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Syriac Theology Newsletter 06.05.2020- No. 3

Dear Reader,

We look back on an eventful second year of the MA in Syriac Theology here in Salzburg. The first students are qualifiying this summer and we wish them all the best for the future. Many visiting scholars were welcomed including Prof. Dr. Shabo Talay, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Brock, and Dr. George Kiraz. The next academic year with its new intake of students begins on 2nd October 2017. Applications can still be submitted: applications.

We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter.
Aho Shemunkasho




Malphone d-Malphone - Dr. Sebastian Brock in Salzburg

Students studying Syriac Theology in Salzburg are very privileged to be taught by Prof. Dr. Sebastian Brock, often termed Malphone d-Malphone who explained why he enjoys teaching here: "It is always a great pleasure meeting the students with their varied backgrounds each time I come to teach in Salzburg; it is also a valuable challenge for me, to try to convey, in a way meaningful to them, the complicated issues of Christology, controversy over which led to the threefold split in Eastern Christianity; and to suggest how best to approach and understand the different positions".

Dr. Shabo Talay - Aramaic

Syriac Theology was pleased to welcome Prof. Dr. Shabo Talay (Freie Universität Berlin), teaching on the linguistic history of Aramaic and the modern Aramaic languages still spoken by the Syriac Christians of the Middle East. Prof. Dr. Talay commented; "The students of Syriac theology got an overview and explanation of the relations between Classical Syriac and the Neo-Aramaic languages called Surit and Surayt respectively. Modern Aramaic is a continuation of the ancient Aramaic language – famous as the language of Jesus – with a distinguished cultural and linguistic history over a period of more than 3,000 years".

Can you learn Aramaic online?

The answer is yes! You can start learning Surayt today. Surayt is a Neo-Aramaic language, traditionally spoken by Syriac Christians in different countries in the Middle East and among a worldwide diaspora, and classified as ‘severely endangered’ by UNESCO, because of the emigration or expulsion of its speakers from their native areas. Thanks to co-ordination between the EU Erasmus+ Programme, Freie Universität Berlin (coordinator), University of Bergen, University of Cambridge, Leipzig University and St Ephrem Syriac Monastery (NL) the Aramaic-Online Project has been working since 2014 developing an online course and new language learning materials in Turoyo Aramaic, called Surayt. For more information and the chance to learn Surayt online see.

Dr. George Kiraz - Digital humanities online Syriac resources

Students of Syriac theology enjoyed a surprise and stimulating visit by Dr. George Kiraz from Beth Mardutho who informed them about digital humanities and new developments in Syriac online resources including the online Syriac dictionary, Sedra, the Beth Gazo mobile App and text addition and an ecumenical Peshitta bible study project.

Where are the MA students going?

As the first group of MA students finish writing their Master Thesis, some outlined their future plans including: Fr. Zakka Labib who will return to Egypt to teach at the Coptic Theological Seminary in Cairo; Panagiota Mikropandremenou has chosen to continue her studies doing a PhD at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki concentrating on East Syriac authors, Christoph Paar has also chosen to do a doctorate at Graz University on Mor Awgin and Noahin Markose is returning to Kerala in India to train as a priest at the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary. We wish all the MA students the best for the future.

(Photo: Final mass before summer recess at Beth Suryoye with Mor Polycarpus from Holland).

Beth Suryoye

The Syriac Theological Seminary Salzburg (STSS) committee in charge of the student house, Beth Suryoye, met with the Archbishop of Salzburg Dr. Franz Lackner OFM and members of the archdiocese at the end of June to discuss the renovation of the house. The committee lead by Mor Polycarpus, took the opportunity to meet with all current students to exchange information and discuss progress made in their studies. The association (STSS) is currently supporting 10 students to study Syriac Theology and is entirely dependent on donations. For further information on Beth Suryoye, the STTS and details of how to support their work see.

Summer Semester Events 2017

15th January: Media appearances included Dr. Gabriel Rabo on Suryoyo Sat TV speaking about: "Adiyaman und die Umgebung aus kirchengeschichtlicher Sicht aus den syrischen Quellen".

27th-28th April: Dr. Ephrem Ishac presented a paper Late Syriac Anaphoras: Maphrian Basilius Abd Al-Ghani's Anaphora as an Example at The Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) at the symposium: Anaphora in Syriac Rites.

28th-30th April: Conference on "The refugee crisis from the perspective of the oriental Christian", organised by Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho in co-operation with the department of Biblical Studies and Church History, ZECO (Zentrum zur Erforschung des Christlichen Ostens) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung - including services in Beth Suryoye. For more read.

5th-6th May: "Reichtum des Christlichen Orients und seiner Gefährdung", Gesellschaft zum Studium des Christlichen Ostens conference, papers presented by Prof. Dr. Dietmar Winkler, Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho and Dr. Andreas Schmoller, University of Salzburg.

18th May: Lecture by Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho entitled; Mor Philoxenus Yuhanna Dolabani (1885-1969): ein Vater syrisch-orthodoxer Spiritualität im 20. Jahrhundert", at the University of Göttingen.

9th June: Beth Suryoye opened its doors once again to welcome visitors to the Lange Nacht der Kirche where vespers were sung in Aramaic.


Forthcoming Events...

25th-26th September 2017: Initiative Christlicher Orient (ICO) conference with Pro Oriente Salzburg and St Virgil Salzburg: Umbrüche im Nahen Osten.

20th-21st October 2017: conference "Zukunft des Christentums im Nahen Osten" organised by the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland (EKD), Berlin

27th-30th October 2017: Frankfurt "Symposium über die sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung zu den Aramäern" Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho presenting paper.

17th-19th November 2017: Koranische Zugänge zu Jesus Christus aus der perspektive Komparativer Theologie Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Münster, Deutschland. Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho to lead a workshop.