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THE

EMMS Nazareth

EMMS NAZARETH

HEAD OFFICE Laurel Gables, Claude Street, Hetton le Hole, Tyne & Wear, DH5 0AU, United Kingdom + 44 (0)191 645 0 643 --------------------

ISRAELI OFFICE The Nazareth Hospital EMMS, PO Box 11, Nazareth 16100, Israel + 972 (0)4 602 8879 -------------------US Lo-call direct: (301) 93 EMMS-N

P.K. Vartan

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REGISTERED OFFICE 151 St. Vincent Street Glasgow G2 5NU UK

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EMMS Nazareth is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland - Company No: SC 225661 EMMS Nazareth is a charity registered in Scotland - Charity No: SC 032510 Registered as a foreign owned company and not-for-profit institution in Israel - No: 560019945

Centenary Publication

2008


P. K. VARTAN MEMORIAL

In this edition... Nazareth Hospital

Page 2

School of Nursing

Page 4

Nazareth Village

Page 5

Seeds of Hope

Page 6

Help us spread the news

Page 10

EMMS Nazareth in Scotland & England

Page 11

EMMS Nazareth in N. Ireland

Page 12

Dr PK Vartan Memorial excerpt

Page 14

International Friends

Page 18

Christmas Appeal

Page 20


P. K. VARTAN MEMORIAL

Introduction

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very warm welcome to our new look Quarterly. I do hope you will find it an informative and enjoyable read and that by the time you are finished, you will have had a clear and inspirational insight into our work. Of course, we cannot cover everything we do, but the task of pulling together a publication such as this always brings into sharp focus the extent and depth of our daily work - how lives are saved, how lives are touched and made better and even how lives are turned around by being given new potential. This leads us to reflect on that stable in Bethlehem, and the fact that we have all, in truth, personally received those very same things - as a direct and powerful consequence of the birth of our Lord in such humble frailty. It means that our work, no matter how challenging, or demanding, or pressing is actually a work of joy and wonder, because it is work for one purpose only - to make manifest the Love revealed to us in the birth of Jesus. This should be our outlook as we reflect on the challenges and successes of 2008 and look forward to the promise in 2009. Inside, you will find news of the Hospital, School of Nursing and the Nazareth Village. You will also be introduced to the new members of our team in the UK and even hear from our friends in Canada, Australia and the USA. As this December marks the centenary of the death of Dr. P.K. Vartan, the founder of our Hospital, we have produced a 28-page memorial publication. You can find an excerpt of this inside. If you would like to receive the full version, simply let us know. Have a blessed and warm Christmas.

Joseph R. Main Chief Executive Officer

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The Beginning

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akradooni Kaloost Vartan was born on 5 June 1835 to Vartan & Tefaric Ohannessian, an Armenian embroiderer and his wife living in Constantinople. Following the death of his father, P.K. Vartan trained to become a translator. It was this training which led him to his work with the Turkish Army in the Crimean war (1854 – 1856).

The Crimean War

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he Crimean War began as a dispute between French and Russian religious fraternities over rights to the holy sites in Palestine. Things escalated when Russian troops were dispatched to shield these areas, occupying Ottoman territory. Soon afterwards a Russian attack on Turkish ships meant that a response was inevitable. The threat of loss of control of the Mediterranean trade route brought France and Britain into the conflict, fighting alongside Turkey, and the war began in earnest in 1854. Many famous battles occurred in the Crimea, including the Siege of Sebastopol and the battles of Alma and Balaklava. Dr Vartan received the Crimean war medal with four clasps, Sebastopol, Inkermann, Balaklava and Alma, for his service from June 1854 to July 1856. It was following his time in the Crimea that P.K. Vartan decided to study medicine.

Medicine in the Crimean War

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lthough surgeons and medical staff were present at the Crimea battlegrounds, the treatment provided for injured soldiers was often brutal. Injuries experienced included those from muskets, cannon balls and bayonets, and anaesthetics, at that time in their infancy, were not used. Wounds were often treated simply by amputation of the affected limb and surgeons worked quickly in order to reduce the pain and 19


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MEMORIAL Injuries to the chest and abdomen were simply left untreated due to lack of knowledge and equipment and soldiers often died slowly as the result of infection and disease.

