KHABUR: Village of Tel Tal celebrates patron saint day of Mar Odisho

TEL TAL, North and East Syria — The Syriac village of Tel Tal on the banks of the Khabur River, North and East Syria, celebrated the saint day of its village patron Mar Odisho.

Mar Odisho patron saint day is celebrated annually on August 6. On patron saint day villagers and believers normally spend a night in the church dedicated to their saint saying thanks and praying for health and prosperity. In native Eastern Syriac a patron saint day is called ‘Sahra’ or ‘Sahro’ in western Syriac.

However, since the great destruction in 2015 at the hands of terrorist organization the Islamic State and which impacted tremendously the Syriac (Assyrian-Chaldean-Aramean) villages in the Khabur, the number of attending and visiting faithful at the patron saint day of Mar Odisho was very low. With the advance of Islamic State in 2015, many Syriac villagers fled the Khabur valley to neighboring areas. Many did not return and some, unfortunately, emigrated further to Western countries.

History of the Church of the East relates several saints called Mar Odisho (native Syriac: ܥܒܕܝܝܫܘܥ ‘abd Isho or servant of Christ). One who lived as an anchorite in the fourth century in what is in current day northern Iraq and one Mar Odisho who was bishop of Sinjar and Bet ‘Arbaye in the 13th century. He was the author of the Marganitha or The book of the jewel, which is one of the most important ecclesiastical texts of the Ancient Church of the East and the Assyrian Church of the East.

Attempts to make the Khabur River Valley a canton for the Syriac (Assyrian-Chaldean-Aramean) people have so far remained unsuccessful.

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