The challenge of Islam (1) Christian de Chergé and Mohamed

The challenge of Islam (1) Christian de Chergé and Mohamed

2 k vues • 01/10/2009 • 40:20

Father Christian Salenson, a French priest, Director of the Science and Theology Institute for Religion in Marseille (ISTR), shares with us the originality of the life and thought of Christian de Chergé.

Christian de Chergé was a French priest and prior of the Community of monks in Tibhirine, a Cistercian monastery in the Algerian Atlas mountains. During the troubled years in Algeria in 1996, when the Islamic majority proclaimed that the only natural religion was Islam and abolished freedom of expression concerning other faiths, seven of these monks were abducted and held for two months before they were murdered on 21 May 1996. Two brothers Amédée and Jean-Pierre lived through the tragedy. Thanks to them, Our Lady of the Atlas has survived, no longer in Algeria but in Morocco at the Monastery of Midelt.

God called Christian de Chergé to become a monk in Algeria through a meeting with a Muslim friend, a meeting deep within Islam territory. During the Algerian war, Mohamed, who had ten children, risked his life to protect Christian when he was attacked. This was a turning point in Christian's life and he heard God calling him to join with the people, in the country of Algeria.

Ordained priest in Paris in 1964, it was at Aiguebelle Abbey, that Christian de Chergé underwent eighteen months' before going to the monastery in Tibhirine in January 1971. Few Christians, and even fewer monks, engage in a spiritual journey with Muslims. Vatican II has only recently opened the doors of the Catholic Church by acknowledging “that it rejects nothing that is true and holy in the great religions”.

With his brother monks, Christian de Chergé saw himself as “a person praying amidst others praying”, surrounded by Moslem neighbours and friends with whom he shared his everyday life. This experience formed the basis for Christian de Chergé's original theological approach, an approach which he shared in his writings, mainly homilies, but also in lectures given during the twelve years he spent as prior of the Community.

In this film, Christian Salenson, who is well acquainted with the writings of Christian de Chergé, shares with us his firm conviction that this tiny monastery, precariously situated in an oppressed and suffocating Algeria, offers us all a sign of the Spirit at work today.

Ce film est réalisé par la Communauté du Chemin Neuf via le réseau international de prière « Net for God ».

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Chaîne: Net For God

Kit d'animation

Intercession du mois

For this month, we can pray for the relationships

between christians and muslims in Algeria.

Parole du mois

Jesus said:

‘I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one come to the Father except through me’

John 14: 6