Florence Nightingale

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contemporary of P.K. Vartan, Florence Nightingale is renowned for her influence in nursing. The situation in Scutari hospital, where she was stationed, was appalling. On her arrival, Florence Nightingale found the men kept in rooms with no blankets or decent food, wearing the same clothes they had fought in, still covered with blood and dirt. The death toll was extreme, though most men died not of their wounds but of other diseases resulting from the conditions in the hospital, such as typhus, cholera and dysentery. After a difficult start and the reluctance of army officials to heed her warnings, Florence Nightingale managed to use public opinion following the battle of Inkermann to improve sanitation and reduced the death rate substantially. P.K. Vartan was present at the battle of Inkermann and no doubt knew Scutari hospital where Florence Nightingale worked. It is not improbable that the sight and smell of hospitals in the Crimea were a major factor in P.K. Vartan's decision to study medicine. Following the Crimean War, the concept of nursing as a profession, requiring education and training, also began to grow, not least as a result of Florence Nightingale's work. P. K. Vartan, during his time in Nazareth, also saw the necessity of this step as he trained nurses to work at the dispensary in Nazareth.

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Study in Edinburgh

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t the end of the Crimean War, P.K. Vartan decided that his dream was to study medicine. However, due to his financial situation, he could not see how this would ever happen. According to the account of Salim Abboud, pharmacist at the dispensary in Nazareth, a conversation at the end of the war led to him obtaining private sponsorship through the wealthy aunt of a British Army General. P. K. Vartan requested to study in Edinburgh, whose well acknowledged medical school had been established in 1726. The international fame of Edinburgh as a centre for medical education grew due to the large number of outstanding students, including Joseph Lister (who went on to research and introduce the concept of antiseptic surgery) and Sir James Young Simpson (who entered the university at only 14 years old and went on to discover chloroform anaesthesia). These developments illustrate the rapid developments in medicine at the time. On the death of his sponsor, P.K. Vartan was forced to seek alternative support for his studies. The Edinburgh Medical Missionary took over his funding and he received his licentiateship on 14th May 1861.

The Road to Nazareth

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ater that same year (1861) Dr Vartan was sent, with the support of the Syrian Asylum fund of ÂŁ100 per year, to Beirut. He arrived there to help the victims of the recent massacres in the Civil War, but found that many other organizations had already come for the same purpose. Following an invitation from the Anglican Episcopal Mission, he decided to leave Beirut and go to Nazareth. On arrival in Nazareth in December 1861, Dr Vartan rented a house and began work.

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MEMORIAL Rev James Huber was the Anglican priest in Nazareth at the time and assisted Dr Vartan. In his second year in Nazareth, Dr Vartan received a box of medical supplies and equipment from the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society. In 1864 the Syrian Asylum Fund dismantled, ending Dr Vartan's financial support. As adequate funding became difficult to obtain from friends and supporters Dr Vartan once again sought the help of the E.M.M.S., becoming their first missionary to the Holy Land in 1866.

Life in Nazareth

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azareth in Dr Vartan's time was a far cry from today. The population was approximately 9,000 people, about 75% of whom were Christian, with the surrounding villages mainly Muslim. Under Ottoman rule at the time, government health services were limited to municipal doctors, employed on a part time basis. Voluntary and charitable hospitals were the only medical and health service providers for the population. In 1861 this meant that Dr Vartan's dispensary was actually the only hospital existing between Jerusalem and Damascus

Work in Nazareth

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n 1860, just before Dr Vartan's arrival, average life expectancy was 22 years for males and 24 years for females with infant mortality (for children up to one year) at 380 per 1000. A colleague of Dr. Vartan, Dr Frederick Scrimgeour, relates how the work began in Nazareth from his conversations with the man himself; 16

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“When Dr Vartan, as a young man of 28, presumed to undertake the cure of disease, popular opinion held it to be obviously absurd that a man of his years could know anything at all comparable with the knowledge of their “wise men”. Skill and patience, however, gradually changed public opinion, and finally a case of vesical calculus turned the tide strongly. A famous native “hakim” having failed to extract the calculus, assured the patient’s friends that no stone existed, and when, a day later, Dr Vartan removed a large mass of phosphates his fame was assured.” Dr Vartan also wrote regular reports to the E.M.M.S. some of which are quoted below:

E.M.M.S. Quarterly Paper, November 1871 Letter from Dr Vartan, 25th August 1871 The Dispensary work is becoming more and more interesting. The usual attendance is from 40 to 50, but what is more cheering is that the patients have a growing appreciation of the help and advice they receive, both for their bodies and their souls. The sight of the knife, when I first came here, often made the poor patients and their friends seek my consulting room door for escape, though its employment would have given them relief, and spared them many nights and days of pain, but now, they not only willingly submit to its use when necessary, but sometimes when it would be needless or hurtful, they ask me if I would not rather employ it." "Since April 18th, the day the new Hospital was opened, 34 patients have been admitted….Besides five, on whom minor operations were performed, two were operated on for Cataract, one for Calculus, one Amputation of leg above the knee joint, and one of the great toe. All got well except one of Cataract, who, being a bad patient, would not allow me to complete the operation. The patient who underwent amputation of the leg, and who is now able to go about with the aid of crutches, is learning to read.

