St. George‚Äôs Melkite Greek Catholic
St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church was built in the 1880's in the town of Zababdeh which has been inhabited since the mid-1800s. For over one hundred twenty years, a small, faithful Melkite community has worshiped in St. George Church.
In the mid-1930s, Abouna Stephanos (Stephen) Khoury Diab, a Zababdeh native, became the pastor of St. George Church. For about fifty years, Abouna Stephen labored faithfully with little resources for his congregation. When he died in 1985, his parish had dwindled and from 1985 to December 14, 2002, the parish had no priest. The church, parish house, and surrounding lands deteriorated and fell into disrepair.
On December 14, 2002, Abouna Stephanos' grandson, Firas Boutros Khoury Diab, was ordained to the office of priest by Sayedna Boutros Al- Mouallem, Sayedna of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth and All of Galilee. On 27 April 2003, the Sunday following Pascha (Easter), Abouna Firas celebrated the first Divine Liturgy (Mass) in St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church in seventeen years.
The work to rebuild the Church building and its parish is a continuing project. The parish, numbering about 100 members in about 20 households, is slowly being re-gathered. The land and buildings have been repaired.
Abouna Firas sees a three-fold renewal ministry: the renewal of the church buildings, the congregation, and the hearts of the people in faithfulness. Through activities such as choir and Bible Study, as well as projects that would benefit the village at large, Abouna Firas is hoping to instill a new spirit of hope. The church's location along the main road gives it an advantage for reaching out to the community at large. The new Arab-American University of Jenin has meant a surge in the student population at the village.
During our visit in October, 2010, Pastor Andries video-taped the celebration of mass at St. George’s church.