Aramean people: Aramean people (not to be confused with ‘Armenians’) speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Abraham, Moses and Jesus. They are the indigenous people of what was called in ancient times Aram- Nahrin, in our days it is called ‘Mesopotamia’.

Some Arameans today identify themselves with “Assyrians”, because of the spiritual colonial hate generating activities of the Western missionaries and diplomats in the Middle-East in 16th and 19th centuries. Other Arameans became known as “Chaldeans”. However all of them are Arameans.

Exhibition on Tur Abdin: The heartland of the Aramean nation.

Dutch Version

On 28th of September 2010, the head of Anglican Church, the archbishop of Canterbury, Mr. Rowan Williams opened a exhibition on the Arameans of Tur Abdin. It lasted until 18th of October 2010.

The Exhibition was held in Southwark Cathedral in London where photos of Giulio Paletta on Tur Abdin were shown to the public. Various diplomats and dignitaries have visited the exhibition.


Tur Abdin is the indigenous land of the Aramean nation and is situated in southeastern of Turkey. It is a part of Biblical Paddan- Aram, which roughly constitutes northern Iraq and Syria and southeastern of Turkey. More on Tur Abdin, Paddan- Aram, Beth- Oromoye and Aram-Nahrin, see:


Because of discrimination, harassments, exclusion and killings of the Arameans in Turkey for years and years, Tur Abdin is at the brink of complete cleansing of its indigenous Aramean inhabitants. The outrageous lawsuits since 2008 against the Aramean monastery St. Gabriel, orchestrated by the Turkish government, are such-and-such example of harassments with the aim to expel the Arameans out of Turkey. This is so immoral that there are no words to describe it! The Arameans are since thousands of years present in this part of the world, while the Turks relatively recently invaded the former Asia-Minor and renamed “Turkey”.


Since their coming to this area, the Turks have been working systematically to exterminate the Aramean people, their culture and faith.


For example, the cultural genocide which took place in Urfa (Urhoy in Aramaic, the centre of the Aramean christinaity) is unparalleled. They perfectly succeeded to completely eradicate all tracks of the Aramean origin of Urhoy. And they cannot get enough of it.


One is forced to make here a remark, namely: Whether we are talking about physical genocide, or about cultural extermination, the Western world was absolutely aware of this unholy processes taking place out there. The Western world had the power and ability to prevent this happening; yet they did not do anything to stop it.

What is worse is that in the Ottoman era, even Sultan was used by the western diplomats and missionaries to press the Arameans hoping that they would convert to Catholicism or Protestantism. More about this genocide:


Forty years ago, there were about 40.000 Arameans in Tur Abdin. Because of continued harassments, killings and discriminations, the vast majority of these Arameans fled to the West. There are but 2.000 Arameans left in Tur Abdin.


Because of this and many other reasons, it is commendable action of the archbishop of Canterbury to open this exhibition on the Arameans of Tur Abdin to bring their situation under the attention of the world.


More on the discrimination of the Aramean people in Turkey:




Archbishop of Canterbury opens Tur Abdin exhibition at Southwark Cathedral


Tuesday 28 September 2010


Giulio Paletta's exhibition of photographs of Tur Abdin in Turkey has been opened at Southwark Cathedral by the Archbishop of Canterbury.


Photojournalist Giulio Paletta, who specialises in small Christian groups, has been to Tur Abdin in south-east Turkey to record the life of the Syrian Christians.

The little ancient Christian community in the mountains has been immune from Roman influence but suffered in recent upheavals which saw death or exile from beginning of the 19th century to the 1990s. The Syrian Orthodox minority now finds itself struggling with little support from the Turkish authorities.

"The Syrian Church represents a very ancient and a very rich strand in the great tapestry of Christian witness," said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

"And perhaps most importantly to most people in maintaining the language that is closest to the language spoken by Our Lord himself across these centuries.

"I can still remember the experience of first hearing the psalms sung in Syriac and realising that was probably the same kind of sound heard by Our Lord as the psalms were sung in Aramaic in his day."

Speaking of the community's present struggle with poverty and harassment, Dr Williams said that he wanted to express solidarity with them and pray for them.

"Turkey has an honourable tradition of tolerating and protecting religious minorities and it would be a tragedy if the next generation were to see that tradition becoming any weaker."

The Bishop of Woolwich read out a message from the Bishop of Tur Abdin who said that it was a great comfort to have support from the British ecumenical Tur Abdin Focus Group which is staging the exhibition.

A second message was received from the Patriarch of Antioch who visited Lambeth Palace last year. The Patriarch's representative Bishop Polycarpos also spoke.

Canon Bruce Saunders, welcoming the Archbishop, said: "Southwark Cathedral is a parish church rooted in this local community, we are the mother church of the diocese but from time to time we also behave like an English cathedral should with a national profile doing something which takes our interest beyond our own boundaries."

Among guests at the opening were the Syrian Ambassador, diplomatic representatives from the Netherlands and Turkey, Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury, the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Fr Stephen Griffith who is both Anglican Chaplain in Syria and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Apocrisiarius to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch and the Archdeacon of Southwark.

For the Archbishop it was his second visit to Southwark in 6 days; last week he opened a new nurture room at Cathedral School in Redcross Way.

The Tur Abdin exhibition is at Southwark Cathedral until Monday 18 October.


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