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MEMORIAL E.M.M.S. Quarterly Paper, November 1886 Dr Vartan reporting "In one of my cataract cases the lens was extracted in a miserable little hut, the patient lying on the floor. Yet the wound of the cornea was quite well on the third day, and the eye looked almost as if nothing had been done to it. I cannot help seeing in such cases a special kind Providence helping me, when deprived, as I am, of necessary hospital accommodation."

Annual Report of the E.M.M.S. 1897 Letter from Rev G. Davidson B. Sc. Minister of Free St Mary's, Edinburgh and a Director of the Society, following his visit to Palestine. During a recent visit to the East, I had the pleasure of meeting our representative at Nazareth, and of learning something about the nature of his work from personal enquiry and observation‌ They narrated numerous instances of his professional skill and of his private acts of kindness, and indeed conveyed the impression, by the enthusiasm with which they spoke, that Dr Vartan has become one of the lions of the city, and a visit to his Dispensary one of its sights which Englishspeaking travelers rarely miss seeing." "In the courtyard we found touching evidence of the necessity for such a Mission. Between thirty and forty men, women and children were squatted round the wall waiting their turn. Entering the anteroom, we were confronted by the same living evidence of the need which exists for Dr Vartan's Mission in Nazareth. The walls all round were dadoed with the victims of disease or with their friends. The most affecting sight of all was the presence of several mothers carrying sick children in their arms, whom they fondled with passionate tenderness. 14


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E.M.M.S. Quarterly Paper, November 1908 th Letter from Dr Vartan, 11 August 1908 "Thank God I am well and quite able to do the work in my hand…Since Dr Scrimgeour left I saw 933 patients (new and old) and among them some surgical cases also. Among them was a baby on the breast, from Horan, with harelip. I tried to dissuade the mother from having it operated on now, as the sucking of the baby might be prejudicial to the healing of the wound, and asked her to return at the reopening of the hospital. But she entreated so pitifully that her returning again from such a distance would cost her so great an inconvenience, that I was obliged to perform the operation. I am glad to say that she was able to return home rejoicing and blessing the Lord Jesus.”

Dr Vartan’s career in Nazareth As early as 1872, the work of the dispensary was increasing and a letter from Mrs Vartan explains their plans to make more space.

Mrs. Mary Anna Vartan 8

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MEMORIAL "We have been very busy all winter, and things have been going on more systematically and pleasantly since the Hospital was opened, now just a year since, and it has been almost always full, and often more than full. As you know we have six beds, and frequently, as at present, we have to accommodate eight patients, while, almost daily, many most suitable cases for admission have to be refused. We have been thinking, that greater enlargement is necessary than an occasional bed or two. It seems a long time to look forward to eight or ten years, for which time we have this house, and not be able to take in more than six patients at a time; and so we have come to the conclusion to change the house - make this the hospital, and remove into the house, now used as a hospital, and make it our dwelling-house. This arrangement would give us accommodation for twenty-five patients, and, also, for a few pupils, whom the doctor wishes to take into the house, both, as an almost necessary assistance to himself, and as a means of enlarging the Agency in a few years." Quarterly Paper, August 1972 Letter from Mrs Vartan, 2nd May 1872

This increase in work led to the beginnings of the plan to build a new hospital for the work in Nazareth. A location was chosen and a building erected, only to be later disputed and confiscated by the Turkish authorities. 12


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Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society Quarterly report February 1909:

Iris Vartani As well as running the Hospital, training nurses and medical students and planning a new hospital building, during his time in Nazareth, Dr Vartan was also an avid student of botany. During his travels he noticed a small iris which grew on the Galilean hills, and reported it to the Royal Botanical Society in the UK (check). This iris had never been catalogued or named before and so was named in his honour, Iris Vartani.

“The great disappointment of Dr Vartan’s life was the loss of the property on the hill overlooking the city from the north, where he had built his dwelling house, and had begun the erection of a hospital… It is enough to say that during all that trying period no word of bitterness or complaint ever escaped his lips. He never doubted that one day, in spite of all obstacles, the dream of his life would be realized.”

Family life Dr Vartan married Mary Anna Stewart on July 4th 1864, and set off for Nazareth the same day. Mary Anna was the daughter of a Free Church of Scotland Minister and the marriage took place at her home in Scotland Street, Edinburgh. The couple had ten children in all, though only five were to survive infancy. The children were named, Mary Tefaric (1868), Mary (1869), Catherine Robertson (1871), Harriet Abercrombie (1873), Charles Samuel (1875), James Stewart (1876), Sophie (1878), Robert Bruce (1880), Benjamin Bell (1881) and John (1883). Mary Tefaric, Mary, Catherine Robertson, James Stewart and John are all buried next to their parents in the Anglican cemetery next to the Hospital grounds.

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2008 vartan centenary memorial publication