Dar al-Majus

Dar al-Majus Community Home: the inauguration on June 9th in Bethlehem!

Giovanni Caccialanza24 May 2022

The moment has come: on next June 9th, the Dar al-Majus Community Home will finally be inaugurated in Bethlehem. Offices, training places, exhibition spaces and art galleries, all this will find home in Dar al-Majus, which literally means “the house of the Magi”. This is an old Ottoman building that rises in the heart of the historiccentre of the little Palestinian city. Renovation and reconstruction works on the building have been going on for three years now, and have gone through all the difficulties due to the pandemic situation. But now, finally, we reached the end; electricity is connected, water services are ready, and everything is in order for the long-awaited opening day.

What is Dar al-Majus Community Home?

In our latest episode of our podcast (in Italian), we talked about the Dar al Majus project with Vincenzo Bellomo, head of Pro Terra Sancta’s activities in Palestine. “Dar al-Majus wants to be primarily a place to host our activities and our offices, in order to continue the projects that Pro Terra Sancta has been carrying out in Bethlehem for more than fifteen years in the service of the local community. But Dar al-Majus is also a place where people can undertake an educational journey to beauty, the one that is given to us through the Nativity”. It is an unusual coexistence of work and beauty the one that will be created in Dar al-Majus. “That’s because we are close to the Church of the Nativity”, says Vincenzo. “The Nativity is the place where beauty was born and the message that arrived from the Nativity has shaped our lives”.

A space for local and international artists

That is why at the entrance of the centre’s spaces, next to the offices, there will be exposition spaces for local and international artists. Indeed, the very design of Dar al-Majus is an exhibition of local art:the design was realized by two Bethlemite architects, the Anastas brothers, who won the tender promoted by Pro Terra Sancta for the renovation of the building. Thus, on the ground floor, there will be exhibition galleries of painters and photographers, multimedia immersive experiences with the contributions from singers and filmmakers, and exploring paths in order to discover the Church of the Nativity. Among the works of art that will appear in the centre, there will be a copy of the famous Madaba mosaic, as well as a painting of Franco Vignazzi on the Magi, a gift from the author to Pro Terra Sancta.

Dar al-Majus Community Home

Solidarity as our mission

Dar al-Majus will make art a support to the local community. “We want to tell the beauty of a people, the Palestinian one, who are often targeted to as the problem. Dar al-Majus wants to tell the story of a beautiful community who wants to express itself”. A particularly important care, while the screams of violence from the clashes around the funeral of Shireen Abu Aqleh, the al-Jazeera journalist killed in a firefight between the Israeli army and the Palestinian inhabitants in Jenin, are still coming from the Holy Land.

Beauty, of course, at the service of the community, but also a very concrete, pragmatic help:“The core of our mission, as Pro Terra Sancta in Bethlehem, is solidarity. We’ve been doing it for many years: we are close to charity missions for the local community”. In Dar al-Majus charity will have a very professional dimension, with the opening of a working centre and a solidarity bazaar.

The orienteering working centre and the solidarity bazaar

Vincenzo describes these works like this:“We will launch the first orienteering centre in Bethlehem. There will be spaces mostly dedicated to young people and women, who will find here a group of experts ready to train them for a job, also in a network with other associations here in Bethlehem. And the same network logic will take place in the solidarity bazaar that we will open in a space on the entrance road to the centre. Here, we will show you many works ofinstitutions and social-educational foundations that work on the territory(in contact with the elderly, people with disabilities, alone women, families, students …). Each of these works will have a dedicated space with a meticulous description of the work of the association presenting it”.

Dar al-Majus Community Home is not just ours

To sum up, Dar al-Majus, by hosting the activities of Pro Terra Sancta, will actually become a place through which to show all the good that is and can be achieved in Bethlehem. Indeed,“Dar al-Majus does not belong to Pro Terra Sancta, it is not just ours; we have been blessed with this gift and we want to share it”.

The event on June 9th will finally put all this into action, and extend a little longer the long light of the comet that never stops shining in Bethlehem. Everyone is invited to discover the project: on June 9th we will broadcast the inauguration live from Bethlehem! We look forward to seeing you in the comet’s footsteps on Star Street!