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Posted in Diocese, Parishes in Jordan

[FR] Al Ashrafieh parish

Geo-Historical Context:985

Al Ashrafieh is a suburb of Amman, the capital and largest city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Amman is a city including about 2 million inhabitants, it is the country’s political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Amman is the administrative seat of the homonymous governorate.

During its long history, Amman has been inhabited by several civilizations. The first civilization on record is during the Neolithic period, around 8500 BC, when archaeological discoveries in ‘Ain Ghazal, located in eastern Amman, showed evidence of not only a settled life but also the growth of artistic work, which suggests that a well-developed civilization inhabited the city at that time. In the 13th century BC Amman was called Rabbath Ammon or Rabat Amon by the Ammonites. In the Hebrew Bible, it is referred to as Rabbat ʿAmmon (Tiberian Hebrew Rabbaṯ ʿAmmôn). It was later conquered by the Assyrians, followed by the Persians, and then the Greeks. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Hellenic ruler of Egypt, renamed it Philadelphia. The city became part of the Nabataean kingdom until 106 AD when Philadelphia came under Roman control and joined the Decapolis.

In 326 AD, Christianity became the religion of the empire and Philadelphia became the seat of a bishopric during the beginning of the Byzantine era. One of the churches of this period can be seen on the city’s Citadel.

The Latin Patriarchate School:ashrafia1

The situation, and environment of the school and parish is the same as Misdar, in the Downtown centre of Amman with the same parish priest. The difference being that here the school is situated at the summit of the steep sided hill with Misdar School in the bottom of the valley. The area is becoming predominantly Muslim. Similar to the school at Misdar, buildings surround the site on two sides with streets on the other two. The children come from the same area of high-density population. Originally a Christian area it is now becoming predominantly Muslim.

When it was established in 1973 the school was at first a boys only school, all the girls being at Misdar. It was only in 2003, after the big renovation programme for both schools, that the school became mixed. Before this took place, the parents were consulted and a majority of 84% were in favour. When this happened, the grades from nine to twelve were transferred to Misdar and it became a mixed secondary school. Ashrafieh is now an Elementary School with grades from one to eight. There is no Kindergarten.

The present Principal was a Biology teacher then Vice Principal at Misdar before moving to Ashrafieh two years ago. She has a secretary and accounts assistant, there are twenty-four teachers, two of whom are Muslim.

On roll there are 325 children, about 50/50 boys and girls with a small percentage of non-Christian. Sixteen classrooms provide accommodation for one class in each of grades one to three, two classes in grades four to six and three classes in grades seven and eight.

There is only one laboratory for computer studies with eighteen sets and

a poorly equipped science laboratory.

The fairly well stocked library has many books, though some are very old and the rest obviously frequently used.

The large multipurpose hall is used on many occasions and there is Mass celebrated here for the entire school, on Wednesday mornings.

There is a need for a full time counsellor, the present one works on a voluntary basis in a room set aside for the purpose. The playground space is good, particularly the one on the lower ground which is used by the first three grades. This has a covered area but there is no play equipment. There is a further enclosed area, which, if cleaned and refurbished would provide a good space where the younger children could sit and play.