At the start of the 20th century, Bethany was still just a small village not far from Jerusalem. Here in Bethany, the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission purchased a modest piece of land close to the Tomb of Lazarus with the intent to accommodate Orthodox pilgrims. In the 1930’s, an international sisterhood formed in this place in memory of the hospitality of Martha and Mary. Our compound is now known as the Bethany Community of the Resurrection of Christ. Although it is not onsite, the community is under rule and protection of the Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene located in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Through common efforts of the first Abbess, Mary, and nuns Martha and Barbara, a medical clinic and a weaving workshop were organised here. Later, an iconography and art workshop was opened. Although not all of the original workshops are still in use, Bethany remains an important part of the monastery, and is currently home to some of the sisters.
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The Orthodox School of Bethany
- On Lazarus Saturday, 1937, a boarding school for Orthodox girls was opened. Girls were brought up and educated under the vigilant supervision of sisters and staff living in the community. Today, Bethany is no longer a village, but a city with a population of over 20,000 people and the school is a permanent private school in the local district. Now servicing both Christian and Muslim Arab children, the school of Bethany has been and still remains one of the best girls' schools in the area.
- Over 80 years have passed since the establishment of the Orthodox School of Bethany, and it continues to be a true staple in the community. Representatives of Palestine's Ministry of Education, as well as parents and teachers alike, share in the opinion that our school is a true asset to Bethany. Not only are our students obtaining a rich and academically-sound education, but remain surrounded by love and support from teachers and sisters of St. Mary Magdeline Convent (Gethsemane).
- The charity tradition and principles are maintained, and methods of teaching are constantly improving. Like in the old days, some of the children who are unable to live with family, due to certain circumstances, board here under full supervision and guidance of the Gethsemane Community.
- With ages ranging from 4-17,we finished the 2018-2019 school year with 439 girls enrolled in our school. Students follow an academic curriculum in accordance with Palestinain standards, with focus on Arabic and English languages, mathematics and natural sciences. Additionally, all students are required to study the Russian language starting in the 3rd grade.
- Studies of religion are taught separately for Christian and Muslim students.
- Children with learning difficulties are taught separately depending on needs.
- Extra-curricular lessons allow girls to actively participate in sport activities (basketball, volleyball, horse-riding), music and choir lessons, as well as to receive instruction in handcrafts and applied art.
Head Mistress: Mother Maria
WE ARE glad that our former students are experts in various fields
WE HAVE faith that our school is needed and our work not useless
WE KNOW that the work of the Bethany's sisters Martha and Mary continues, and that this work preserves Love in this ancient Holy Land
WE PRAY that our Savior, who visited His friends here, will continue to visit our Bethany Community
Why do children like to study at our school?
- More than 40 qualified teachers work in our school and many of them are alumni of our program.
- All teachers approach their work in a rigorous, yet creative manner. The constant search for best teaching approaches, and the use of new methods, result in us not only providing our students with necessary knowledge, but also develops collective creativity and creative thinking.
- Special emphasis is made on principles of friendship and mutual respect. Over the years we have developed a system that has allowed students to grasp-in play form- the wide sphere of knowledge, which is detremental to their future.
- Various excursions are organised on a regular basis including but not limited to, archeological digs, local history explorations, visits to the zoo, visits to The New Testament sites in Galilee and more.
- Students, and teachers a like, really enjoy preparing for traditional school celebrations such as graduation day, St. Nicholas Day, Mother's Day, and more. Traditionally, all feast days are conducted in three languages: Arabic, Russian and English.
We hope that the love and happiness, the knowledge and skills which the girls have received during the time here at our school will stay with them forever.
We hope that our students' time here will be cherished forever, and passed on to future generations.