The Syriac Orthodox Church is the largest Christian Church in Turkey. It is a distinct church body since the schism following the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. Assyrians are deeply rooted in Upper Mesopotamia (Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran).
Deyrul Zafaran Monastery, TURKEY
“I hope barbarism borne by ISIS will be as much a breeding ground for a Christian gathering in the Middle-East region. Of course we have had differences in the past but we must especially remember that we have a common love : Jesus Christ. It is more than ever the time to stick together and gather. »
— Filüksinos Saliba Özmen, Mardin and Diyarbakir Metropolite
PLATEAU of TUR ABDIN
Tur Abdin means Mountains of the Servants of God. The Assyrian presence in Tur Abdin dates back to the 13th century BC; mentioned in the inscriptions of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari I, where it was called the Kashiari mountain.
« Out of all the monasteries and churches that existed on the plateau before the XXth century, less than 1% is remaining today. The others were destroyed or converted into mosques. » Metropolite Saliba Özmen
To avoid loosing churches and monasteries, Syriac Orthodox Church tries to obtain the authorisation from DIYANET (the Turkish religious authority which recognizes only Sunni Islam) to create a faculty specific to their Church.
— Meryem Ana Monastery, Antili, Turkey
One of the last Syriac Orthodox Christian still living in Mardin. Nowadays only a hundred families inhabit there. Most of them emigrated or died during the Assyrian Genocide that took place between 1914-1920.
A MISLEADING QUIET PLACE
— Mor Eliyo Kilisesi, Beth Kusan, Turkey
One kilometer away, you will find the Hah military camp, patrols and Kurdish PKK walking Kalashnikov ‘ on their shoulder in the center of the nearby village , Orcana.
The region is strategic for onshore oilfield, water and electricity. Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to transform the plateau into a new touristic zone, a »new Cappadocia ».
THE FORGOTTEN GENOCIDE
1915. Shato d’seyfo , the year of the sword », as the Syriacs names it. A black year during which half of the Assyrian population of Turkey will be exterminated or deported.
Tensions between Kurds and Syriacs reduced. Following the publication of Mohammed cartoons by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, angry Muslims Kurds however gathered in Estel, a village near Midyat , with the idea to walk to the Christian neighborhood. The crowd was fortunately intercepted by the police.
Mor Ahesnoyo CHURCH, Midyat
The liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church is rich. As many Orthodox churches, the curtain is opened at the revelation of Jesus words and the New Testament.
BETH KUSAN, TURKEY
Gradually Assyrian exiles return to the plateau of Tur Abdin. « It is only by occupying the land that we maintain our culture! »
– Metropolitan Saliba Özmen
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