December 12, 2021

Orthodox School in Bethany - the place where Christ met Mary

The girls' school in Bethany is just outside the wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. The women's school in Bethany was mentioned in the Bible. In those ancient times, she was here too. It appeared in the thirties of the last century. Today it is the only Orthodox school located in the Holy Land.





The school was not always present here. She also knew the hard times when the enemies of the Christians destroyed all the buildings and the school had to be closed. For decades there have been desolations. During the First World War, this area was occupied by Turkish soldiers, who turned everything upside down there. The walls were shattered, doors and windows torn apart.


But by the Will of God, it happened that two Scottish women, Barbara Stella-Robinson and Alex Sprot, came to the Holy Land. In the Orthodox world, these are nuns, Mary and Martha.


Initially, they planned to go to India to educate the people there and introduce them to the Christian faith. However, before leaving, they wanted to visit the Holy Land to visit the tomb of Lazarus. It was so pleasing to God that after their arrival they no longer wanted to go anywhere.


Maria and Martha grew up in prosperous families. They had wealth and a desire to spend finances on good deeds. Initially, a local hospital was opened, where children were treated. Since they had a medical education and relevant experience, they were able to help the sick. A girls' school was also opened in 1937. 


This institution was famous for its worthy education. Girls here are taught in depth such languages ​​as Russian, English and Arabic. In addition, they teach exact sciences at a very decent level, teach needlework, and preach the Word of God. Marfa has been a school principal and mathematics teacher for over 10 years.


Unfortunately, not everything is so smooth in the service to one's neighbor in Bethany. The school has been having a hard time lately. As Martha herself says, there has been a lot of pressure from Muslims lately. The institution does not depend financially on the local Ministry of Education, and they clearly keep their position, but it is very difficult for them.


These children do not convert to Orthodoxy and remain devoted to their faith by studying the Koran in school. Now there are about four hundred girls studying here, of which Christians are in the minority. For Muslim women, education is paid here, but parents willingly bring girls here, because this institution has a very good reputation.


At the school, there is also a boarding school where children of the Christian faith are taken. These are girls from dysfunctional families who are provided with full support here.


Many events in the life of the Savior are connected with ancient Bethany. The only occasion when the Son of God wept was when His friend Lazarus passed away: “Our friend has fallen asleep, but I will wake him up” (John 11:11). But the Lord knew that he did not sleep. Jesus calls death sleeping and resurrection awakening. By this example, the Savior shows us that after death there is always the Resurrection, which is a prototype of the afterlife, given to all who believe in the Lord.


Having visited Bethany in those days, the Jews were convinced of the miracle that happened, and Lazarus was resurrected. Seeing this with their own eyes, they became Christians.


After the Son of God was crucified on the cross, many persecutions of Christians began. Then Lazarus and two other Christians were put into a boat and put into the sea. With the help of the Almighty, the boat sailed to the island of Cyprus, where St. Lazarus served the Lord. His relics are now kept there.


In the Holy Land, St. Lazarus is revered not only by Christians, but also by Muslims. In Bethany, his tomb is located deep underground, where there is a rectangular stone that resembles a slab - another Bethany shrine.



The stone was discovered in the process of carrying out construction manipulations in the Russian Compound. It has an inscription in ancient Greek: "Here Martha and Mary first heard from God the word about the resurrection from the dead."


The Orthodox immediately realized that here in ancient times the meeting place with Mary and Martha was revered. They erected a small chapel here. On Lazarus Saturday, divine services with sacred water and the procession are held at this place.


Also on the territory of the school there is a cave where a small place was once built by the nuns for prayer, which later turned into a temple.


Peculiarities of studying at school and orphanage  


The school employs local teachers who know Arabic well. A contract is drawn up with each teacher, which clearly states that the person will work in a Christian school.


The school is run by three sisters, one of whom is the director, and the rest work in the boarding school. They are engaged in both pedagogical and organizational and economic activities.


Much attention is paid to the moral and spiritual education of children. In the orphanage, pupils perform the morning and evening prayer rule in the temple. Every day the girls perform the procession with the icon of the Mother of God. Once a week they come to worship in the monastery of Mary Magdalene or in other churches located in the Sacred Land. Girls who are brought up in an orphanage are fully supported, which includes tuition fees, food, clothes, medicines and transport costs, since about every two months the children visit their families.


