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Subdeacon Edip Aydin Tonsured as a Monk in Damascus



SOLNews - On Sunday, October 7, 2001, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, celebrated the Divine Liturgy (Qurobo Alohoyo) at St. Ephrem’s Monastery in Damascus, Syria, assisted by Their Eminences Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktash, Archbishop of Turabdin, and Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, Archbishop of the Eastern USA. Several other metropolitans and clergy were also in attendance. During the Divine Liturgy, His Holiness tonsured Subdeacon Edip Aydin as a monk (dayroyo), giving him the name Awgin (Eugene). Dayroyo Awgin’s parents, brothers and sister, together with many relatives and friends, were also present at this important juncture in his life. The new monk, after spending a month at St. Ephrem’s Monastery he returned to the USA where he will soon enroll in a doctoral program in the field of Syriac Studies.

Edip Aydin is a native of Turabdin, a region in southeast Anatolia, Turkey, where Syriac Christianity has been in existence from the early times of Christianity and bears an important witness to the early Christian tradition. He was born in 1971 in the village of Gundukshukro (Gundukke d-Ito) in the vicinity of Nisibis, the town of St. Ephrem, of devout parents whose simple, but strong faith has had an immense effect on his life. He received his primary education in two different places: the local parish school, where he was taught the Syriac language and given a basic Christian education, as well as the village Turkish school. Upon the completion of his primary education, at the age of twelve, he entered St. Gabriel’s Seminary in Midyat, about an hour’s drive from Nisibis. There at the Seminary, he received further training in both Syriac language and literature as well as in traditional Syriac theology and liturgy. At the same time, he pursued his secondary education at the state school in Midyat. The Seminary accommodated about thirty pupils from various villages and towns in Turabdin. Edip spent six years living and being educated by monks and nuns at the Monastery of Mor Gabriel, sharing in the life of prayer, fasting and the daily tasks of the monastic life. It was during this time that his understanding of Christian faith and practice was shaped. Moreover, the exemplary and austere life of some of the nuns and monks had a great effect on his spiritual life and directed him towards the service of God and His Holy Church. Thus, during his last year at the Seminary, he was ordained a subdeacon of the Church and has since been serving regularly in the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

After completion of his secondary education in Turkey, He went to England to pursue his theological studies at Heythrop College, University of London, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Divinity.  During his studies at Heythrop, he stayed with the Carmelite Fathers which was in itself a good opportunity to deepen his prayer life and to discuss his theological studies. He next went to Oxford as a Visiting Student and spent a year at the Oriental Institute where he followed the Master of Syriac Studies course under the supervision of the renowned Syriac scholar Dr. Sebastian Brock. While at Oxford, he stayed at the Campion Hall with the Jesuit Community, which was an exceptional experience for him both spiritually and intellectually.

In August of 1997, Subdeacon Edip went to the United States of America where he joined St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary at Crestwood, New York. He attended the three-year Master of Divinity program and graduated on May 20, 2000 with a Master’s of Divinity. He wrote his thesis on The History of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch in North America: Challenges and Opportunities. His time at St. Vladimir’s was very useful. Among other things, he learned a great a deal about different aspects of Eastern Orthodoxy and the way it is taught and practiced in the American context. During his study at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, he also served in the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern USA and taught Syriac at Mor Ephrem Syriac School in New Jersey where he still continues to serve and teach with faith and dedication.

In the spring of 2001, Subdeacon Edip Aydin went to Switzerland for a course in Ecumenical Studies. He attended the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey where he joined the 50th Graduate School with the theme of The Changing Face of Christianity. In partial fulfillment of his course, he submitted two papers, one in the area of the liturgy entitled: Rediscovery of Didactic and Missiological Elements of the Liturgy for Today and the other in Biblical Studies, writing a commentary on Luke 15, the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Upon his graduation from the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey on May 23rd, Subdeacon Edip took the opportunity to go to Salzburg, Austria for a two-month language course in German. During his study there, he stayed at Kolleg St. Benedikt where he practiced his German and enjoyed the kind hospitality of the brethren.

Suryoyo Online congratulates the new Dayroyo Awgin Aydin and offers him the best wishes for his future studies and monastic life



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Gabriel Rabo
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