Syrian conflict targets historic Christian city where Aramaic is still spoken - New York News

Syrian conflict targets historic Christian city where Aramaic is still spoken

Updated:

By: Matthew Brown, WorldNow

Last month, news reports indicated Syrian rebels had taken the historic village of Maaloula, forcing many of its Christian residents to flee.

Many reports focused on how the battle over Maaloula and a key road in the region has "thrown a spotlight on the deep-seated fears that many of Syria's religious minorities harbor about the growing role of Islamic extremists on the rebel side in the civil war against President Bashar Assad's regime."

But a few other accounts highlighted the city's historical significance.

"High in the mountains above Damascus lies a town so remote that Syria's war had passed it by, so untouched by time that its inhabitants still speak the language of Jesus," stated a report in the Washington Post. "The violence ravaging the rest of Syria has finally caught up with Maaloula, renowned as the oldest Christian community in the world - and the last in which the same version of Aramaic that prevailed 2,000 years ago is the native tongue."

The Post reported the few residents who remained city, which is home to two of the oldest surviving monasteries in Syria, include a group of Catholic sisters staying in the ancient Mar Takla nunnery.

"The monks had fled from their nearby monastery months ago, and even the last two priests who oversaw the affairs of Maaloula's ancient Mar Takla nunnery took buses out of town last week, leaving the nuns of Maaloula to fend for themselves as the fighters closed in."

The Associated Press offered a summary of the growth and decline of the Aramaic language through the centuries:

ANCIENT ROOTS: Aramaic is part of the language family that includes Hebrew and was widely used during the time of Roman conquest in the Holy Land and, many scholars believe, likely the main language of Jesus Christ. Some parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are written in a form of Aramaic, which had many dialects.

DECLINE: Aramaic use began to fall off as other languages - such as Arabic - dominated with the spread of Islam beginning in the 8th century. Aramaic retained a role in the liturgies of some branches of Eastern Christianity.

CURRENT USE: Forms of Aramaic are used in small communities around the Middle East, including Assyrians and Chaldean Christians, but it is considered to be under threat because of emigration and the pressures from dominant languages such as Arabic and Turkish.

Christianity Today compiled a roundup of links reporting on efforts to save the language, including a government-supported program to revive and preserve Aramaic, which began in 2007 so that elders of Maaloula could continue to teach the language to their children.

"Other efforts to revive the ancient Semitic language spoken by Jesus include research by linguists to document and preserve Aramaic, as well as Christians in Israel campaigning for its revival," the website reported.

More Stories

New report says Syrian rebels committed war crimes

Top Syrian general killed in battle

Syrian rebels urge rival groups to end infighting


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective wounded; fugitive killed in Manhattan

    2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective wounded; fugitive killed in Manhattan

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:27 AM EDT2014-07-29 12:27:36 GMT
    Two deputy U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective are expected to recover after they were seriously wounded in a shootout with a fugitive sexual assault suspect in the West Village in Manhattan, officials said. The shootout happened in smoke shop called Smoking Culture on West 4th Street near Jones Street.


    Two deputy U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective are expected to recover after they were seriously wounded in a shootout with a fugitive sexual assault suspect in the West Village in Manhattan, officials said. The shootout happened in smoke shop called Smoking Culture on West 4th Street near Jones Street.

  • Report: Connecticut averages 14 domestic homicides a year

    Report: Connecticut averages 14 domestic homicides a year

    A new report shows Connecticut each year averages about 14 homicides committed by intimate partners. The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic violence examined deaths that occurred between 2000 and 2012. Between those years, there were 162 female victims and 26 male victims. Most of the perpetrators, 166, were male, 166. Twenty-two were female.
    A new report shows Connecticut each year averages about 14 homicides committed by intimate partners. The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic violence examined deaths that occurred between 2000 and 2012. Between those years, there were 162 female victims and 26 male victims. Most of the perpetrators, 166, were male, 166. Twenty-two were female.
  • Former swim coach pleads guilty to sex assault

    Former swim coach pleads guilty to sex assault

    A former swim coach and math teacher at Staples High School in Westport has pleaded guilty to raping two pre-teen girls. The Connecticut Post reports that 44-year-old Jeffrey Schare pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of first-degree sexual assault and other charges. He faces eight years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 3. Police say the assaults took place over a three-year period.
    A former swim coach and math teacher at Staples High School in Westport has pleaded guilty to raping two pre-teen girls. The Connecticut Post reports that 44-year-old Jeffrey Schare pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of first-degree sexual assault and other charges. He faces eight years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 3. Police say the assaults took place over a three-year period.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices