[FR] Shatana Parish
Shatana a small village with a population of approximately 150, is located about 70 kilometers from the capital Amman.Traveling in a western direction from Hoson you pass through a vast and deep quarry, covering a large and expansive hilly area. The road rises from this rocky moonscape into a very pleasant, pastoral landscape. Suddenly you find yourself in the small, picturesque, peaceful village of Shatana surrounded by olive groves.
In 1865 Shatana was a small village with only one church, which was Greek Orthodox. There were three family groups in the village, one the Qandah who were Latin Catholic, the Sawaqed who were Melchite and the Dahabeh who were Greek Orthodox. The Catholics wanted to have a priest and church of their own. However the Latin Patriarch did not have enough priests at that time. Eventually he managed to find a Maronite priest in Lebanon who was able to come to the village. He began by renting a small room, which was used as his living accommodation, a church and a schoolroom. After a while he acquired some land and started to build a small church.
The Latin Patriarchate School:
When the people of the other churches saw the Latin Catholic priest building a church and teaching the children, they decided to bring in their own teachers to instruct their children. Between 1921 and 1927 there were three schools in the village, with one teacher each. By 1927 there were 28 pupils in the Latin school, the building still serving as church, school and priest’s house.
The first pupils were aged about four and five and there were only ten of them. There was no furniture, the only table was used as an altar, then covered when the room was in use as the schoolroom. There was hardly any other furniture so the children had to sit on the floor for their studies. When the weather permitted the classes took place outside. This continued until about 1932 when the priest acquired some land and was able to start the construction of a small church.
Between 1945 and 1949 there was a dispute over a suggestion that the Latin and Melchite churches should unite. Neither congregations were in agreement with the idea, the Latin congregation presented the Patriarch with the ultimatum that if he persisted they would all convert and become Protestants.
With the growing numbers of pupils, two Rosary Sisters arrived to teach. A house was built for them, with two classrooms underneath their living accommodation.
In 1950 many men with their families left the village to enlist in the army in Zarqa. The result was that the numbers of children in the school fell and after the 4th Grade they had to travel to Hoson to attend a Government School. This produced problems as the school in Shatana did not follow the same curriculum as the Government schools.
The average number of pupils at that time was about 75. Gradually the numbers fell still further and in about 1972 it was found necessary to close the school completely.
During the 1940’s children came from surrounding villages to study at the school. Before the immigration to Zarqa the population of the village had been around 600 to 800. Now it is only about 200 and any children in the village have to travel to schools in Hoson.
One of the previous parish priests in the village was Fr Memeh Samaan who was the Bishop of Amman before the present Bishop Selim.