Mike Aquilina

Saving the Monastery

Friday June 19th 2009, 9:18 pm

While I was in Israel, Reuters reported on the happy resolution of a nasty situation I blogged on some time back.

Christian monastery in Turkey wins back land

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – One of the world’s oldest functioning Christian monasteries has won a legal battle to have land it had owned for centuries restored to it, after a Turkish court ruled on Friday it could not be claimed by the state.

The dispute over the boundaries of Mor Gabriel, a fifth-century Syriac Orthodox monastery in eastern Turkey, had raised concerns over freedom of religion and human rights for non-Muslim minorities in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country and European Union aspirant.

In a statement, the Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA), a leading Syriac group based in Sweden, said a Turkish court in Midyat had reversed an initial decision by the land registry court to grant villages some 110 hectares (272 acres) of monastery land.