In Memoriam

With grateful thanks to all those who have generously supported the work of the Women's Education Partnership and previously Together for Sudan by making a donation in memory of a friend or loved one.

Fr Giovanni Vantini

All friends of Sudan mourn the passing of Father Giovanni Vantini, for nearly 60 years one of the leading scholars in the rich field of Sudanese studies. Trustee, Herman Bell has generously launched a fund in Father Vantini's memory, to support the educational work of the Women's Education Partnership (formerly Together for Sudan). Any additional contributions to this fund would be greatly appreciated.

Herman has also written the following tribute.

Father Giovanni Vantini was inspired by the extensive history of Christianity in the Sudan and spent most of his life serving the people of the Sudan. He is remembered with affection by his Muslim and Christian friends and students.

Father Vantini was born in Villafranca di Verona on 1 January 1923. He was ordained a priest in 1947, trained in Arabic and sent to the Sudan. There he spent 58 years, teaching in schools established by the Comboni missionaries, working in parish churches and St. Matthew’s Cathedral (Khartoum), engaging in journalistic endeavours such as Assalam [Peace], a bi-weekly journal launched at the time of independence in 1956, and conducting research on the history of the Church along the Nile for most of the past 2000 years. In 2005, he published La Missione del Cuore - I comboniani in Sudan nel ventesimo secolo [The Mission of the Heart – The Comboni Missionaries in Sudan in the Twentieth Century] (Bologna). In spite of ill health in his final years he managed to achieve the publication of Rediscovering Christian Nubia (Khartoum) in 2009. He died in Verona on the 3rd of May 2011 at the age of 87.

A depiction of Santa Anna from the 8th Century

Saint Anna, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Faras Cathedral. See original VIIIth century painting in Father Vantini (2009, plates after p. 128). The painting above is a reproduction by the Sudan Antiquities Service artist `Abd al-Rahim Hajj al-Amin, who like Father Vantini participated in the excavations of Faras Cathedral in the early 1960s. Faras was located on the west bank of the Nile in the Sudan immediately south of the border with Egypt. It is now submerged. The original painting is now in Warsaw.

His command of Arabic was a vital skill for the production of his Oriental Sources Concerning Nubia (Heidelberg & Warsaw, 1975), an important companion study to the historical and archaeological work in which he was involved at that time in the Nile Valley. He wrote one of his major publications in Arabic: Ta' rikh al-masihiyya fi-l mamalik al-Nubiyya al-qadima wa-l- Sudan al-hadith [The History of Christianity in the Old Nubian Kingdoms and the Modern Sudan] (Khartoum, 1978).

In the colloquial Arabic of the Sudan there is a relevant expression of condolence which is widely used: al-baraka fiikum ‘Blessing upon you.’ Death reminds us of the great store of blessing that is available to us all. ‘Blessed be those who mourn for they shall be comforted.’

Father Vantini was admired as a scholar and a man of faith. He was also a kind and generous friend. Even though the Canticle of the Creatures was composed almost 700 years before his birth by Saint Francis, the following verses still seem particularly appropriate.

Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore,
Tue so le laude la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.
………
Laudato si', mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo vivente po skappare,
………
Laudate et benedicete mi Signore et rengratiate
et serviteli cun grande humilitate.

Good Lord, most high and almighty,
To thee be praises, glory, honour and all blessings.
………
Be praised, my Lord, for our sister bodily death
From whom no human being can escape.
………
Praise and bless my Lord; thank Him,
And serve Him with great humility.

Johnny Bodourian TfS Friend Supporter and Patron

Johnny Bodourian - TfS friend supporter and patron

Johnny Bodourian. - "Together for Sudan teaches people to help themselves"

I first met Johnny and Koky Bodourian in 1995 when I was a newcomer to Sudan and they invited my husband and me over for dinner. Unlike many Sudanese nationals of non-Sudanese ancestry, Johnny and Koky had refused to leave Khartoum during the difficult years when the homes and businesses of some were confiscated. Khartoum was their home and, besides, they had many Sudanese friends.

When Alan and I were obliged to leave Sudan in 1998, Johnny and Koky didn’t forget us. They tracked us down in London and later in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to cheer us up and express their support for the charity work which we had left behind. Eventually, after I was able to begin visiting Sudan once again, Johnny became a Together for Sudan Patron.

Over the following decade Johnny and Koky also supported Together for Sudan financially. But Johnny was a practical man. Seeing that Together for Sudan owns no vehicles, Johnny make sure that every time I visited I would have transportation with which to visit TfS projects and get to meetings. Although he never travelled far outside Khartoum himself, loaning me a car was his way of saying he approved of such ventures into the unknown. Sometimes he loaned me his personal four-wheel drive vehicle and a driver to carry me around the squatter settlements outside Khartoum or to the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan. Or he paid for the rental of a car and driver. But always, over miles of rugged, often unpaved, roads, I felt cared for by Johnny’s generosity.

Johnny Bodourian loved Sudan and its varied and needy people and was a man with a generous and forgiving heart. Sadly, that heart gave up too soon and he is much missed by his many friends in Khartoum, Geneva and elsewhere, including this grateful friend in Virginia.

To honour the memory of Johnny, George Pagoulatos, the proprietor of Khartoum’s venerable and legendary Acropole Hotel, has offered to pay for the rental of a car when I visit Sudan in late April. That’s George’s way of saying farewell to Johnny and I’m deeply moved. Thank you, George. And thank you, too, dear Johnny. - Lillian Craig Harris

Sir Donald Hawley

A Picture of Sir Donald Hawley

Sir Donald Hawley.

Sir Donald Hawley, who died on 31 January 2008, became a Patron of Together for Sudan when the charity was registered in 1999. After serving in the Sudan Defence Force from 1942-4, Sir Donald transferred to the Sudan Political Service and, with Sudanese independence in 1956, to the British Diplomatic Service. Until his sudden death at the age of 86 he remained active in the service of the Sudan Pensioners Association, the Salisbury Sudan Link, Together for Sudan and other charities. Sir Donald left a generous contribution to Together for Sudan in his will and further funding for TfS was raised at his memorial service in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. With Sir Donald’s death Sudan lost a true and worthy friend who cared deeply for the Sudanese people.

Barbara Bromley

Barbara Bromley

Barbara Bromley.

This donation is made possible by a legacy from my good friend Barbara Bromley and I give it in her memory. Although Barbara loved to travel, she never visited the Sudan. However, I know she would be happy that her legacy will help Together for Sudan in its educational work. Barbara gained an Open University degree after several years of hard work while holding down a demanding full time job. This photo is of Barbara on her graduation day. – Winifred Dalby

If you would like to remember a friend of loved one on this page please contact the treasurer.

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