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Syriac Theology Newsletter 06.05.2020- No 4

Dear Reader,

We welcomed our third intake of MA students in October and have enjoyed visits so far from Prof. Dr. Herman Teule, Dr. Robert Kitchen and Dr. Kees den Biesen. We are also very pleased to welcome Dr. Andreas Schmoller as post doc researcher specialising in diaspora studies. Our congratulations also to Dr. Ephrem Aboud Ishac who received a senior postdoc fellowship from Fscire (John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies), Bologna, and will continue to teach Syriac liturgy in Salzburg. To read the Syriac version of our newsletter, please click on the attachment above.

We wish you all the best for a happy Christmas and a joyous and peaceful 2018.
Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho




Announcing scholarships

Applications are now being received for the MA in Syriac Theology starting in October 2018. The MA is taught by many leading international scholars in English. Some part scholarships are available from the Syriac Insitute and the Syriac Theological Seminary Salzburg. For further infomation contact: mast@sbg.ac.at

The Patriarch and Syriac Theology in Berlin

Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho, along with Dr. Gabriel Rabo, met HH Mor Ignatius Aphrem II at the conference: “Old Oriental-Evangelical Theological Dialogue”, organised by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) from 20th-21st October 2017 in Berlin. HH Mor Ignatius Aphrem II was given the latest updates about the study programme in Syriac Theology and the student house Beth Suryoye. In the year of commemorating the Reformation, HE Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Chairman of the council of the EKD, cordially invited the hierarchies of the Oriental Orthodox Churches for an ecumenical dialogue and prayer. During the conference Prof. Dr. Shemunkasho presented a paper on "Syriac Theological Education in Salzburg". Read more.

Prof. Dr. Herman Teule

We were fortunate in being able to welcome Prof. Dr. Herman Teule as one of our visiting lecturers this semester. Prof. Dr. Teule has been lecturing on Syriac Christianity in 20th - 21st centuries, looking at the complex historical and current developments. In addition, lecturing on the Syriac Renaissance including Bar-Hebraeus, Michael the Great and Abdisho bar Brika. Prof. Teule's course offers students a great opportunity to reflect about the situation of Syriac Christians in the Middle East since the end of the Ottoman empire.


Surviving in the diaspora

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Andreas Schmoller as post doc researcher under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho. His project “Syriac Christianity - Creative Options for Diaspora Futures”, will explore different fields of Syriac diaspora life which aims to gain a better understanding of how Syriac Christians negotiate their survival within different contexts such as the church, family, relations with their “homeland”, host country and the digital world. Dr. Schmoller commented: "This timely project offers great scope to contribute to the emerging field of studies on Middle Eastern Christian diasporas". Read more.

Focus on the students.....via Tur Abdin to Salzburg

Students choose to study theology in Salzburg for a variety of reasons. Lukas Üstün a new student from Germany, explained his motivation: “My interest in God, the church and the Syriac language has grown enormously since I spent a month in the summer of 2015 at St Gabriel’s monastery in Tur Abdin and that is why I decided to study theology.

I chose Salzburg because of the great opportunity to live in a community, Beth Suryoye, where I have the chance to improve my knowledge of Syriac and enjoy daily prayers. After my BA I would very much like to do the MA in Syriac Theology as I would like to work later within the Syriac church.”


Beth Suryoye

Renovations have gone ahead in Beth Suryoye, including a new kitchen and the use of another floor of student rooms to accommodate up to 8 more students. We are looking forward to beginning work on a larger dining room and study room, to be completed by Easter. Fr. Gabriel, Spiritual Father of Beth Suryoye said: "It is exciting to see the house in Beth Suryoye taking shape and offering the growing student community proper access to Syriac spirituality through studying and praying together".

Winter Semester Events 2017...

25th-26th September 2017: Initiative Christlicher Orient (ICO) conference with Pro Oriente, Salzburg: "Umbrüche im Nahen Osten", moderated by Prof. Dr. Winkler and Prof. Dr. Shemunkasho.

6th-8th October 2017: 2 Internationaler-Sirach-Kongress Eichstätt University, moderators included Dr. Gabriel Rabo.

27th-30th October 2017: Symposium über die sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung zu den Aramäern: Christian societies of Aramean tradition, Goethe University, Frankfurt. Paper presented by Dr. Andreas Schmoller: "The Syriac Orthodox Church in Austria: The role of religious networks in a diaspora context."

31st October-1st November 2017: Research meeting into co-operation between theological colleges in Glane, Netherlands; between Syriac Theology, the University of Salzburg, the Free University of Amsterdam, St Ignatius Centre in Stockholm, the Syrian Orthodox patriarchate in Damascus and St Ephrem’s Monastery. Prof. Dr. Shemunkasho chaired the session on: "Priestly education in a post/modern world" and presented the MA with students from Salzburg.

13th-15th November 2017:Conference on "The History of Ecumenism during the 19th-20th centuries", Bologna, organised by the Foundation of John XXIII . Dr. Ephrem Aboud Ishac presented a paper: "The Churches of Syria in their Ecumenical Experience".

17th-19th November 2017: Koranische Zugänge zu Jesus Christus aus der perspektive Komparativer Theologie DFG project with Münster and Paderborn universities, Deutschland. Prof. Dr. Shemunkasho presented a paper: "Christology in the 7th century" in response to research on approaching Jesus Christ through the Koran using methods of comparative theology.

26th November 2017: "Current research in Syriac Theology", presentation by Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho in Giesen to members of Kano Suryoyo Hessen.


Forthcoming Events

12th December 2017: Christmas songs and celebration, Beth Suryoye.

23rd January 2018: Prof. Dr. Shemunkasho to present paper: "Current situation of the Christians in Syria", Stift Lambach, Austria.

7th-8th February 2018: "Severus of Antioch and his Search for the Unity of the Church: 1500 Years Commemoration of his Exile in 518", conference in Salzburg organised by Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho.

27th February-1st March 2018: Pro Oriente Commission for Ecumenical Encounter between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church (CEE) meeting in Vienna.

28th February-2nd March 2018: Conference: Arguing against Logical reasoning and arguments in religious controversies (8th-10th centuries), Vienna University, session on the Syriac tradition to be chaired by Prof. Dr. Shemunkasho.