N Newspaper Articles from the MR

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  • The opening on August 15 of the 50-bed Holy Spirit Hospital in Prosforion under the care of the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family was a great occasion not only for the humanitarian care of the sick in the Monastic Republic, but also for the Maronite Catholic Church in the Monastic Republic and, in particular, for the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family. In attendance were our nine dimarchs and other leading citizens of our demes. His Serene Grace Nicephorus, with Mother Maryam Halabi and Andreas Antoniadis, the architect, together cut the ribbon officially opening the hospital. Admissions will begin immediately and any citizens in hospitals in the Hellenic Empire will be returned, if possible, to the Monastic Republic.
  • Great care and thought was put into the hospital's design and construction so as to ensure that they are of the highest order to provide modern, comfortable and compassionate care for the patients. Mr. Antoniadis, of the design firm Antoniadis and Gozanas in Athens, is to be commended. The hospital will have the following departments to provide for the total care of the patients: surgical floor, medical floor, pediatric floor, labor and delivery suite, operating suite, laboratory, x-ray, kitchen, central supply, physical therapy, medical records, emergency room, out-patient, pharmacy, and housekeeping. The hospital will employ over 100 employees.
  • This facility is just the latest in the charitable works that have been brought to fruition by the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family under the leadership of the Superior-General of the Sisters, Mother Anastasia Azzi, as well as of Mother Maryam Halabi. Sister Maryam is to be the administrator of the hospital, in charge of the day-to-day operations of the facility. She has also been named the superior of the community of sisters who will operate the hospital. The Monastic Republic warmly welcomes the twenty sisters who will be in charge of the various departments.
  • The sisters had many obstacles to overcome to get the hospital up and running, but in the end their perseverance and determination and, above all, their Christian faith saw them through. The sisters are deeply grateful for the efforts of Mr. Anwar Itani, a well-respected worker for charitable causes and a leading member of the Maronite Catholic community. His prominence in the opening ceremony proceedings, which was insisted upon by the sisters, was well deserved and recognised his hard work.
  • The ceremonial opening was followed by a luncheon for the invited guests in the hospital’s cafeteria.


  • Prosforion – September 9, 1985
  • Michael Trampakoulos, staff reporter
  • On Monday, August 6, 1984, Faiqa Maalouf opened a dance studio in a warehouse behind the Mt. Athos Performing Arts Center. Twenty dancers were signed up with the company, plus a staff of designers, seamstresses and musicians. In Maalouf Kira’s words, “I wanted to add to the cultural variety of the Monastic Republic and provide the citizens with another form of entertainment.” After a year of designing and rehearsing, the troupe was ready to perform in public. The end result was that the citizens of Prosforion were treated to an evening of stunning dance performances, Saturday evening, September 7, by Maalouf Kira’s Mt. Athos Dance Troupe. In an outstanding display of Terpsichore, the twelve female and eight male dancers demonstrated their knowledge of and their mastery of the Greek and the Levantine folk dance. The presentation lasted an hour and twenty minutes with one intermission. The first half of the program consisted of examples of Greek folk dancing and included, among others, a rousing rendition of a Thracian karsilimás, a properly sedate Peloponnesian kalamatianós, a beautifully rendered syrtós showing the difference between it and the kalamatianós, and a vibrant ballos from the Aegean Islands.
  • After the intermission the audience was treated to a series of Levantine dances starting with an elaborate dabke, the variations of which made the dance last 25 minutes. This was preceded by the obligatory mawwal beautifully sung by Omar Salloum. After a troupe rendition of a halay, individual dancers demonstrated their skill with the raqs sharki (misnamed “belly dance”) in the gymnastic Turkish style. The Holy Synod, however, will not permit dancing with the abdomen uncovered. The dancers were given a standing ovation at the conclusion of the performance. And a rousing round of applause was given to the ensemble who provided the music, which consisted of oud, mijwiz, durbakke, daff, zurna, and ney.
  • We are also in debt to Marta Salameh and her staff for the beautiful costumes. They should be accounted among the national treasures of the Monastic Republic. Indeed, the whole troupe should be declared a national treasure. Maalouf Kira has contributed significantly to the culture and life of the Monastic Republic. The troupe will be performing in the Performing Arts Center on the first and third Saturday of each month, with performances in Aktí on the second Saturday and in Ammouliani on the fourth Saturday. The troupe will also take part annually in the Constitution Day Independence Day festivities in the Prosforion plateia.


