Mar Behnam Monastery
Entrance of the monastery
|Order||Syriac Catholic Church|
|Dedicated to||Mar Behnam, Mart Sara|
|Location||near Beth Khdeda|
Monastery of the Martyrs Saint Behnam and his Sister Sarah (Syriac: ܕܝܪܐ ܪܡܪܝ ܒܗܢܡ ܘܡܪܬ ܣܪܐ, Arabic: دير مار بهنام, Mar Behnam Monastery), is a Syriac Catholic monastery in northern Iraq close to the town of Beth Khdeda.
The monastery, after its establishment continued its work and contributed greatly to the Christian world under the care of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Sculptures in the church show that renovations were done in 1164 and between 1250-1261. Records show that the monastery suffered greatly during the period from 1743 - 1790 which was due to attacks carried out by Nader Shah the then muslim ruler of Persia against the Christians in the region.
In 1790 the monastery was taken over by the Catholic Church and was managed for 8 years until the Syriac Orthodox church took it back. For some unknown reason, the monks abandoned the monastery in 1819. The monastery changed hands again to the Syriac Catholic Church in 1839, which has cared for it to present time.
The monastery belonged to the Church of the East for at least 10 centuries, which is attested to by rare Turkic inscriptions from the 13th century left by Mongol pilgrims. Before turning to the hand of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the whole region converted to Monophysitism and the monastery became the residence as well as the resting place of a number of Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs.
The monastery was renovated in 1986, and is visited by thousands of Christians and Muslims yearly.
During the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive, jihadist troops of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant took control of the monastery. The monks were threatened with execution and were expelled with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
- بهنام وسارة, الصرح والتاريخ, Bakhdida.com (Arabic)
- دير مار بهنام الشهيد في مدينة الموصل بالعراق, CopticCatholic.com (Arabic)
- Girgio Bernadelli (June 11, 2014). "The new plight of Christians in Mosul". Vatican Insider. La Stampa. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
- Hawramy, Fazel (24 July 2014). "Iraqi Christians in Mosul told by Isis to convert to Islam or be executed". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
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