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Overall picture of the Monastery of Mor Jacob of Sarug in Warburg.

The Patriarch writes in the Golden Book of the city of Warburg. Mayor (l.), Mor Dionysius I. Gürbüz, council von Höxter (r.).

The Patriarch writes in the Golden Book in the historical city hall.

The Patriarch together with the diocesan bishop Mor Dionysius Gürbüz and metropolitan Mor Julius J. Çiçek officially opens the monastery.

The Patriarch wit the Archbishops wearing beautiful liturgical clothes in the altar space during the consecration

During the Eucharist the Patriarch extolls the bishops and the faithful incence in the tent.

Patriarch and bishops are seated during the Eucharist.

Syriac bishops: from the right: Mor Julius Jeshu Çiçek, Mor Philoxenos Yusuf Cetin, Mor Dioskoros Benjamen Atas - as well as the Coptic bishop Amba Damain and the Armenian bishop Korkian.

The Patriarch converses with the Coptic Bishop Amba Damain (Höxter). The Bishop is a medical doctor, and he wears the same ‘schema’ [in Greek] (Qurba’to = head cap in Syriac). The Copts have taken the monks Schema over from the Syriacs in the middle of the 20th century.

The Patriarch carries the Holy Gifts, the chalice and the patene.

The Patriarch said to both metropolits - of Germany (l.) and of Middle Europe (r.): ‘Paul has planted and Apollos has watered, thus Mor Julius bought the monastery and Mor Dionysius completed it. Both pastors during the thanksgiving.

The Patriarch before the German press in the visitors’ room of the diocesan centre in the monastery. Because the German journalists do not understand Syriac nor Arabic (it is not that bad ;-) ), Aziz Jesho translates the interview from Arabic into German

Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas consecrated the Monastery of Mor Jacob of Sarug in Warburg 

Gabriel Rabo

(SOL) - Following the invitation of Diocesan Bishop Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz, the Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I. Iwas came to Germany on 25th of August 2000. The special guest from Damascus, the Patriarch of Antioch and all of the East, head of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the world was welcomed cordially the next day by the City of Warburg. At the ceremony in the historical City Hall the Patriarch wrote in the Golden Book of the City and thanked the German People for their hospitality. 

In a pontifical divine service attended by around 10.000 worshippers from the whole of Germany and its neighbouring countries his Holyness consecrated the former Roman Catholic Monastery of Dominicans in Warburg and named it after the Syriac Saint and Theolgian Mor Jacob of Sarug (451-521). 

Apart from the host Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz the consecration service  was attended by six other Syrian Orthodox Metropolitans: Mor Julius Yeshu’ Çiçek of Middle [Central] Europe, Mor Severius Jamil Hawa of Bagdad and Basra, Mor Philoxenos Yusuf Çetin of Istanbul and Ankara, Mor Kyrillos Afrem Karim, Archbishop of the Eastern United States, Mor Dioskoros Benjamen Atas of Sweden and the Bishop who was newly consecrated last May, Mor Severius Saliba Tuma of Zahle (Libanon). Moreover, many bishops and priests from the eastern and western churches attended and also many German politicians. 

Abundant applause broke out in the monastery church when the Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church together with the bishops entered the altar space and started the consecration with the actual ceremony. The whole of the Syrian Orthodox Diocese in Germany had long awaited this moving moment. The Patriarch consecrated the new wooden altar, which is made out of oak, with Myron. In a large tent which was erected in the monastery yard he next celebrated the holy Eucharist, which is at the heart of any liturgical celebration; Co-celebrant was the diocesan shepherd Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz. 

In his sermon Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas spoke of the merits of Mor Julius Yeshu’ Çiçek concerning his pastoral care for the Syriac congregations in Germany. He illustrated this with the citation from St Paul, that Paul had planted and Apollos had watered, but that God gave the increase (1 Cor. 3,6). In this way this monastery had been acquired during the term of office of Mor Julius, and during the term of office of Mor Dionysius, with the help of his diocesan priests and their council, it had been finished. All this had been made possible with the help of the generosity of the Syriac people. Just as it is impossible for fish to live without water, it is impossible for the Syriac people to live without the vicinity of a monastery. Wherever I go - according to the Patriarch - I keep on saying: ‘The inhabitants of Tur ‘Abdin are the honey of the Syriac peoples. The Suryoye build and buy churches and monasteries ever since the beginning of their emigration till today, without becoming tired. Since they came bearing strong faith with them from Tur ‘Abdin into the diaspora, they are a lively people and a good example for the other peoples,’ the Head of Church stressed with great enthusiasm before the faithful. 

After this the Patriarch stressed more points. On the one hand he warned the priests and reminded them to serve their flock and to teach the true faith of the Church, for which the Syriac churchfathers had spilled their blood, by being a good example to their congregations. On the other hand he warned the people who bring damage to the Church. He therefore pointed out to the faithful to keep wide away from such people who are ‘pugnacious and destructive’ and not to give them a place among them. 

