Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Iraq's Christians

MODERN ARAMAIC WATCH: Iraq's Christians. More than 125,000 of Iraq's Christians have been forced to flee the homeland they have lived in for nearly 2,000 years because of ISIS violence and threats (Lara Logan, CBSN).
On the side of a mountain, overlooking the Nineveh Plains of ancient Mesopotamia, is the Monastery of St. Matthew. It's one of the oldest on earth.
The voices of its monks have echoed here since the fourth century, uttering prayers that have not changed.

Lara Logan: You do the service in Aramaic?

Father Joseph Ibrahim: Yes.

Lara Logan: Which was the language of Jesus.

Father Joseph Ibrahim: Yes.

Lara Logan: Are you among the last people on earth to speak this language?

Father Joseph Ibrahim: We think so because we kept this language through the language of prayers.
Ms. Logan also interviews Nicodemus Sharaf, the Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Mosul, and Bashar Warda, the archbishop of the Erbil diocese, and others.

Background on the plight of modern Aramaic speakers in the Middle East and on the modern Aramaic-speaking diaspora is here, here, here, and links. Background on the Monastery of St. Matthew is here; on the destruction of a church in Mosul is here; and on the situation in Erbil is here and here.