Skip to comments.GEM OF CHRISTIAN HISTORY AT RISK IN TURKEY
Posted on 02/25/2011 8:47:24 AM PST by robowombat
Expropriation of Monastery Land Seen as Effort to Squash Syriacs
ROME, FEB. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Not even the Mongols of the 14th century, when they killed 40 monks and some 400 faithful, succeeded in making one of the most ancient Christian convents in the world disappear, but perhaps Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, can.
This appears to be the case of the Syro-Orthodox monastery of Mor Gabriel or "Dayro d-Mor Gabriel," called "Deyrulumur" in Turkish. It is located in the region of Turabdin in the southeast of Anatolia. The convent bears the name of Mor Gabriel (634-668), bishop of Turabdin, known for his witness of holiness and miracles.
The foundation of the monastery, which is situated southeast of the city of Midyat, in the province of Mardin, near the border with Syria, dates back to the year 397 A.D. and was the initiative of two monks, Mor Samuel and Mor Simon, who died in 409 and 433, respectively. The complex, which boasts elements built with the help of Byzantine emperors such as Arcadius (395-408) and Theodosius II (408-450), today houses a small community of three monks and 14 sisters.
Mor Gabriel, known also as the "second Jerusalem," is not only a monastery. Mor Gabriel is in fact the See of the Metropolitan Mor Timotheus Samuel Aktas and the cultural and spiritual center of the dwindling Syro-Orthodox community of Turkey and of numerous Syriacs who've emigrated to the West. Just 50 years ago, some 130,000 Syriacs lived in the region of Turabdin -- the name means "mountain of the servants of God" -- but today their number has decreased to just a few thousand.
The monastery is at the center of a harsh battle initiated in 2008 by the leaders of three Kurdish villages dominated by a tribe supported in Parliament by one of their leaders, Suleyman Celebi, who is a Parliamentarian with the pro-Islamic ruling party of Erdogan (the AKP or Party of Justice and Development).
Several accusations have been leveled against the monastic community, including proselytism, which is based on the fact that young men study Eastern or Syrian Aramaic at the monastery. There are also claims that the monastery was built on a place where a mosque once stood -- an unfounded and even absurd accusation, given that Mor Gabriel well precedes the birth of Islam. The accusation that sticks -- at least in the eyes of Turkish officials -- is the one upheld by the Treasury Ministry: undue appropriation of land. Even this accusation is not very comprehensible, given that the community of Mor Gabriel regularly pays the taxes on the land in question.
The article states there were once 130,000 Syriac Christians in the area. What happened to them?
Read my tag.
Death to Islam.
The Kurds seemed to be by-and-large the "good guys" in Iraq.
It looks like no good deed goes unpunished when a Christian nation helps to liberate the Kurds from their oppressors.
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