November 11, 2010 by paul likoudis
Here’s his monastery…built in the Fourth Century, in front of the cave he lived in.
In a land of divisions, St. Matthew’s Monastery tries to seal the cracks
By Maher Al Mashhadani
MOSUL – About 35 Km Northeast of Mosul, in a wooded hill high up in the Maqloub mountains, the Saint Matthew’s Monastery has been working to sow the seeds of unity in a land long divided along ethnic and religious lines.
The dialogue among religions occupies an important space at this time, when struggle amongst doctrines and religions has produced terrible conflict. In the recent past we have seen differences between Muslims and Sheikhs resulting in bloody wars in India, and conflict between Catholic and Protestant in places around the world.
According to a priest from Saint Mathew Monastery “The relationships between Muslims and Christians especially in this country are wonderful and we haven’t found maltreatment from the Muslims in our life. Although there is some misunderstanding, it doesn’t create bad effects in many cases. One of the specialists of the Islamic law college visited us before, and we benefited from the conversation with him.
These things rarely happen in other places. This relates to the consciousness of the Iraqi people and the depth of their civilization.”
Saint Matthew Monastery is an Assyrian Monastery belonging to the Orthodox Church. Saint Matthew was born in a village called Abjer Shat in the north of Amad city in Diyar Baker in Turkey.
He became a monk at the time of the persecution. St Matthew emigrated to Iraq and lived in Caves in Al Maqluub mountain about 35 Km to the northeast of Mosul city which was named St. Mathew mountain.
The Monastery was built in the fourth century by the help of St. Matthew who did a miracle and healed the king Sanhareeb’s daughter (Sarah) who was suffering from leprosy.
This Monastery has passed through various periods, from the foundation at the time of Persians, the Islamic Message period, the Tatars time, and the Ottomans period.
“The Monastery has a big holiday on 14th September. Christians come to this place to commemorate the day of Marmattees death – the founder of the Monastery. Though its faraway, thousands of people come here yearly” said the priest, Bahnam.
The priest went on to say that “We are the Surianics in Iraq and have rights in Slaughterhouse in Jerusalem, as we have also in the Virgin Mary Church in Al Zaiton mountain, the Resurrection Church, and Al Sso’od Church in Jordan.
If we want the Slaughterhouse to stay for us and will never present it to another doctrine, we must present our duty for it in the holydays.
” So I went with the friar father to Jerusalem to present the ceremonies in order to keep our rights and through these ceremonies the priest came and gave us the bread of pleasing which is distributed usually in Mass. But it was said that you mustn’t give them this bread, they are not Catholic. “Although we are Christian, we trust in that statement which says “that religion is for God and the Homeland for all” said priest Samaqchi.
Yes that was the statement of Salah Aldine in his conquest of Jerusalem centuries before, although he was the conqueror and the victorious.
And we must know that Mosul consists of Muslims, Christians, Armans and Yazeediah religions.
So although these are unnatural circumstances and there is a bad security situation in this country, still the relationship between the different religions seems to have hope.