Melkite Priest Opens Bakery in Syria to Employ, Support Christians in the Region

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Currents News Staff

A small miracle is taking place in Syria, thanks to the tenacity of a Melkite priest who lives in Vienna.

Despite the war in Syria and the coronavirus pandemic, Father Hanna Ghoneim managed to build a bakery about 12 miles away from Damascus, Egypt. There, he will employ more than 40 people and produce high-quality bread for about 10,000 families.

“We are very interested that the Christians don’t leave their home, because Syria is the home of Christianity,” explained Fr.  Hanna. “Christians in Syria need our help. We can help them through money, to build schools or hospitals, or to [offer] work [to] the youth.”

Through the bakery, he’s given them employment and a chance for a better future. Fr.  Hanna uses the revenue from sales to pay his employees’ salaries, and some of the bread produced is given to poor families in the area, be they Muslim or Christian.

“Bread belongs to everyone, and Jesus says, ‘Give them [something] to eat.’ He didn’t say only for a group, but everyone,”  Fr. Hanna said. 

The bakery will guarantee work and food to the city of Maaruneh and surrounding towns.

As the property belongs to the Melkite parish, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Damascus is sponsoring the project.

The effort is being sustained thanks to hundreds of donations, big and small, from people in Austria, Germany, Hungary and Sweden.

Now that the bakery is open, Fr. Hanna Ghoneim is looking for help to launch an agricultural project that will also offer employment, a future and dignity to many other young Christians in the region.