Photographer's Note

The most important sanctuary representing the Syriacs in Mardin is Deyrulzafaran Monastery. Situated on a small hill 4-5 kilometers from the city, it takes its name from the saffron flowers and most certainly deserves to be called the pearl of Mardin with its magnificent and fascinating appearance.

The Syriac Assyrians are the heirs of ancient Mesopotamian communities dating back 5,000 years. After converting to Christianity, they maintained their lives in a slightly introverted way in different parts of the world, protecting their own religious and cultural values.

The monastery is still used today as a temple and school by the Syriacs.

Following the path of Ebraya, the Syriacs, whose population is around 350 today, live in the poetic city of Mardin in southeastern Anatolia. Protecting peace and ease, the Syriacs live in a Muslim society consisting of Arabs, Kurds and Turks with a serene spirit.

The monastery, built by sun worshippers in the fifth century A.D., was first built as a small underground temple. Later, the monotheists finalized the monastery. Mar leymun, a priest, was mentioned as the founder of the monastery in the historical process.

Following the transition to monotheistic religion, Deyrulzafaran became one of the first churches of the Christian world in Anatolia. The church in Antakya, the first center of Christianity, was carried to Mardin due to Byzantium raids, and the 8th Patriarch, Mor Diyonosiyos, also came to Deyrulzafaran during that period. This led to the creation of a patriarchate there, and Deyrulzafaran was accepted as the center of all the patriarchates from 1116-32. Today, the monastery still carries the marks of history and hosts 36 tombs belonging to Syriac metropolitan bishops and patriarchs. Until the mid-1960s, soldiers and metropolitans were buried one above the other in the area divided into seven separate grave rooms. Today, Filüksinos Saliba Özmen serves as Mardin Metropolitan.

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Additional Photos by Deniz Taskin (rigoletto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3085 W: 400 N: 6725] (34279)
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