At the invitation of th Committee of Culture and Education more than 60 teachers of the Syrian-Orthodox Diocese of Germany gathered in the Monastery of Mor Jakub of Sarug on 13th of May 1999. Among them there were also some priests who also work as teachers. The Gathering took place under the patronage of the Diocesan Bishop, Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz and was moderated and lead by the Chairman of the Committee, Gabriel Rabo. Four lectures were delivered about Syriac Spirituality, Religious Education, Schools and Liturgy.
Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz was the first to speak about Syrian Monasticism. In this, he stressed points about monastic spirituality and its effect in the Syrian Church. Aslan Demir, a Religious Education teacher from Heilbronn, explained in his contribution about didactical methodological Religious Education in State Schools, on how the Christian faith and tradition can best be transmitted to schoolpupils. Dayroyo Hanna Aydin, theologian and abbot of the Monastery, spoke about education in the former Syriac schools, like Antioch, Nisibis and Edessa, and their meaning for the Syrian Church and for the peoples of Mesopotamia. Following, Gabriel Rabo, Ph.D student in Theology, held his lecture about the development of the Syriac liturgy and its inheritance in the Diaspora. In this, he pointed out that many customs of the ancient church liturgy, which the Syriacs practise in their homeland and first of all in Tur'Abdin, are regrettably neglected. He mentioned that the conservation and passing on of the Syriac tradition from the homeland is the duty of priests and Religious Education teachers.
The meeting of Syriac teachers was the first in the history of the Syrian Dioceses in the European Diaspora. The aim of this gathering was an introduction into further education for Syriac teachers in the Syriac and Staterun schools in Germany. This was one of the seven points of the Culture- and Education programme, that was proposed by the Chairman of the Committee after the creation of the Diocesan council.
activity of the Committee was a pilgrimage of the senior members of the
Diocese to Jerusalem. 30 Pilgrims, Maqdshoye or 'Muqsiye',
took part at Easter 1999, accompanied by a member of the Committee (Iskender
Can, Leimen). The studytrip to Tur 'Abdin, that was planned for July/August
1999, for students and adolescents, was cancelled this year because of
the current critical situation in Turkey.