Oriental Manuscripts Digital Documentation Center in Iraq celebrates renovation and new equipment

ERBIL, Iraq — On 30 January, a limited opening ceremony was held by the Oriental Manuscripts Digital Documentation Center (Centre Numerique Manuscrits Orientaux, CNMO) in Erbil, Iraq, to celebrate the rehabilitation of the center and its provision with advanced equipment for preserving, protecting, and storing manuscripts and archives.

The CNMO is one of the most prominent centers documenting the history of Christian and Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian heritage in Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia).

The event was attended by Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian clergymen and officials from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), non-governmental organizations, and project financer USAID ICRI-Ta’afi.

The CNMO houses about 8,000 written and printed books and manuscripts, in addition to documents dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Most of the documents are written in Syriac, but there are documents in Arabic, Latin, French, and others. The center has been digitizing materials in various subjects and languages. It also includes a large library of photos and audio recordings.

CNMO Director General and Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul and Aqrah, Archbishop Najeeb Mikhael, stated, “Digital photography is important for preserving manuscripts in their original form. These treasures are precious, and we do not allow official authorities to seize them due to the changing political situation, which might put them at risk.”