MARDIN, Turkey — On Friday, Syriac Catholic Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan continued his visit to Turkey on a tour of Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) archaeological and ecclesiastical areas.
The Patriarch visited the historic monastery of El-Zaafaran near the city of Mardin with his accompanying delegation and the Papal Ambassador in Turkey.
The Patriarch visited the Church of St. Ananias in the monastery and began with the tunes of the pontificate of the reception of the pontiffs, “To Beshalom”, presided over by the bishops and the clergy.
Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Mardin and Diyarbakir and head of El-Zaafaran Monastery Mar Felixinos Saliba Ozman, thanked the Patriarch for his visit, considering it a historic day for the monastery. The visit of the Patriarch brings hope for a bright future in the Syriac homeland, despite the hardship faced by the Churches in the East, he said.
The Patriarch also visited the town of Qal’at Mara, near Deir el-Zaafaran, where he prayed to God for thanks and held a service for the souls of the Church fathers and saints.
The welcoming words of the Patriarch indicated the importance of the town, which was in the past a fortress near Deir el-Zaafaran. Saint Hanania reportedly built the town, where a thousand families lived with three churches: Mart Shmoni, Mar Gerges, and Mar Iwanis.
In a speech he delivered from the town, the Patriarch stressed that despite the decrease in the number of Christians in the area, faith and hope in the Lord Christ increase determination and steadfastness.