Children with developmental problems are given separate classes according to special developmental programs. In additional classes, children are engaged in physical education and music, sing, gain experience in needlework, and get used to art.



Since the school is private here, parents pay for their children's education. The fee is approximately 1800 shekels for the year 1 to 4 classes, from 5 to 9 - 2100 shekels. If we compare the fees with other Christian schools, then here it is minimal. Parents' investments in education can cover only a third of the cost of maintaining an educational institution. Local Muslims send their children to this school with great zeal, as it is famous for its very high level of education.


In addition, funding comes from an English charitable company that sponsors Christian educational institutions around the planet.


Another part of the funds is voluntary contributions. The Almighty always helps the school and gives as much finance as necessary. In the Holy Land, there is a strong care and support for children coming from the Lord. Without help from above, the sisters would not have been able to carry out their difficult mission.


A car park is currently under construction on the school grounds. Future plans include building classrooms, a gymnasium, and two additional floors.


On the territory of the school there is a playground with slides and swings. In addition, several temples were also built here, the school itself and residential buildings.


The director does not have particularly warm feelings for the local authorities. All her claims are fully justified: the security wall, the checkpoint and the bureaucracy. The institution is run by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, so very often it comes from the Palestinian side. They either threaten to take away the licenses from the school, or force them to hold classes on Christmas holidays, or insist on studying the number of hours of the Koran. Therefore, sisters sometimes have a very difficult time.  


Myths about charity


We are a charitable foundation that sponsors the reconstruction and construction of churches, monasteries, Christian schools. Our organization conducts its activities honestly and transparently. We would like to dispel common myths about philanthropy.


Good must be done quietly


On our way, we often met people who wanted to help anonymously. They are of the opinion that good deeds should be done quietly and not told about them to anyone. However, no one will be able to find out about those in need, and no one will be able to follow your example. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to share your experience of philanthropy and ask people to connect to the community of virtues.


Charities are scammers


To protect yourself from scammers, you need to donate to trusted charities that can provide all the reports where exactly the funds went. You should not give money to volunteers who ask on the streets with boxes. Also, you do not need to transfer money to unfamiliar phone numbers and answer SMS from unfamiliar subscribers.


Any information needs to be verified. If you have the slightest doubt, look for reviews and ask your friends about the company you are interested in. Remember that the legitimacy of a charity can be verified.


The core values ​​of our organization are integrity and honesty. We always strive to tell you about our achievements so that as many people as possible know about it.


Need help directly


Charitable foundations are a team of professionals who know a lot of little things, problems and ways to solve them. This means that the foundation can provide very prompt and professional assistance. Remember that by contacting the foundation, you support the integrity of charity.


Only reputable organizations and millionaires can help


The surest contribution to charity is to involve a large number of people in this process, each of whom will be able to donate such an amount as he sees fit.


Throughout the civilized world, the lion's share of income is made up of donations from individuals, which are made on an ongoing basis.


Charitable companies are created to launder funds


Unfortunately, such cases do occur. According to the law of our state, each charitable organization must provide reports of its funds. Otherwise, the fund could get into very serious trouble.


It makes no sense to apply to funds, because the queue is very long


Fund employees are clearly aware of how much and for what period they can collect it. If they manage to do this, they will immediately warn about it. That's what these organizations are for.


Remember that doing good is easy. This is within the power of not only billionaires, but also each of us. By helping others, you increase your happiness and prosperity.


Don't need funds to help


This is a fundamentally wrong statement. Only joint efforts of charitable organizations can solve topical issues. In this case, everyone will get a chance to help. Moreover, fund workers do everything possible that a person himself can never do. They check all information and documents, consult with professionals, etc.


Let's help the school in Bethany with the whole world!


Dear brothers and sisters! Let's help the sisters Maria and Martha in their difficult work and provide good help for the intended goals.


May the Will of the Lord and the Queen of Heaven be done! Let the Lord hear our prayers for children from dysfunctional families and orphans. May the Almighty approve and bless our good deeds and intentions.


The philosopher Socrates once said that true life is life not only for oneself. By giving what we have and helping others where possible, we make our lives abundant and rich. God Almighty help us all in this good, holy and extraordinarily important mission! 

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