Video Shot on April 9, 2014 in the Jesuit Monastery in the old city of Homs, Syria.
Shows B-roll of the grave of father Frans Van der Lugt, and interviews with three citizens of the local christian community that are still living in the monastery located in the besieged opposition held areas in Homs.
Father Frans was assassinated on Monday, April 7, when an unknown masked gunman shot him in the head in the monastery according to Mazhar, one of the monastery inhabitants who witnessed the assassination.
He came here and I was in the monastery, he said he wanted to meet with father Frans. I said, why do you want to see him? He said, there’s a question I want to ask him and I came to see him, so I told him wait till he wakes up. So he said, can’t we see him now, so I told him no please wait he will be out in 5-10 minutes.
What did he look like?
Thin I think, not tall and not short, average, and he was wearing a mask, we could only see his eyes.
Then father Frans came out of his room, said Al Salam Alaykum. So we answered him Wa Alaykum Al Salam. The masked guy said we will take you and you will be very happy with us, the father said: I don’t leave the monastery, so the guy said: how come you don’t leave the monastery? So he said: I stay here and never leave the monastery, so the man said alright then sit on the chair, he sat on the chair. So I said please take it easy what are you going to do? So he said, you sit on the side before I shoot you. So the Father said: I will sit and when he sat down he shot him.
Christians are Arab Syrian citizens in every way possible, we can’t differentiate them from other citizens, so the form of the question used as Christians or non-Christians is not necessary, we’re Arab citizens, we defend our country, our churches, our sects, and our existence in general.
Monastery of the Jesuit Fathers was an institution throughout the history, not related to a specific person, no doubt father Frans had a huge role that we can’t forget, and he’s one of the reasons that made us stay, he made us more attached to our land, our existence, our houses, our churches, and monasteries. And he insisted on staying here and never leaving the monastery and he helped us establish these beliefs. The monastery is going to continue spreading the message that he started with and we consider that father Frans is still with us by his soul and thoughts that supported humanity mostly.
Ofcourse we feel the danger surrounding us, especially after the assassination, but this danger isn’t enough for us to leave.
How about you Mrs Marry
I am scared, I feel scared but I would never leave the monastery, this is the message of our Father and his home and this monetary is what kept us together all the Christians.
Ofcourse we know who assassinated Father Frans, he’s a person who is completely ignorant, if he had any idea who is father Frans, he wouldn’t have done such a thing.
Mary: A coward, if he was a normal person who knows god he wouldn’t have done it, he’s a coward.
Of course not I was with father Frans in the past while, day by day and hour by hour, there wasn’t any threats, contrary, I don’t think anyone would try to harm a person like father Frans.
we remember his goodness, how he was a loving father, with his big heart that contains everyone, he loved all the people, even the ones who had a lot of hatred in them, he knew they felt this way but he loved them, his intentions were always towards love, and he had a saying that he always used “move forward”, he never holds people’s mistakes against them, he sees lots of mistakes from the people who surround him but he never holds their mistakes against them he just says “move forward”. Nazem:
Father Franse, even though the question is simple, but the answer is history, archives, a life story, a movie if you want to call it, the most important thing that he had done is that he made us feel that we are all in one church, all the Christian sects, we all gather and pray n one church. And as Sister Mary said, Father Frans was the most pure, wonderful person we’ve eve met, you might not know this but he has a PHD in psychology, he’s a very profound person, he’s not shallow, he sees things from the inside, he is simply a message in this life, a long hard journey from life on earth to the kingdom of heaven. He is a well-respected, generous person who is considered a peacemaker among all the people who knew him.
After we lost father Frans we became twenty-three Christian here in the monetary, of course the situation is very difficult and has been for a long time, we call it the rough days, lack of food, we don’t have water anymore, no electricity, we always say thank god, we’re now in the spring and the land is giving us many things that we’re seeing for the first time but we’re learning how to deal with it and cook it and benefit from the nutrition in it which helping us to live and survive.
we’re suffering from the lack of electricity and food, we’re living on some types of grass and greens and some nice people are bringing us groats so we’re using it to make soup, and that’s what we’re suffering from, it’s very hard, there’s no electricity or water so we have to use buckets to get some water.