Gem of Christian History at Risk in Turkey
Expropriation of Monastery Land Seen as Effort to Squash Syriacs
By Paul de Maeyer 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 Erdo»an 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.
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