Readings in the 20th Century Genocide of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (Sayfo)

Boutros Touma Issa, Theodora Issa, Ph.D., Touma Issa, Ph.D., Tomayess Issa, Ph.D. and  Theodore Issa, FCPA, CA
Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia

Series: Religion and Society
BISAC: REL049000



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This book, authored by family members who were originated in Mesopotamia, and are members of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, strives to provide a brief historical background on the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, her dogma, her ancient sacred language (Syriac/Aramaic), and persecution including 1915 Genocide (Sayfo) which might also be referred to as (SAYFO/SEPA/SWORD ܣܝܦܐ).

This book endeavours to bring to light a historical account of the inhabitants of the ancient land of Mesopotamia, leading to the events that resulted in several persecutions of these original people of the land, specifically during the “Syriac Genocide” (Sayfo) of 1915 (SAYFO/SEPA/SWORD ܣܝܦܐ). The authors derive from diverse sources, including some ancient rare manuscripts that have not been, to date, translated into English from Syriac/Aramaic; supported by evidence derived from some of what has been translated into English, including personal accounts. In this book, the authors highlight the number of people who were massacred and those who were forced to leave their Christian faith and convert, including members of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, showing the unpleasant face of persecution and Genocide against people who are accredited of their huge positive impact on the World’s Civilization.

This book commences with a brief historical background on the origin of Christianity in the East, and the historical background of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, leading to an explanation of the atrocities at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, providing a backdrop to allow an understanding of the context at the time, concluding with some insights of the atrocities in the 21st century against the same people in parts of the Middle East and around the world. The book provides a brief account of the courageous actions taken by patriarchs, other clergy, and lay people to face such atrocities. The authors briefly examine some of the events that took place leading to the main Genocide of 1915, the “Syriac Genocide” (Sayfo) (SAYFO/SEPA/SWORD ܣܝܦܐ), or what has been dubbed as “The Forgotten Genocide”. The book concludes with some events that took place in the 21st century which were mainly derived from the ongoing incidents that affected the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and her community in the Middle East and around the world.

The image on the front cover of this book is taken from a handwritten manuscript that was written in 1478 in Syriac/Aramaic. This manuscript was the property of the father of the main author and the parental grandfather of the other co-authors, the ܡܫܡܫܢܐ ܐܘܢܓܠܝܐ (Mshamshono Ewangeloyo) “Full Deacon Touma Issa Sr.” (his full name is Touma bar Issa Dbeath Khoshaba Maryya). His vast knowledge in Syriac/Aramaic language, and his reticence in the Syriac Ecclesiastical melodies and hymns led him to teach these two topics for some forty years, thus, and due to his immense knowledge and tireless services to the Holy Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, he was ordained by the Archbishop then as a ܡܫܡܫܢܐ ܐܘܢܓܠܝܐ (Mshamshono Ewangeloyo) (i.e. Full Deacon) at the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch on 15th July 1901. May his soul rest in peace.

List of Figures

List of Tables

Presentation of This Book

About the Authors



Acknowledgments by the Authors

Chapter 1. The Origin and Expansion of Christianity in the Land of the East Including an Insight into the Dogma of the Syriac Orthodox Church: A Syriac (Aramaic) Perspective

Chapter 2. The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Holy Bible and the Miracles: The Case of the Syriac (Aramean) Saint and Historian St. John (Mor Youhanon) of Ephesus

Chapter 3. The 1915 Syriac Genocide ‘SAYFO/SEPA/SWORD,’ ‘The Forgotten Genocide’ ܣܝܦܐ In Mesopotamia

Chapter 4. The Centenary of Sayfo (Genocide) (1915-2015)

Chapter 5. The Patriarchs of the 20th and 21st Century and the Sayfo ܣܝܦܐ(Genocide)

Chapter 6. Genocide is Ongoing in the 21st Century and the Patriarch H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch Of Antioch And All The East, The Supreme Head Of The Universal Syriac Orthodox Church Wept ܘܦܛܪܝܪܟܐ ܒܟòܐ…

Chapter 7. Conclusion



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