Friday, January 30, 2015

More on saving Iraqi manuscripts

SYRIAC WATCH: Iraqi Priests Protect Historic Christian Writings From Islamic State. Dominican Father Najeeb Michaeel rescued 1,300 manuscripts from Mosul last summer, as it was being overrun by the Islamist militants (ANDREA GAGLIARDUCCI/CNA/EWTN NEWS). More on Father Michaeel's daring manuscript rescue. Excerpt:
Father Michaeel collected some 1,300 manuscripts from the 14th to the 19th centuries and put them in two large trucks in the early morning, transferring them to a secret location in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where they have been kept safe. They include not only Christian works but manuscripts on the Quran, music and grammar.

“We passed three checkpoints without any problem, and I think the Virgin Mary [had] a hand to protect us,” Father Michaeel said Jan. 26 in an interview with National Public Radio.

The library of 50,000 modern books was left behind in Bakhdida, and the city was seized by the Islamic State on Aug. 7.

Father Michaeel has been joined in Erbil by Benedictine Father Columba Stewart, who is executive director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, which is participating in the preservation of the Syriac manuscripts.
I inferred in my earlier post that the manuscripts were in Syriac and Arabic. The above implies that I was not far off.