  • Prosforion, August 19, 1974
  • Rayan Samaha, staff reporter
  • Sofia Aoun, the daughter of John Aoun, owner of the Aoun Brewery, and his wife Abigail, left the Monastic Republic on Thursday, August 15, after celebrating the Divine Liturgy with the sisters at Holy Spirit Hospital. She is flying to Lebanon to enter the Sisters of the Holy Family. Sofia graduated from the gymnasio in 1968 and has worked at the hospital as a nurses’ aide since graduation. She will spend her two-year novitiate at the motherhouse in Betroun, then be sent for her nurse’s training. When she completes her training, she will return to the Hospital of the Holy Spirit and begin her vocation nursing the sick and injured of the Monastic Republic.


  • Aktí, October 17th, 1955
  • Zaina Harb, staff reporter
  • Last Wednesday, October 12th, seven Ukrainian Orthodox nuns disembarked at the port of Aktí, to be welcomed by His Serene Grace, Archimandrite Gabriel, and the Very Reverend Boris of St. Pantaleimon Monastery.
  • In Stanislav Chop’s attempt to russify Ukraine between 1950 and 1961, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church suffered a severe persecution. Early in the period, a convent of Ukrainian nuns fled the country. After passing from one country to another, they have at last reached a home in the Monastic Republic. At the request of Hegumen Boris of St. Pantaleimon, the Holy Synod agreed to permit the nuns to reside in the Monastic Republic.
  • For the past two years, the monks of the monastery have been building a convent in Aktí which will accommodate twenty nuns. Besides the nuns’ individual rooms, there are a chapel, a refectory, an office for the superior, a visitors’ room, a very large kitchen, and a studio where the nuns may create their works of art. Although the nuns will receive some income from their works of art, their steady source of income will be the baking of altar bread for the Republic’s six parishes.
  • The two prelates and other greeters accompanied the nuns to their new home, where the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in thanksgiving for the safe arrival of the nuns. Hegumen Boris blessed the convent and Archimandrite Gabriel received the nuns into the Autocephalous Monastic Orthodox Church of the Holy Mountain.
  • The monks of St. Pantaleimon’s Monastery were not the only ones who prepared the convent for the nuns. Many lay men and women of both the Catholic and the Orthodox parishes of Aktí contributed to the furnishings of the interior of the convent. The chapel was adorned by art work from St. Pantaleimon Monastery. A garden was planted in their enclosure and the pantries were filled with food. Monetary donations came in from the other four parishes so that the nuns would have some capital with which to being their life with us.
  • Knowing in advance that the nuns would be living with us, several ladies in the Monastic Republic have indicated their desire to enter the convent.
  • Through all their trials Mother Olena Gaponenko managed to keep her group together. The six nuns who arrived with her are Aneta Shumenko, Iryna Kuts, Mykhaila Tur, Nastasya Serbin, Oksana Bagry, and Vira Kozyar. We are, indeed, blessed to have these holy women now living with us.


  • Prosforion, August 10th, 2009
  • David Soukis, staff reporter
  • While walking the trail between the Monastery of St. George that Painter and the Monastery of St. Maroun, 26-year-old Stefan Siannis lost his footing and fell about 200 feet down a steep cliff before a clump of trees broke his fall Sunday afternoon. “Three of his lumbar vertebrae and his right tibia are broken, and he has a serious gash on the back of his neck,” the medic reported.
  • He is recovering in Holy Spirit Hospital after a fellow pilgrim ran to St. Maroun Monastery to summon help. A call was place to the Prosferion gendarmery and a rescue helicopter was flown to the scene.
  • “On a scale of one to ten, physically I feel like a four,” Siannis said later from his hospital bed, “but emotionally, though, I feel like a nine-and-a-half.”
  • Siannis was with two other pilgrims and, as he stepped back to get a better view of the Holy Mountain, he lost his footing and slid down the cliff face, tumbling head over heels as he fell, landing in a small collection of trees. He was stuck for about two hours until the helicopter arrived. His other companion stayed with him and kept shouting encouragement to him. According to the companion, “He had come to rest in a small stand of spruce but was laid out on a bed of rocks that was anything but level.
  • I could see that his face and hands were covered in dried blood, that both of his eyes were swollen shut, and that he was unable or unwilling to move his right leg.”
  • Sgt. Thomas Kouches of the Prosferion Medevac Unit was lowered from the hovering helicopter to Siannis. Once he had splinted the leg, the two were raised and then placed down on the trail. A stretcher was then lowered for Siannis and he was placed in the helicopter which then flew off to Prosferion.
  • From his hospital bed, Siannis thanked his companions for helping in his rescue. He was full of praise for the medevac team who so skillfully extricated him from the narrow canyon. As soon as his condition is stable, he will be transported to a hospital nearer his home in the Hellenic Empire. He has agreed to have a photograph taken of his injuries to be displayed as a caution to other pilgrims to walk with care along the mountain trails.
  • “I’ll be back in two years for another pilgrimage,” Siannis said, “but I’ll be more careful next time!”