the fiat which expresses her responsible
acceptance of the divine will. Here she merely asks, “How can I give birth
to a son if no man has touched me?”; receiving the answer: “Just so! God
creates what he wants: when he decides something, it is enough that he
should say, let it be! and it is” (III, 147, XIX, 203). A version that con-
firms the typically Islamic sense of the absolute authority and power of
God, and the complete submission of man to his will. . . .
“The Koran gives no details about the birth of Jesus. It at once pres-
ents Mary who, returning among her people and showing them the
Child, becomes the object of terrible slanders. The episode, brief but
dramatic, is suddenly solved when the Infant, speaking unexpectedly
from the cradle, takes his Mother’s defense and exonerates her from all
blame (XIX, 30-33). This miracle, to which the Koran refers more than
once (e.g., III, 46; V, 113), is among those that have made the most
impression on the imagination of Moslem believers and that are still
alive in their conscience. The episode, however, has also a kerygmatic
importance for Islamic theology, since the fact that the Child speaks
from the cradle is a violation of natural laws and therefore bears witness
to the greatness of the Spirit that is in him. . . .
“Those who do not know the Islamic religion may be surprised to
learn that Mahomet defended Mary’s virginity, or that he recognized her
as the woman chosen by God for a function that was to be unique in his-
tory. Mahomet’s commitment to defend her and exalt her, also explains
his harsh condemnation of the Jews (e.g., IV, 156), guilty of persisting in
the slander and in refusing to admit Mary’s unique role. It is necessary to
clarify, however, that, also for Mahomet, Mary is unimaginable if disso-
ciated from her Son: the divine election and the purity of the Mother are
directly proportioned to the qualities of the Son, the moment of their
interdependence is greatly felt, therefore, since the historical greatness of
Mary is conditioned by that of her Son, and the Son in his turn depends
on his Mother, who constitutes the indispensable promise for his pres-
ence on earth. In the Koran Christ is called repeatedly Issa ibn Maryam
“Jesus son of Mary” (V, 19, 75, 81, 113, XIX, 34)—a name which if it will
become perhaps the best known one in the Islamic world, will also be the
one that characterizes most the figure of Christ. This correlation, which
has led Moslem religious thought to affirm the indissolubility of the dual
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concept Mary-Jesus and to base its refutation of Christian doctrine on it,
seems to have its foundation in the principle of necessity. The negation
of Christ’s divinity finds its reason, in fact, precisely in Mary’s human
nature, that is, in the genetic relationship which, entailing the transmis-
sion of properties, would exclude a leap of quality from Mother to Son.
“This conception, in which there is also inherent the idea of the pri-
macy of the female line over the male line (in the Koran narration of
Mary’s life, while the person of Zacharias, the Virgin’s uncle and
guardian, is thwarted by the constant presence of the Angel of the Lord;
that of Joseph is completely ignored), is due, in our opinion, more than
to the influence of the apocrypha, to an ancient way of feeling that is
characteristic of the Semites of Arabia. It is a way of feeling which is also
alive in Mahomet and which leads to mental operations of the analogi-
cal type, to a thought geared less to speculation than to the pursuit of
parallelisms, to the concordance of diverse but congruent elements, and
therefore to the vision of a firm reality, because it is founded on perfect
and therefore immutable relationships, which seem to exclude the pos-
sibility of gradual evolution.
“What Mahomet and his commentators failed to grasp intellectual-
ly is the concept that the presence of God can come about in different
ways, realizing itself as a circumstantial and determined presence, with-
out causing for this reason any alternation in God himself. This pres-
ence, furthermore, may have the character of a gradual and growing
manifestation, and may mark a new temporal effect at the very moment
in which God sets up a new relationship with his creatures. That Islamic
theology should find it so difficult to grasp this concept seems almost
incomprehensible when it is remembered that Mahomet himself, in
addition to affirming with unusual forcefulness the omnipotence of
God, also perceived a certain development of God’s manifestation of
himself through his ‘messengers,’ and recognized Moses, and particular-
ly Jesus and himself, as having a role which, though not well defined the-
oretically, seems superior to that of the other prophets.
“In this case, too, mention should be made, for the sake of equity, of
the doctrinal difficulties connected with the Arab social and religious
environment in the sixth and seventh centuries, which Mahomet had to
cope with and by which he was conditioned in no small degree. Also the
historical figure of Mary raised problems for him. At the end of the cen-
tury, in fact, precisely some Christians of Arabia had introduced the
Marian cult which, in the time of Mahomet, had already degenerated
into worship of the Virgin as the third person of the Holy Trinity. The
inevitable disapproval and condemnation by the prophet of Islam thus
involved the historical person of Mary in new polemics.” (Taken from
L’Osservatore Romano, April 13, 1978, page 4.)
We chose to give considerable space above to “the Virgin Mary in
the Koran,” the position of Muslims and their link to Mary, the Mother
Chapter 2 - Historic Syria, Christians, Muslims and Mary 35
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of Jesus, with good reason. The happenings at Soufanieh for Christian
Unity originate in a country largely Muslim. Muslims come to the Naz-
zour House of the Virgin in Damascus. We see the call of heaven,
renewed strongly in our times for Christian Unity, to involve also, a call
to Muslims through Mary, to embrace the divinely revealed religion of
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world in terms of
numbers. We are grateful they believe in one God and venerate Mary,
the Mother of Jesus. The miracles and messages of Soufanieh are for the
Muslims too.
Fox. Light from the East—Miracles of Our Lady of Soufanieh
Icon placed into bricks at the street entrance of the Nazzour home (18 Soufanieh
Street, Damascus). The Virgin asked the Nazzours to open their door to all. People
stop on the street to pray before it.
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Chapter 3
Signs of the Finger of God Here
OW KNOWN AS Myrna, her name before marriage
was Mary Kourbet Al-Akhras. She was born in 1964 of
a Greek-Orthodox Mother and a Greek-Catholic father.
Her childhood was considered normal without any serious sickness or
accident. She studied in both Catholic and Orthodox Christian schools
as well as in government schools. She was an average student. She dis-
continued school before receiving the unified Syrian baccalaureate
diploma. Myrna is by nature of jovial character. Her close friends in
Damascus told me that at the time when the supernatural occurrences
take place, “she is not the Myrna we know.”
Before the supernatural interventions which began in 1982, Myrna’s
knowledge of religion was very basic, nothing advanced. When she was
only 18-years-old she married Nicolas Nazzour, a Greek-Orthodox
man, in mid-May, 1982. Myrna’s parents were opposed to the marriage
because of the age difference. They gave in, seeing their daughter’s deter-
mination since she felt a “real admiration” for Nicolas. Nicolas, who had
not been considering marriage previously, liked Myrna immediately
upon meeting her.
The marriage took place in the Nazzour home. It was reported that
Nicolas did not want a Church wedding, implying his lack of religious
fervor. Nicolas had a relative that died not long before the wedding was
to take place and thus his request that the marriage take place in the
home, rather than a festive wedding at church. The marriage of Nicolas
and Myrna was followed by a honeymoon to Rome.
Since the message of Soufanieh includes the call for families to be
domestic churches, it may well be divine providence that it developed
that this family begins with the Sacrament of Matrimony being admin-
istered in their home.
Myrna told me that when she announced to her family that she was
going to marry Nicolas who was 20 years older than she, her brother
became angry, and hit her. About 20 years later when she related this to
me, she laughed about it.