Mardin (Agenzia Fides) - A decree has ordered the full restitution of ecclesiastical assets scattered in the Mardin region to the Syriac Orthodox Church and that in 2017 had been placed under the control of Turkish public institutions.

The attorney of the Foundation of the Monastery of Mor Gabriel, announced that the matter was the subject of a decree. 30 ecclesiastical assets will be returned to the foundations and to the organisms linked to the Syriac-Orthodox Church which previously belonged to them. Among the assets that will definitively be returned to the control of the Syriac Orthodox Church there are the three monasteries of Mor Melki, Mor Yakup and Mor Dimet.

The shadow of a possible expropriation of the Syriac Orthodox church assets by the Turkish apparatuses had appeared in the 2016/2017 biennium, when those assets were placed under the direct control of the Undersecretariat for the Treasury, and seemed they were soon to be entrusted to the management of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet, a body linked directly to the Prime Minister). The operation was carried out at the end of the process with which Mardin had been transformed into a metropolitan municipality, and the consequent administrative reorganization of the territory had transformed the surrounding villages into as many neighborhoods in the metropolitan area. Faced with these developments, the Mor Gabriel Foundation, which runs the most important Syriac Orthodox monastery on Turkish land (see photo), in June 2017 had presented a petition to the civil court of Mardin to ask to stop the process of expropriation of Syriac-Orthodox churches, monasteries and cemeteries and their transfer under the direct control of Turkish governmental bodies. Turkey had denied any intention to expropriate 50 Christian churches and monasteries scattered around Mardin. The office of the governor of Mardin had declared to the Turkish media that the ownership and administrative management of the churches and monasteries in question still had to be legally defined, and in the meantime the ecclesiastical property will still be registered at the Treasury and will not end up under the control of Diyanet. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 13/2/2018)

Teachings of Christ

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things, unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye amid the other disciples, saying:"If, then, any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new" (2 Cor. 5:17). 

St. Gregory the Great