In January, President Iain Torrance traveled to Damascus, Syria, in response to a visit to Princeton Seminary in May 2008 by Sheikh Dr. Hussam-Eddin Farfour, and Dr. Abdul-Fattah Al-Bizem, the Mufti of Damascus. He was given a very warm and kind reception by Sheikh Farfour, who welcomed the Torrances to his home and introduced them to his family. Dr. Torrance gave a lecture at the Al-Fatih Islamic Institute. The visit, which was sponsored by the Scottish Journal of Theology, signaled a deepening of personal friendship and trust and a stage in the exploration of future collaboration at a number of different levels.

While in the Middle East, Dr. Torrance and his wife, Morag, were also the guests of HRH Prince Ghazi of Jordan, who arranged for them to visit the site of the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River. The Torrances also visited the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon, and hosted a luncheon for PTS alumni/ae in Lebanon.


The Omayyad Mosque in Damascus


Dr. Torrance lecturing at the Al Fatih Institute, Damascus. To his left is Dr. Abdul Nabi Isstaif, Professor of Comparative Literature in the University of Damascus. In the right of the picture is Sheikh Dr. Alludeen Zatari, Secretary of General Religious Advisory Opinion in Syria. Second from the right is Dr. Suheil Zakkar, an historian from Damascus University.



The Al-Fatih Institute in Damascus.

sharik home

Professor Abdul Nabi Isstaif, Dr. Abdul Qader-Alkittani, Dr. Abdul-Fattah Al-Bizen (the Mufti of Damascus), Sheikh Dr. Hassam-Eddin Farfour, Abdal-Hafidh Wentzel, Dr. Torrance, Dr. Suheil Zakkar at the home of Sheikh Farfour


Dr. Torrance is presented with a copy of the Qur’an by the Mufti and Sheikh Farfour.


The place where, according to tradition, St. Paul was lowered over the wall of Damascus in a basket.


Rustom Mkhjian, Assistant Director of the Baptism Site with Dr. Torrance


Haitham Malkawi (from Prince Ghazi’s office) with Dr. Torrance at the Jordanian border.



Morag and Iain Torrance beside the Jordan



The site now identified as the place where Jesus was baptised


PTS alums in Beirut: Paul Haidostian (President of Haigazian University); Perry Shaw; Karen Hull Shaw; Dr. George Sabra; Dr. Torrance; Deanna Womack; Najla Abou-Sawan Kassab; Dr. Johnny Awad



PTS alums with spouses and friends at the Near East School of Theology, Beirut. The Principal of the School, Dr. Mary Mikael, is standing to the right of Morag Torrance.


President Paul Haidostian outside Haigazian University, Beirut