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The Damascus Partnership with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis/ Icon of Hope


Damascus icon The Conversion of St. Paul

Our Partnership with the Maronite Archeparchy of Damascus

In Fall 2016, U.S. Bishops expressed profound concern for the increasingly difficult situation of Christians living in the Middle East. Civil and religious strife in the homelands of our Christian faith led to human suffering on a vast scale. As an unprecedented humanitarian disaster unfolded, Archbish- op Hebda and others determined that our brothers and sisters in the Middle East would not face it alone. A conversation was initiated through the Archdiocese’s Center for Mission to identify a partner diocese in the Middle East open to accompanying us in a journey of faith through the challenges of our times. Our conversations led us on the road to Damascus.
On January 25th, 2017, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (the patronal feast day of the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis) we formalized our partnership with the Maronite Archeparchy of Damascus. Our Archdiocese Church named for St. Paul, is returning to the Church in Damascus – the faith community that received and baptized St. Paul and sent him forth as Apostle to the Gentiles.
The Damascus Partnership offers a unique opportunity to be received, converted and sent forth, like St. Paul, as witnesses of Good News in our own day. Through a relationship of mutuality and solidarity, we are called to learn from one another; to be inspired and consoled by one another; and to encounter in our midst the presence of Christ.

The partnership’s steering committee includes leaders from parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis including the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul and St. Maron Maronite Catholic Church in Minneapolis, as well as the vocation director for the Maryknoll Missionaries and Center for Mission staff and their iconographer, Debra Korluka.

Brochure: Icon of Hope Damascus Icon brochure

This article in the Catholic Spirit highlights the churches and institutions that the icon will visit prior to it’s final destination at the Saint Paul Cathedral for the blessing in the presence of ArchBishop Nassar from Damascus, Syria on January 23rd,2022.

A presentation at The Basilica of Saint Mary as a feature of the Annual Icon Festival( https://www.mary.org/who-we-are/art/icon-festival#.YWMAmhDMJQM)will take place Sunday November 14th at 1:00 pm.


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