Tur Abdin: Living Cultural Heritage
Rev. Hans Hollerweger (Friends of Turabdin: Linz, 1999)
by Edip Aydin in
of Syriac Studies 4:1
Rev. Prof. Hans Hollerweger has published the first illustrated book about Tur `Abdin, in South East Turkey, under the auspices of the organization, Friends of Tur Abdin based in Linz, Austria. Since 1995, Friends of Tur Abdin has done yeoman service to the cause of the Syriac Orthodox faith in Tur `Abdin by providing moral support and monetary assistance to various Syriac Orthodox monasteries and communities in Tur `Abdin. (Between 1995 and 2000, the society published a quarterly news magazine, "The Voice of Turabdin," which has unfortunately become defunct.)
Tur `Abdin is a place dear to the hearts of the Syriac Orthodox faithful. The faith flourished in the mountains of Tur `Abdin since the earliest days of the Christian Church until the beginning of this century. The hundreds of monasteries and churches bear witness to this fact. The oldest Christian monastery in existence today, Dayro d-Mor Gabriel, and the ancient seat of the Patriarch of Antioch, Dayro d-Mor Hananya, are in Tur `Abdin. Due to the unfortunate circumstances in this part of the world and the promise of better economic conditions in the West, the Syriac Orthodox community in Tur `Abdin has dwindled considerably in this century.
In the words of H.H. Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, in his message published in the book, "Turabdin truly means everything to us. In other words, it is a summary and complete example of the history of our Syrian Church. Therefore the love of Turabdin has a special place in our hearts. The ancient monasteries and churches are sacred to us. As Patriarch of the Syrian Church, we regard Turabdin as a holy site, second only to Jerusalem, and look on our visits there as pilgrimages.
With more than 400 photographs in color, the book provides insight into one of the oldest Christian cultures on the Tigris where you can to this day encounter people who speak the language of Christ Jesus. The book comes at a very opportune moment when the existence of this culture is under significant threat of extinction.
As a founder of the "Friends of Turabdin" and with his long association with this area, Prof. Hollerweger is an eminently qualified author. Further, the book has been written in collaboration with eminent Syriac Studies scholars, Profs. Sebastian Brock and Andrew Palmer. The book has 368 pages (306 in color) introduced by letters from the Patriarch H.H. Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and the Archbishop of Tur `Abdin, H.E. Mor Timotheos Samuel Atkas.
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|Last Update: August 14, 1999|