Middle East

One of World's Oldest Monasteries May Lose Land Used for 1,600 Years

(UPDATED) Court rules that Turkish state may repossess most of Mor Gabriel's property.

Update (Feb. 27, 2014): Middle East Concern reports that this week, the monastery "received the title deeds to about 40% of the contested land," and is "continuing the legal process to regain the remaining 60% of the land under dispute, despite the Prime Minister's declaration [in Sept. 2013] that all the land would be returned."

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Update (January 14): The Mor Gabriel case is still pending, but last week Turkey made its largest return of seized Christian property in giving 470 acres back to a Greek Orthodox foundation whose Istanbul monastery trained current Patriarch Bartholomew.

The future of one of the world's oldest, functioning Christian monasteries may be in jeopardy.

The Supreme Court of Appeals in Ankara, Turkey, has ruled that the state treasury can repossess nearly 60 percent of the land belonging to Mor Gabriel. The legal controversy comes as Syriac Christians, who worship in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, return to revitalize ...

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