The head of Church Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas also spoke about the Syriac language, speaking of luck for those from Tur ‘Abdin that God had given them a good gift, namely the Syriac that they speak and that Jesus Christ had chosen before all languages as his mother tongue. He recommended that they teach their children to speak and write this holy language. Concerning this he pointed out to all Syriacs to look after the Syriac language well and to guard it from foreign influence. 

The bishop of the diocese, Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz, thanked the Patriarch for his presence and for his historical consecration of the monastery. He said about him: ‘The star of the East, through which all feasts and celebrations become complete, has come to us’, and he spoke in appreciation of his life’s work and merits in the Syrian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch fulfilled his 20th year in office as head of the church on 14th of September. In regards to the consecration of the monastery and to the great number of Syriacs who came, Mor Dionysius also spoke of a ‘historical day’. ‘Where the Syriac people are, there the Tur ‘Abdin is as well. At this moment, we are in Tur ‘Abdin,’ the bishop said. He made clear to the faithful, that the monastery should be the place for Syriac culture and the ‘nest’ for Syriac youth and the Syriac people. 

The holy Mor Jacob of Sarug was born in 451 in the village of Kurtam on the Euphrates. He completed his theological and philosophical studies in the famous School in Edessa, that was founded by Ephrem the Syrian (303-373) after his flight from Nisibis. There he entered the monastic order, and at 22 he started his writing career before the 5 bishops present there.  Mor Jacob became Periodeut (Chorepiscopos) in Haura, Sarug in 503, and in 519, 2 years before his death, he was consecrated as bishop of the diocese of Batnan in Sarug, where he died on 29th of November 521, 70 years old. His relics were transported to Amid (now Diyarbakir) and laid to rest in the church named after him (next to the cathedral of the Mother of God). 

 Mor Jacob was a great theologian and poetical writer, who wrote 763 memre in 70 volumes, and many other works. Alongside the hymns of St Ephrem, many of his twelve-syllable meters have found their place in the Syriac liturgy. He was also known as the ‘Flute of the Holy Spirit’ and ‘Harp of the Church’. The Syriac Church remembers St Jacob of Sarug on 29th of November, the Armenian Church remembers him on 25th of September, and the Maronite Church on 5th of April. 

The newly consecrated Monastery of Mor Jacob of Sarug in the Westfalian city of Warburg was bought from the Dominicans of the (church-) province of ‘Teutonia’ on 28th of August 1996 by the Syriac Orthodox Church in Middle Europe for DM 1,9 million. It was then renovated on the inside, enlarging the rooms. The monastery has a church seating 400, 2 chapels, 66 furnished rooms, a large library area with reading and teaching rooms, 2 conference rooms, a refectory, a large communal kitchen, the bishop’s and administrative office, many visitor’s rooms and a large garden. The total surface area of the monastery is 22.456 m2. The founding history of the monastery, which has had several periods of building, dates back to the end of the 12th century. The current façade dates from the beginning of the 20th century. The interior was renovated in 1955-’56. 

Already in October 1997 the first celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the Aramaic language following the most ancient rite of the Syriac Orthodox Church took place in the Monastery of Mor Jacob of Sarug in the presence of the Patriarch of Antioch.  Then, the Patriarch was on an inofficial visit to Germany, and visited the monastery. The monastery has since the founding of the new diocese in Germany in 1997 been the residence of the diocesan bishop Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz and thus the centre of the Syrian Orthodox church in Germany.  In 1998 a theological seminary was founded here with 25 seminarists, who visit the German school and who are taught Syriac theology by the 3 monks and other teachers. There are 43 parishes in the Syrian Orthodox diocese of Germany, with 28 churchbuildings and around 60.000 Syrian Orthodox faithful. 

The pastoral visit of the Patriarch and the consecration of the Syriac monastery are the summit of the holy year 2000 in Germany. May the new monastery be a fortress of faith and trust for the homeless Arameans who have found a new home in Germany and also an ecumenical place of meeting for all christians in the new millennium. 

(Translation: Annabelle Parker)

At the beginning of the consecration. The monk Dayroyo Melke Ürek (Dayr Za’faran).

The iner of the Monastery Church

At the arrival of the Patriarch in the Monastery of Mor Jacob of Sarug. The holy Father blessed the faithful with the Cross. In the background Bishop Mor Severius Hava of Bagdad and Kasho Yusuf Harman.

The Patriarch in the historical city hall in Warburg with the apostolic pastoral staff.

The Patriarch and the Bishops during the consecration of the altar.

Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz anoints the ‘Royal Gate’ with the holy Myron.

The successor of the Apostle Peter, Patriarch of Antioch during his sermon. According to ancient Syriac tradition the Head gives his sermon with Cross and liturgical Crosier as symbol of the true Pastor.

The diocesan Bishop Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz during his sermon calls the Patriarch ‘Star of the East’ and continues: ‘Through him all Feasts and Celebrations become complete.

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Webmaster: Gabriel Rabo
Updated: 17.10.2000