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Some Recent Visitors to St Abraham’s


Visitors to St Abraham's

Fr Joseph Kenny o.p.

 Bro. Dennis Halft o.p.

 Frs Pat Lucey and Ambrose O'Farrell o.p.

 Dr Norbert Hintersteiner

 Dean McMenamin

 Fr Christopher Basden


Fr Joseph Kenny o.p.

JosephKennyWeb      Recently we heard the sad news of the death Fr Joseph Kenny earlier this year.  Fr Joseph came to Iran to attend the Institute of Philosophy where he lectured on Avicenna.  During his visits he stayed at St Abraham’s and captured the hearts of young and old with his joy and dedication.  His enthusiasm for music and particularly Dominican chant was a source of fascination to some of our young musicians.  May he live forever in God’s love in the company of Mary, Dominic and all the saints.

 Below is an extract from his obituary

      Dominican Father Joseph Peter Kenny, 77, a missionary to Africa for nearly 50 years, died of cancer on January 28, 2013 in Washington DC.  A native of Chicago, Father Joe left for Nigeria at the request of the Holy See for a resource person knowledgeable in Arabic and Islam, since there was a need at the very least to secure understanding and  peace between the country’s large Christian and Muslim communities.

              Father Joe took time to learn Arabic in Rome, Tunisia, and Cairo, and to obtain a Ph.D. JosephKenny2Webin Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK.  After working in northern Nigeria, he taught subjects on Islamic philosophy and theology for 22 years at the government-owned University of Ibadan, where he served as Chairman of the Department of Religious Studies. He also helped develop the Dominican Institute in Ibadan, where he taught courses on philosophy, theology, and communications for hundreds of lay students and seminarians, many of whom are now missionary priests in the United States.


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Dennis Halft o.p.


 Dennis5WebBrother Dennis is a German Dominican presently based in Mainz. He stayed with us here in St Abraham’s while studying Persian at the Dekhoda Institute and hunting for medieval Persian and Arabic manuscripts in the universities and libraries around the country.  As he already had a good grasp of Persian (in addition to his mastery of many other languages) he made many friends while here and we look forward to his return in the near future.

Dennis7Web     On his present work (taken from the IDEO website)  -After his studies in Islamic, Iranian and Comparative Religious Studies at Freie Universität in Berlin, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) in Paris and the Institut Français d’Études Arabes de Damas (IFEAD) (graduation “Magister Artium” in 2008), he is currently enrolled in a PhD in history of interreligious controversies between Shiite Muslims and Christian missionaries in 11th/17th century Safavid Iran. His thesis concentrates on Persian treatises by Sayyed Aḥmad ʿAlavī ʿĀmelī  (d. between 1054/1644 and 1060/1650), a Shiite scholar and member of the so-called “School of Isfahan”, and his theological and philosophical thinking about Christianity.

Dennis3Web        Since 2011 Dennis Halft is also an associated team member of the “Research Unit Intellectual History of the Islamicate World. Islam, Dennis2WebChristianity and Judaism Intertwined”,  headed by Professor Dr Sabine Schmidtke, Institut für Islamwissenschaft, at Freie Universität in Berlin.

     See an article in this website by Dennis on a Persian manuscript which he found in the library of the Dominicans in Vienna under the heading of Library / Studies –

A Hitherto Unknown Persian Manuscript of Ḥosayn Vāʿeẓ Kāšefī’s (d. 910/1504-05)  Treatise on Ethics Aḫlāq-e moḥsenī in the Dominican Priory in Vienna

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Fr Pat Lucey and Ambrose O’Farrell


پدر پت لوسی و پدر  آمبروز افارل

از استان دومینیکن های ایرلند


       pic29Among our most regular visitors over the last few years have been fr Pat Lucey and Ambrose O’Farrell. Fr Ambrose is hardly a visitor but rather one of the community here but based in Ireland, as he has been coming constantly since the early days, keeping in contact with the church and parish and looking after the house and friends of St Abraham’s. He introduced Fr Pat to Iran.  During his stay here Fr Pat in turn became one of the community, known to all, young and old.




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Dr Norbert Hintersteiner

     NorbertHintersteinerIn January of 2014  Dr Norbert Hintersteiner stayed with us for a short time. Originally from Austria, he was here in Tehran for a conference on comparative Theology.

Dr Norbert  is at present teaching at the Catholic-Theological Faculty at University of Muenster in Germany.   He is associate professor in intercultural theology and interreligious studies.

Norbert Hintersteiner (Austria)  received his Ph.D. at the Jesuit NorbertHintersteiner2WebPhilosophisch-Theologische Hochschule in St.Georgen / Frankfurt. Previously he has worked at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC; the Universities of Vienna and Mainz; and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. He has specialized in World Christianity and cross-cultural theology, comparative theology (with Hinduism and Islam), and the study of religions.

His book publications include: Traditionen überschreiten: Angloamerikanische Beiträge zur interkulturellen Traditionshermeneutik (2001); Naming and Thinking God in Europe Today: Theology in Global Dialogue (2007, editor); Postcolonial Europe in the Crucible of Cultures (2007, co-editor); Thinking the Divine in Interreligious Encounter (2012, editor).

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Dean McMenamin

دین مکمنامین

دوچرخه سوار ایرلندی که برای خیریه از ایرلند تا هندوستان سفر می کند. و چند هفته ای در کلیسا اقامت کرد و با مردم کلیسا آشنا شد.

Travelling from Ireland to India by bicycle

             VisitorsCyclingtoIndiaWebOur visitors come from many different parts of the world and have travelled many roads. However Dean was one of the most unusual guests as he arrived here from Ireland on his way to India by bicycle! He is raising funds to help those in need and at the same time travelling the world in an usual and challenging way,  sharing the lives of those among whom he travels.Visitors Dean He had been cycling for months and entertained us with many stories of his fascinating journey.  After some weeks with us he set off on his bicycle for the south of Iran, from where he went on to India, then went further east and was last heard of heading in the direction of Australia! 


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Fr Christopher Basden

Priest of the Diocese of Southwark, England.

          Christopher-BasdenWebAfter many years of promising to come, Fr Christopher finally arrived in St Abraham’s in March of 2014.  Fr Christopher has a special connection with our church.  Back in the 1960s his parents worked in Iran and the young Christopher attended mass in St Abraham’s. He recounts how in confession one day he whispered to fr Barden that he thought he had a vocation to the priesthood.  The words were met by a long silence from the other side of the grill.  But this silence was followed by a life time of encouragement and support.  Fr Christopher was eventually ordained a priest of the Southwark Diocese by fr Barden in 1979 who by then had become bishop of Isfahan.  Other priests from Iran who participated in the ceremony were Frs Hugh Brennan OP, Fr Kenneth Williams CM and Fr Mulligan SDB. 

        Fr Christopher visited fr Barden regularly in Ireland and kept in touch with many of St Abraham’s former parishioners and priests.  His coming to St Abraham’s after some 43 years was a real home-coming for him and for us.


 Fr Christopher wrote in the visitors’ book

“ That day of friendship when we met – Recall 
   Recall those days of fond regret - - Recall”

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