Tantur Newsletter-March & April 2015

Tantur Newsletter-March & April 2015

Written by Dan Koski, Tantur Ecumenical Institute

These cypress trees are some of our oldest flora at Tantur, having been planted by the caretakers of the Order of Malta Hospital that once stood where our institute does now. The loss of any tree in the Holy Land is an egregious blow, but what a disaster it would be to lose our colonnade of cypresses!

Never fear: Our gardeners know what they are doing. This spring, several new cypress saplings were planted along our path. It will take quite a few years before people can live the words of Genesis; but, just as the good friars who once looked over both the hospital and our trees, we who look over Tantur Institute are happy to provide the same care and consideration for this generation of trees – and people – and for those that will come after us as well.

Recently, as I was searching for a passage from the Bible, I came across Genesis 18:4, which reads, “Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.”

Keeping an eye on our lovely trees is one of my self-appointed tasks at Tantur. Our trees have always been one of my favorite parts of the Tantur landscape, probably because it takes so much work to nurture and care for them in the harsh terrain of the region.

In recent years, we’ve lost a few of our older trees around campus due to disease and winter storms, but most worrisome for me has been the declining health of many of Mediterranean cypress trees that line the entrance of our courtyard.