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History of the Monastery of Saint Matthew in Mosul

Translated by Matti Moosa


Located north of Mosul, St. Matthew’s Monastery—commonly known as Dayr Sheikh Matti—is perhaps the most ancient religious institution in Iraq. Although the Syriac life story of St. Matthew was published together with that of St. Behnam by Paul Bedjan in 1891, and translated into Arabic by Elias Behnam, this present account is more extensive and informative. It includes in-depth physical and spiritual descriptions of the monastery as an outstanding institution which played a significant role in the history of the Syrian Orthodox Church of the East. Mar Ignatius Jacob III offers insight into the monastery’s learned superiors, metropolitans and magnificent library.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-788-9
  • *
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Sep 11,2008
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 248
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-788-9
$145.00
Your price: $101.50

Located north of Mosul, St. Matthew’s Monastery—commonly known as Dayr Sheikh Matti—is perhaps the most ancient religious institution in Iraq. Although the Syriac life story of St. Matthew was published together with that of St. Behnam by Paul Bedjan in 1891, and translated into Arabic by Elias Behnam, this present account is more extensive and informative. It includes in-depth physical and spiritual descriptions of the monastery as an outstanding institution which played a significant role in the history of the Syrian Orthodox Church of the East. Mar Ignatius Jacob III offers insight into the monastery’s learned superiors, metropolitans and magnificent library. The monastery was a Seat of the Maphrianate of the East rivaling that of Takrit as a center of Syriac Christianity. The Patriarch laments adversities brought upon the monastery by the marauding Kurds who attacked it, killing monks and looting belongings including the monastery’s invaluable manuscripts. Not until the nineteenth century did some metropolitans retrieve it from the Kurds. Still, the attacks continued. In modern times, as monasticism has declined, the monastery has become more an attraction for summer vacationers than a place of retreat. Today St. Matthew’s Monastery remains a monumental Christian historical legacy revered by both Christians and Muslims of Iraq and neighboring countries. It is also held with great reverence by Western scholars since the most famous thirteenth-century Syrian writer, Bar Hebraeus, was buried there.

Mar Ignatius Jacob III (1912-1980) was the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and head of the Syriac Orthodox Church. He was ordained priest by Patriarch Ignatius Afram I Barsoum. He taught in India and in Mosul and was made Metropolitan of Beirut and Damascus. Following the death of the Patriarch, he was consecrated to that office in 1957. A prolific writer, he wrote over thirty books on a variety of topics.

Located north of Mosul, St. Matthew’s Monastery—commonly known as Dayr Sheikh Matti—is perhaps the most ancient religious institution in Iraq. Although the Syriac life story of St. Matthew was published together with that of St. Behnam by Paul Bedjan in 1891, and translated into Arabic by Elias Behnam, this present account is more extensive and informative. It includes in-depth physical and spiritual descriptions of the monastery as an outstanding institution which played a significant role in the history of the Syrian Orthodox Church of the East. Mar Ignatius Jacob III offers insight into the monastery’s learned superiors, metropolitans and magnificent library. The monastery was a Seat of the Maphrianate of the East rivaling that of Takrit as a center of Syriac Christianity. The Patriarch laments adversities brought upon the monastery by the marauding Kurds who attacked it, killing monks and looting belongings including the monastery’s invaluable manuscripts. Not until the nineteenth century did some metropolitans retrieve it from the Kurds. Still, the attacks continued. In modern times, as monasticism has declined, the monastery has become more an attraction for summer vacationers than a place of retreat. Today St. Matthew’s Monastery remains a monumental Christian historical legacy revered by both Christians and Muslims of Iraq and neighboring countries. It is also held with great reverence by Western scholars since the most famous thirteenth-century Syrian writer, Bar Hebraeus, was buried there.

Mar Ignatius Jacob III (1912-1980) was the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and head of the Syriac Orthodox Church. He was ordained priest by Patriarch Ignatius Afram I Barsoum. He taught in India and in Mosul and was made Metropolitan of Beirut and Damascus. Following the death of the Patriarch, he was consecrated to that office in 1957. A prolific writer, he wrote over thirty books on a variety of topics.

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