|• Also spelled||'Abud (official)
Aboud from the south
|Governorate||Ramallah & al-Bireh|
|• Type||Village council|
|• Head of Municipality||Elias Azar|
|• Jurisdiction||15,000 dunams (15.0 km2 or 5.8 sq mi)|
|Name meaning||Abud, personal name, from "to worship"|
Aboud (Arabic: عابود, `Ābūd) is a Palestinian village in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate in the central West Bank, Palestinian territories, about 22 kilometers northwest of Ramallah and 30 kilometers north of Jerusalem. Nearby towns include al-Lubban to the northeast and Bani Zeid to the northwest.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the village had a population of approximately 2,084 inhabitants in 2007. It has a mixed population of Muslims and Christians, mostly Eastern Orthodox. Near the village are numerous natural springs, which are sources for the Yarkon River.
There is archeological evidence that the village was inhabited during the Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Ayyubid, Mamluk and Ottoman eras.
During Fatimid, in 1030, a Christian monk from Aboud named Elias copied Syriac manuscripts in Antioch. He later returned to Aboud and founded the Deir al-Kaukab monastery near the village. A Palestinian-Syriac inscription in the St. Mary Church in Aboud indicate that the church existed in the village by at least 1058, also during Fatimid rule.
In 1099, Aboud and much of Syria was conquered by European Crusaders. During the Crusader period, Aboud was known by them as the Latin Casale Santa Maria. At the time, it was an unfortified agricultural village inhabited mostly by local Orthodox Christians. A minority of the population consisted of Crusader settlers. The Crusaders made improvements and additions to the church, such as the nave and the north aisle.
In 1104, Mufarij ibn Abu al-Hayr al-Abudi, a monk from Aboud, copied Syriac manuscripts in the Saint Catherine's Monastery in Sinai. In 1167, Casale Santa Maria was sold by King Baldwin IV to the Knights Hospitallers. Starting in 1176, they used revenues from the village to supply white bread to the sick in the hospital of Jerusalem.
In 1225, Yaqut al-Hamawi noted Aboud was a "small town in Filastin Province, near Jerusalem. The name is Hebrew, and [has] become Arabicized." At another point in the 13th century, an Aboud monk, Sarur ibn Abd al-Masih al-Abudi, was recorded as copying Syriac manuscripts in Cairo. The southern part of Aboud was founded in the 13th or 14th century, during Mamluk rule. Two ornate mausoleums in this part of Aboud were built during the Mamluk period. Arab historian al-Maqrizi mentioned these in the 14th century.
Aboud as part of Palestine was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. In the 1553-57 tax records, Aboud had a population of 35 families, 19 of whom were Christian and 16 Muslim. In the 1596 Ottoman tax records, it was classified as part of the nahiya ("sub-district") of Ramla, part of the Sanjak of Gaza. Its population remained the same, with 19 Christian households and 16 Muslim households, and the inhabitants paid taxes on wheat, barley, and other produce. It was later designated as a part of the Bani Zeid administrative region, still under the Ottomans.
In 1870 the French explorer Victor Guérin found that Aboud contained 800 inhabitants, half Greek Orthodox and half Muslims, while an Ottoman village list of about the same year showed that Aboud had 225 Muslims with 69 houses, and 170 Greek Orthodox with 66 houses, though the population count included men only.
In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described the village as "a large and flourishing Christian village, of stone, the houses nearly all marked with the Cross in red paint," with a population of 400 Orthodox Christians and 100 Muslims.
In 1896 the population of Abud was estimated to be about 303 Muslims and 366 Christians.
British Mandate period
In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Aboud had a population of 754; 352 Muslim and 402 Christians. The latter included 335 Orthodox, 41 Roman Catholics, and 26 who belonged to the Church of England. At the time of the 1931 census, the population had increased to 910; 470 Christians and 440 Muslims, in 215 houses. The Christians largely inhabited the older, northern part of Aboud, while the Muslims inhabited the relatively newer, southern part.
In 1945, the population was 1,080; 550 Muslims and 530 Christians. The total land area was 15,007 dunams, according to an official land and population survey. Of this, 4,843 dunams were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, and 1,905 for cereals, while 55 dunams were classified as built-up areas.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the village had a population of approximately 2,084 inhabitants in 2007. It has a mixed population of Muslims and Christians, mostly Eastern Orthodox. It has ancient churches built during the Byzantine period of the 6th to 8th centuries.
Adjacent to Aboud is an ancient monastery named after Saint Barbara. Located on a hill due west of the village, the Church of Saint Barbara was erected in the Byzantine period. Archaeologists trace its history to the 6th century CE. Ancient catacombs have been uncovered by the church; their dating is uncertain. One of the burial caves is especially grandiose, with a door post decorated with carvings of wreaths, grape vines and grape clusters standing at its entrance.
Locals consider Saint Barbara to have been the oldest and most sacred of Aboud's churches. Palestinian Christians visited the church annually on 17 December to celebrate the St. Barbara's Day festival. On 31 May 2002, the Israeli army blew up and destroyed the church. The Israeli military claimed that they were unaware of the church's significance and demolished it by mistake.
Al-Abudiyah Church, also known as Saint Mary's Church, is situated in the center of Aboud. It was long believed to have been founded during the Crusader period in Palestine, when it was known as Casale Santa Maria. But, an Aramaic inscription on a vault in the church, found during late 20th century restoration work, indicates that it was founded before the arrival of Crusaders, but fell into disrepair. According to the inscription, the church was rebuilt in 1058 CE during the Fatimid era. In the 18th century an additional wall, as well as several windows and doors were constructed.
Restorations were conducted in 1997. The cement plaster in the vaulting of the church was replaced with traditional mortar, stones inside the church were cleaned, the atrium was repaved, and a reinforcing northern wall was constructed. In 2013 Christians from the United Kingdom worked on a project with the church choir of St. Mary's Church to record "The Mary Prayers" as a fundraising initiative. Proceeds from the sales of the CD or downloads are directed to humanitarian projects for the Muslims and Christians in Aboud.
Historically, Aboud's economy was centered on agriculture, specifically olives. Their cultivation in the 21st century takes up 43% of village lands. In total, 57% of Aboud's lands are cultivable; other crops are figs, apples, grapes, and almonds. Its primary agricultural products are olive oil, olive-based soap, dried figs, and almonds. In 2005 agriculture employed 19% of the village's labor force. The remaining 81% work in the governmental and private sectors, construction, and animal husbandry.
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