Saturday, October 24, 2009
Mosaic at the Convent of St. John, Earliest Monastery in Syria
The Syriac Church of al-Nabghi Landmark. This Syriac piece is what remains of a mosaic of beautiful grounds with trees from the early fifth century. The earliest date ever recorded of a Syriac Christian monument was unearthed in February 2007 in the village of al-Nabghi near Aleppo in northern Syria. The inscription commemorates the creation of a mosaic floor laid in the chapel of the martyrs of a convent dedicated to St. John (probably the Baptist). The text began with the date, unfortunately damaged, but it is possible, according to Francoise Briquel Chantonnet and Alain Desmreumaux (CNRS), reading 718, in use at the time of the Seleucid era, ie., around 406-407 AD. It was then the oldest archaeological evidence of the existence of a monastery in northern Syria. It is also and example of archaic Syriac, the Aramaic of the Edessa region (south of present-day Turkey), which was and is still today the liturgical language of Syriac, still living in the Middle East.