Eric Johnson


13 September 2015

Sunday: Lots of Church & Planning to Cross the Border on Monday

Border Crossing. The Turkish government has put a curfew (as of Sunday night) on border crossings, but, thus far it seems that the border is clear.

Bishop Daoud in Iraq has arranged for a driver and a van with all the necessary paperwork to carry us into that country, and we’ll have some additional escort as well.  More to follow about the border crossing on Monday night.

Church. Morning Prayer started at 5:30, Eucharist started at 6:00AM and lasted until 8AM, and then we witnessed a baptism at 10:30 that lasted another hour.  That’s a lot a church in one day.

We visited some churches that may not survive the next 10 years, as well as some local Syriac Christian families that don’t see a great future for Christians in Iraq.

Continue reading “Sunday: Lots of Church & Planning to Cross the Border on Monday”

On the Silk Road

The Tur Abdin Region. In the hilly country of eastern Turkey, the Silk Road passes nearby a number of Syriac monasteries. And it was to three of these monasteries we went to on Saturday.  The first we visited was to check in with the Metropolitan of the Tur Abdin region of

The Silk Road - with the ever present dust storm that's been here since we arrived
The Silk Road – with the ever present dust storm that’s been here since we arrived

Turkey, Bishop Samuel Akatas, who is also helping to make arrangements for our transportation across the border. We also visited monastery Mor Augin, the oldest monastery in the Syriac Orthodox church, which has been and will continue to be Fr. Dale’s current home.

The region we’re in now known as Tur Abdin, Syriac for “Mountain of the Church of God.” This mountain range of barren hills was the home of hundreds of monasteries. Now only five remain.

A brief pause for a three-paragraph history of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Suriani Christians (those who follow the Syriac Orthodox faith) speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.  The Syrian Orthodox church broke off from the Greek Orthodox faith early in the third century, but it traces its origins to the church founded in Antioch in 37A.D., where church members were first called Christians.
Continue reading “On the Silk Road”

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