The Three Massabki Brother Martyrs at Damascus
Towards the end of the XIII century, there lived in Damascus a married Maronite priest named Ya'qoub. This priest lived with his family in "Masback el barrani", a quarter of Damascus. The Damascans, who highly respected this "zealous and honorable" priest, gave his descendants the last name of "Massabki", for the name of the quarter in which he lived. In 1293, Father Ya'qoub was ordained Bishop of Damascus, but persecution forced him to flee the city, along with other Maronite families, and to take refuge in Cyprus where the respected Prelate died, mourning the death of his son Francis, massacred at Zabadani (Syria). In the XV century, his sons and grandsons returned to Damascus where they were known by the name of "Massabki". Ne'meh Massabki A man of the faith, Ne'meh raised his children in the fear of the Lord. He had four boys: Francis, Abdel Mohti, Raphael ; who shed their blood for their faith--and Father Abdallah; and two girls, Mary and Martha.
In the course of the fighting in Syria and Lebanon in 1860, a great number of Christians died for their faith. Among them were the Franciscan Fathers and the three Massabki brothers who were all martyred at Damascus in Syria during the night of July 10th. Among the thousands of lay Christians who shed their blood for Christ were the Massabki brothers. On that same night they fled to the Church for safety, but their assailants were able to enter and demanded them to abandon their religion. In the name of all, one of the brothers, Francis, refused their demand and said: We do not fear the one who kills the body... a crown is prepared for us in heaven, we have our souls ... and we do not wish to lose them, we are Christians and we wish to die as Christians. They were martyred in the Church before the altar and their bodies were buried in the Maronite Church of Damascus. Pope Pius XI declared them blessed on October 10th., 1926.
May their prayers be with us. Amen.