Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mar Behnam Monastery liberated

"THIS IS WAR": Historic Iraqi Assyrian Monastery Found Ransacked By Islamic State (Stephen Kalin, Reuters via AINA).
(Reuters) -- The history pages of Iraq's Christian community lie in charred fragments on the floor of a fourth-century monastery near Mosul which Islamic State militants ransacked during a two-year occupation that ended over the weekend.

The jihadists at the Mar Behnam monastery burned a collection of books about Christian theology, scraped off inscriptions written in Syriac -- the language used by Jesus -- and demolished sculptures of the Virgin Mary and the monastery's patron saint.

They removed the site's crosses and tried to erase any mention of Behnam, the son of an Assyrian king who, according to popular legend, built the monastery as penance for killing both his children after they converted to Christianity.

"Their fundamental goal was to destroy Christian history and civilization in the Nineveh plains," Duraid Elias, commander of the Babylon Brigades, a Christian militia that helped retake the site, told Reuters during a visit on Monday.

Both sad and outrageous. Many of the manuscripts belonging to the monastery were digitized before the ISIS occupation, but it sounds very unlikely that the manuscripts themselves survived. I hope I'm wrong. Past posts involving the Mar Behnam monastery are here, here, here, and here. Another recent post involving the current campaign to liberate Mosul is here.

Cross-file under Syriac Watch.