May 05


“A Hymn in Aramaic”

The May issue of Alberta Views magazine contains my profile of Calgarian Chaldean priest Abbé Noël Farman. Farman was born and educated in Iraq, was part of Saddam’s army in the 1970s, and fled the Iraq for Canada in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion. He speaks a handful of languages – including ancient Aramaic – and can read the New Testament in its original language. In fact, on Holy Thursday, Farman recites Christ’s actual words at the Last Supper in the language he would’ve spoken. Even a retired Catholic like myself can sense the beauty in this cross-millennial linguistic connection.

Perhaps the greatest joy I derive from writing comes when I discover men like Farman, men with incredible personal histories who, somehow occupy the same city as  I do.

(James May took some fabulous photos for the story. Only one appeared in the magazine. Here are two more.)