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x0x The pearl of Mardin: Deyrulzafaran Monastery

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    [See more on this subject by visiting the pages selected for you by Anita Donohoe: http://www.TurkRadio.us/k/zafaran/ x0x The pearl of Mardin: Deyrulzafaran
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2008
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      [See more on this subject by visiting the pages
      selected for you by Anita Donohoe:
      http://www.TurkRadio.us/k/zafaran/

      x0x The pearl of Mardin: Deyrulzafaran Monastery

      The Syriacs are the heirs of ancient Mesopotamian
      communities dating back 5,000 years. After
      converting to Christianity, they maintained their
      lives in a slightly introverted way in different
      parts of the world, protecting their own religious
      and cultural values. The most important sanctuary
      representing the Syriacs in Mardin is
      'Deyrulzafaran Monastery' (Saffron Monastery)

      G֋SEL BOZKURT

      MARDIN-Turkish Daily News

      The most important sanctuary representing the
      Syriacs in Mardin is Deyrulzafaran Monastery.
      Situated on a small hill 4-5 kilometers from the
      city, it takes its name from the saffron flowers
      and most certainly deserves to be called the pearl
      of Mardin with its magnificent and fascinating
      appearance.

      The Syriacs are the heirs of ancient Mesopotamian
      communities dating back 5,000 years. After
      converting to Christianity, they maintained their
      lives in a slightly introverted way in different
      parts of the world, protecting their own religious
      and cultural values.

      The monastery is still used today as a temple and
      school by the Syriacs. Syriac Orthodox writer and
      scientist Bar Ebraya (1225-1286), in his poem
      Soul, expressed his perception of his own society,
      which tells of the philosophical and theological
      depth coming from Syriac history, thus:

      O, small pigeon!
      If thou art proud of dignities
      and try to collect them
      it will shine like a
      gleaming sun
      and will complete thee with
      spirit's light like angels
      if thou adorn thyself
      with theory and practice
      and fix thyself on the
      peak of glory
      and make thyself free from
      concrete matter slaveness
      thou will accompany
      free heavenly beings quickly

      Following the path of Ebraya, the Syriacs, whose
      population is around 350 today, live in the poetic
      city of Mardin in southeastern Anatolia.
      Protecting peace and ease, the Syriacs live in a
      Muslim society consisting of Arabs, Kurds and
      Turks with a serene spirit, adopting Ebraya's
      words: Fury blocks the inner light of a man in the
      same way as the clouds blocking the sunlight! This
      philosophy explains how the sounds of the ezan,
      the Muslim call to prayer, and church bells coming
      from Deyrulzafaran are able to mingle
      harmonically, and presents an opportunity for
      Syriacs and Muslims to live happily side by side.


      The changing face of the monastery over time

      The monastery, built by sun worshippers in the
      fifth century A.D., was first built as a small
      underground temple. Later, the monotheists
      finalized the monastery. Mar Sleymun, a priest,
      was mentioned as the founder of the monastery in
      the historical process.

      Following the transition to monotheistic religion,
      Deyrulzafaran became one of the first churches of
      the Christian world in Anatolia. The church in
      Antakya, the first center of Christianity, was
      carried to Mardin due to Byzantium raids, and the
      8th Patriarch, Mor Diyonosiyos, also came to
      Deyrulzafaran during that period. This led to the
      creation of a patriarchate there, and
      Deyrulzafaran was accepted as the center of all
      the patriarchates from 1116-32. Today, the
      monastery still carries the marks of history and
      hosts 36 tombs belonging to Syriac metropolitan
      bishops and patriarchs. Until the mid-1960s,
      soldiers and metropolitans were buried one above
      the other in the area divided into seven separate
      grave rooms. Today, Fil?s Saliba Öºmen serves
      as Mardin Metropolitan.

      The scorpions living in the monastery are one of
      the elements contributing to its fame. While one
      myth says that these scorpions have never hurt the
      priests since the day the monastery was
      established, another myth puts forward that the
      monastery was used as a place where experiments on
      the development of medicine were carried out. In
      addition to all these myths, what is true even
      today is that the monastery still hosts wedding
      ceremonies and funeral rites of the Syriacs.


      From Mor Sleymun to Deyrulzafaran

      The Deyrulzafaran Monastery, located 4 kilometers
      east of Mardin on the slope of a hill, faces a
      grassy plain. Some additions were made to the
      three-story monastery over time, and it reached
      its current appearance in the 18th century.
      Previously known as Mor Sleymun Monastery, the
      monastery began to be called under metropolitan
      bishop Saint Hananyo's name since 793, after great
      refurbishments were made under his leadership.
      After the 15th century, saffron flowers spread
      around the monastery have caused a new change in
      the name of the sanctuary and it was renamed
      Deyrulzafaran (Saffron Monastery). Today, the
      monastery includes the Sun Temple, the Virgin Mary
      Church, the Saints' House (Beth Kadishe) and the
      Domed Church.

      The throne from which the priests conduct the
      rituals has been located for more than 100 years
      at this monastery, which is famous for its domes,
      vaulted columns and wooden handmade decorations. A
      cross surrounded by dolphin figures welcomes you
      at the entrance door.

      The first person to introduce the printing press
      to the region in 1874 was Petrus the Fourth, who
      was a patriarch at the monastery and passed away
      in 1895. Many books in Syriac, Arabic, Ottoman
      Turkish and Turkish languages were printed there,
      and the printing house remained in use until 1969.
      The remnants of the printing house are still
      exhibited at the monastery.

      Virgin Mary Church, located in the northeast of
      the backyard, was the first church of the
      monastery. The church was restored during
      Patriarch Cercis the Second's term (1686-1708) and
      houses impressive Byzantine mosaics. Part of the
      ceilings and walls was made from baked bricks and
      there are three wooden handmade doors dating from
      1699 in the church. These doors are crowned with
      David's verses written in Syriac language. The
      church situated at the monastery also opens its
      doors for baptism ceremonies aside from Sunday
      rites.


      Visitors from all around the world

      Prince Charles visited the monastery in 2004,
      becoming one of the important figures to visit the
      monastery, which has hosted many guests from
      Turkey and the world. Transportation to the
      monastery can be made by dolmus small bus or taxi
      rented in the city center. Syriac tourist guides
      to accompany you in the monastery and some
      informative documents on Deyrulzafaran and the
      Syriacs are available at the main entrance. The
      monastery is open for visitors between 09:00 -
      11:30 a.m. and 14:00 - 17:30 p.m. during the
      summer term. Since the monastery is still in use,
      speaking in a loud voice, smoking, cell phones,
      eating and visiting the monastery without a guide
      are not allowed.

      For additional information: +90 482 219 30 82.

      ___________________________________________________

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