Catholic and Evangelical Churches are distraught at the judgment on Cloister Mor Gabriel
Hannover/Bonn (kath.net/idea)Their great concern about the current persecution of the Syrian-Orthodox Church in Turkish has brought the leading representatives of the largest churches in Germany to a common expression.
The reason is the conflict for the property rights for the Cloister of Mor Gabriel in Tur Abdin [Mountain of the Servants of God] in the south east of the country. The recent judgment of the Court of Cassation in Ankara made against the more than 1600 year old Cloister, was explained by the president of the German Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch [Freiburg], and the EKD- Advisory President, Minister Nikolaus Schneider [Dusseldorf] in a public press conference on 9. February in Bonn and Hannover. The court had annulled a previous judgment that the property rights belong to the Cloister and have alienated most of the property of the Cloister to the State.
The Monastery of Mor Gabriel, founded in 397 is the most important Syrian Orthodox Cloister in Turkey. After the interventions of Schneider and Zollitsch were ignored, the Court of Cassation ruled that it is its position is legitimized by valid documentation, which in the lower court were admitted as evidence of property ownership. Now it is feared that the walls will be torn down which overlap the Cloister, and protect against land stealing and grazing. Additionally there is the danger that the baseless allegations against the church's superior, Archbishop Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas and the president of the Cloister Kuryakos Ergun, they had appropriated Turkish State property, which has may still have more punishable consequences.
Schneider and Zollitsch support the goal of the Cloister, to speak against the most recent judgment against the Monastery. They said this: "We expect a solution from the Turkish government, which correspond to the rule of law, which must be filled by all candidates for entrance into the European Union. We ask the German government to employ stringent measures against the Turkish Government so that religious freedom for churches and Christians will be protected and the foundations of their existence may not be further destroyed by the state."
Over 95 percent of the 72 million inhabitants of Turkey are Muslims. From the estimated 120.000 Christians there are about 4.000 belonging to Evangelical Communities. From Tur Abdin in the past ten years there are more than 300.000 Syrian Orthodox church members who have fled to Europe, because the experience of persecution, murder and pressure from Turks and Kurds.
Video available here with photos of the Monastery.
Original at kath.net...