As ISIS swept through northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, the six Syriac Orthodox monks and their bishop prepared for the 1,600-year-old monastery to be overrun. They quickly packed up their most valuable items, texts and manuscripts, and sent them deeper into Kurdish Iraqi territory for safekeeping.They are still there and are still safe for the present, although they can hear the fighting. I wish them continued peace and safety. There is video at the link.
They watched as ISIS took over Christian towns nearby, ransacking churches and driving thousands from their homes. As militants came within three miles, occupying the village of Bashiqa, they did what their predecessors have done for centuries and braced for the invaders.
“We think if they harm us, it’s a reward,” said Father Joseph Ibrahim, referring to martyrdom.
I have not been posting on the current campaign to retake Mosul from Isis, but I have been following it and will continue to note any stories that seem relevant to PaleoJudaica. Past posts on St. Matthew's Monastery are here and here.