Showing posts with label Mor Gabriel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mor Gabriel. Show all posts

Monday, August 13, 2012

DW Story on Oldest Christian Monastery in Turkey

From the youtube account:
It's one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world: the Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery in south-eastern Turkey. But the order lives in conflict with the surrounding Kurdish villages.Several lawsuits have been brought accusing the monastery of having illegally appropriated the land surrounding it. And the national forest authority is one of the plaintiffs. The monastery's abbot considers this to be a sign of religious discrimination. In the past few years, members of the Syriac Orthodox church have been returning in increasing numbers to make a fresh start in their homes around the holy mountain Tur Abdin. More than 300,000 Christians left the country in previous decades to escape persecution and oppression.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Turkey Rules One of The Oldest Monasteries in the East

(Ankara) The appellate court in Ankara decided at the last moment against the monastery, which now loses up to 28 acres of its grounds, as the Turkish government and the economic existence of the monastery is withdrawn. Thus, at least at the national level Mor Gabriel is decided to the detriment of the ongoing dispute since 2008. Like so many anti-minority judgments which are applied can only be continued or appealed at EU level or before the European Court of Human Rights.
The legal land dispute has demoralized the tiny Syrian-Orthodox Community within and outside of Turkey since 2008, which touches upon Mor Gabriel, touches the last important spiritual center of this faith communion in the northern Mesopotamian area of origin of Tur Abdin.  Plaintiffs against More Gabriel were also the surrounding Kurdish inhabitants of three villages, who live with about 2,000 Aramaic Christians, and makes their existence even more difficult amidst the overwhelming Muslim majority in the Kurdish region.
The most recent and initial final judgment is also a direct affront to all those who had campaigned in Turkey and abroad to preserve the property rights of Mor Gabriel: In Turkey, in June 2012 some 300 intellectuals, expressed public solidarity with Mor Gabriel. Around the same time, the German Bundestag had adopted at the request of the ruling factions of the CDU / CSU and FDP, a decision to protect the monastery.
Text: AGA / Linus Schneider
Picture: AGA

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Turkish Government Aims to Destroy Oldest Monastery in the World

Today there is a continuing legal process in effect, while the the over 1,600 year old Monastery fights for its bare survival.  by Marianne Bruckl.
The Threatened Monastery

( On 26th of January 2011 the systematic dispossession of a Syrian-Orthodox Monastery -- built in the year 397 -- Mor Gabriel in Tur Abdin in south east Turkey began

Today the courts in Ankara gave the national treasury of the district town of Midyat and the Turkish forestry office a significant portion of the Monastery property.

Will the bell of Mor Gabriel be silenced forever? The hope of the Monks is dwindling.

First on the 26th of January the decision of the Supreme Court in Ankara hit like the crack of a whip.

24 Hectares of the Cloister propety would fall in the judgement for the national treasury of the district town Midyat -- irrespective of the documents which proved the Monasteries claims of ownership.
Click on the Slideshow with 14 Photos

The Second Blow

On the 20th of February the highest court in Ankara struck the Monastery with a second blow.

A further 27.6 Hectares of land within and outside of the Monastery wall were given to the office of forestry in Midyat.

A judgment which is a further consequence of an unfair legal process which is aimed on the state confiscation of the Christian heritage and dechristianization.

The Third Blow

The occupants fear the worst, that there will be still further cases filed against them.

So, Kuryakos Ergün -- who is the president of the Monastery foundation of Mor Gabriel -- must appear in front of the court yet again.

The complaint reads that the Monastery wall is not up to code and is built on state owned forest.

The question at present is the judgement of the highest court in Ankara for the destruction of the defensive wall.

One fears that Ergün will be punished.

The Deadly Blow

Despite the protests of European politicians, church respresentatives and human rights organizations against the arbitrariness of the process, Turkey remains intransigent.

The court decision of February 20th entitled the State to the outline of the Monastery wall.

It makes it clear that Turkey wants to drive the old established Christians out of the country.

Without a protective wall, the fruit and vegetable gardens carefully cultivated by the Monastery will be destroyed by herds of cattle which come from the surrounding Kurdish villages.

The surrender of the almost 1700 year old Monastery is an inevitability.

Thus the way would be clear for the Turks to assume one of the last witnesses of Christianity before the Islam.

They established themselves in Anatolia only in 622.

At the same time Turkey wants into the EU

Mor Gabriel is for the Christians in Southeast Anatolia a religious refuge, which up until now has drawn the faithful and tourists from all over the world.

If the Monastery is lost, then it is forseeable that the remaining Christians, who are about 2,500 - 3,000 Assyrians will also soon lose their homeland.

What is so strange is that the Turkish Premier Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was attempting to promote and strengthen the efforts of Turkey to enter the European Union.

He himself felt discriminated against in this instance -- he claims.

Erdogan criticized that it is against International Law to disallow Turks living in Germany of their national culture.

Actually these efforts, which have taken place in Germany, must also extend to protect Christians in Turkey.

If he attempts to prevent the dispossession of the Monastery of More Gabriel he could show, that his intentions are sincere.

He must protect the freedom of Christians in Turkey, to allow Aramaic language instruction and Christian religious instruction and allow priests to be educated.

Whoever seeks the recognition of human rights abroad, must promote them in his own land as well.

Because the protection of the rights of minorities, civil liberties and religious freedom is not a one way street.

It is a duty for everyone -- even for Erdogan.

Link to original,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Turkey Dispossesses Syrian Orthodox Monastery

Catholic and Evangelical Churches are distraught at the judgment on Cloister Mor Gabriel

Hannover/Bonn ( 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