Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Pope returns restored Syriac liturgy to Iraq

SYRIAC WATCH: Pope Francis Returns Historic Prayer Book Saved from Islamic State to the Nineveh Plains. Pope Francis was presented with the restored liturgical text by a small delegation in the library of the Apostolic Palace a few weeks before his trip to Iraq (Courtney Mares, National Catholic Register). According to the report, the manuscript dates to the 14th or 15th century.
The book was discovered in northern Iraq in January 2017 by journalists — when Mosul was still in the hands of Islamic State — and sent to the local bishop, Archbishop Mouche, who entrusted it to a federation of Christian NGOs for safekeeping.

It had been hidden in the basement of the church together with other important books, but ended up in Erbil before being sent overseas for restoration.

The Central Institute for the Conservation of Books (ICPAL) in Rome oversaw the restoration of the manuscript, which was funded by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage.

The 10-month restoration process involved consultation with experts at the Vatican Library, which has Syriac volumes dating back to the same period. The only original element of the book that was replaced was the thread that binds it together.

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