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Syriac Theology Newsletter 06.05.2020

Dear Readers,

The highlight of the winter semester was welcoming HH Mor Ignatius Aphrem II to our conference on Mor Severus and celebrating Sebastian Brock's rich contribution to Syriac studies over half a century. Two further MA students graduated and four of our students presented conference papers in Bologna as part of the Bologna Syriac Day at the European Academy of Religion.

We wish you all a happy Easter with the joy of the resurrection.
Aho Shemunkasho




MA Scholarships available - Apply Now!

Syriac Theology is now welcoming applications for its MA programme here at Salzburg university for which some scholarships are available. For a brief insight into the MA watch our short film. Some scholarships are available from the Syriac Theological Seminary Salzburg (STSS) see. The deadline for scholarship applications is 15.4.2018.

HH Mor Ignatius Aphrem II opens international symposium in Salzburg

HH Mor Ignatius Aphrem II opened the symposium on "Severus of Antioch and his search for the unity of the Church", 7-9th February in Salzburg, organised by Prof. Aho Shemunkasho and Dr Ephrem Aboud Ishac. Among others, welcoming speeches were given by HE Dr Franz Lackner, Archbishop of Salzburg, HE Mor Polycarpus Augin Aydin, Patriarchal Vicar in Holland and Martina Berthold, Minister for Education, Science and Integration, Land Salzburg. Equally greetings from HH Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church were delivered. Theologians and experts from Europe, the USA, Israel and Australia took part in the two day conference which focussed on Mor Severus' indefatigable work for the reunification of the Church. Read more. Following the opening ceremony speakers and delegates attended ramsho prayer.

HE Archbishop Lackner and HH Mor Ignatius Aphrem II praise unity

"This conference is a further step to unity of our churches" announced HH Mor Ignatius Aphrem II on opening the Severus symposium. These words were echoed by HE Archbishop Dr Franz Lackner who hoped that the conference and visit would "strengthen the relationship between our Churches", and commented that the MA in Syriac Theology enables students to "learn the richness of our common faith, including the language and culture of our Lord Jesus Christ". Read more.

Sebastian Brock celebrated

Syriac Theology was delighted to welcome Prof. Sebastian Brock to the conference on Severus and to honour him for his life long work in Syriac Studies. "The Syriac heritage owes much to Sebastian Brock and, as in the old adage "all roads lead to Rome", all aspects of Syriac studies lead one way or another to Sebastian Brock. His voluminous work on Syriac, and related fields, is unique in our modern times." *(See below).

HH Mor Aphrem Ignatius II honored Prof. Sebastian Brock who will shortly celebrate his 80th birthday, with a token of appreciation for his dedication to Syriac Studies.


MA Syriac Theology student lands top job!

Congratulations to Christoph Paar, one of our MA students on his appointment as "Zeremoniär" and advisor to HE Dr Franz Lackner, Archbishop of Salzburg, on January 8th 2018. The role is however not entirely new to Mr Paar, having previously served HE Bishop Egon Kapellari in Graz for two years as master of ceremonies. A busy man, not only is he in the process of completing his doctorate on Mor Augin and his MA in Syriac Theology, but Christoph is also a qualified skiing instructor and plays the piano. On his appointment he commented: "It is an honour to serve and assist the archbishop in his manifold work. " Read more.

MA graduate to teach in Eqypt

Congratulations to MA graduate Fr. Zakka Labib from the Coptic Church, who will return to Egypt to teach Hebrew, Coptic and hopefully Syriac at the Coptic Theological Seminary in Cairo. Fr. Zakka explained: "After spending time at St Ephrem's seminary in Damascus, I came to Salzburg to continue my studies. I realised that the Coptic tradition is also preserved in Syriac translation and that many patristic texts that have been lost in the original Greek can be found in Syriac. The school of Salzburg is unique with great professors and teachers who are specialists in Syriac". Fr. Zakka is translating Alexandrian patristic works for the first time from Syriac into Arabic. We wish him all the best.

Student success at Syriac Day in Bologna - "Yawmo Suryoyo d-Bologna"

MA students were extremely well represented at the first annual European Academy of Religion conference, in Bologna on 7th March. Topics covered included "Syriac as the third lung of Christianity" and "The Syriac Presence in Europe today". The panels were moderated by Dr Ephrem Aboud Ishac, who organised the day with the universities of Bologna, Graz and Salzburg, and Dr Andreas Schmoller. Papers were presented by Dr Andreas Schmoller, Dr Gabriel Rabo along with 3 current MA students and one MA graduate. Concluding the day students were pleased to listen to Dr. Melonie Schmierer-Lee (Cambridge University and representative of Georgias Press), who spoke about the Genizah project.

New STSS board elected - Beth Suryoye

Congratulations to the new committee of the Syriac Theological Seminary Salzburg (STSS) elected at its AGM held on 24.3.2018 at St Ephrem's monastery in Holland organised by HE Mor Polycarpus. The STSS is in charge of running Beth Suryoye and financing the students. Since 2015 STSS has made it possible for 20 students to live and study in Beth Suryoye. On his recent visit to Salzburg, Mor Ignatius Aphrem II commented on; “the success of Beth Suryoye in fulfilling its mission of promoting Syriac Studies and preparing future generations of clergy, scholars and teachers for the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch in Europe and elsewhere".

Winter Semester Activities

23rd November 2017: Syrien - Bürgerkrieg zwischen Konfessionen, seminar organised by the Afro-Asiatisches Institut, KHG Salzburg and the Friedensbüro Salzburg. Papers presented by Prof Shemunkasho and Dr Andreas Schmoller.

23rd January 2018: "Current situation of the Christians in Syria", paper presented by Prof Shemunkasho at Stift Lambach, where the MA students thoroughly enjoyed their visit and were most warmly welcomed by Abt Mag. Maximilian Neulinger OSB.

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.

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, paper presented outlining the MA in Syriac Theology and Beth Suryoye by Prof. Shemunkasho.


Forthcoming Events

19th April 2018: Prayer for peace in Syria in commemoration of Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim (Syrian Orthodox) and Mor Boulos Yazigi (Greek Orthodox), 18:00 Beth Suryoye, followed by Agape. Sermon to be given by Dr Martin Illert EKD Berlin. Everyone welcome.

25th May 2018: Lange Nacht der Kirche „Syrisch-orthodoxe Vesper in der Sprache Jesu" prayers at 19:30-20:30 in Beth Suryoye. Everyone welcome.

30th May-2nd June 2018: 10. Deutscher Syrologentag , Berlin. Papers to be presented by Prof. Shemunkasho and Dr Ephrem Aboud Ishac.

12th-15th June 2018: The Future of Syriac Studies and the legacy of Sebastian Brock conference, St Ignatius Centre, Sweden. Papers to be presented by Prof Shemunkasho, Dr Gabriel Rabo and Dr Ephrem Aboud Ishac.

22nd-24th June 2018: Conference on "The refugee crisis from the perspective of the oriental Christian", organised by Salzburg University, Syriac Theology with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung - including services in Beth Suryoye. Speakers include Prof. Thomas Schirrmacher, stellv. Generalsekretär der Weltweiten Evangelischen Allianz und Präsident des Internationalen Rates der Internationalen Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte.

9th-12th July 2018: Pro Oriente Summer School; “The World Council of Churches (WCC) - Commemorating 70 Years of Ecumenism”, Vienna. Moderated by Prof. Dietmar W. Winkler.