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Ancient Christian relics found under historic church in Iraq

by Karen Faulkner, Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Six ancient stone reliquaries and several manuscripts in Syriac and Aramaic languages have been discovered under a historic in Mosul, , the Jerusalem Post reports.

Laborers discovered the ancient artifacts while working to restore Mosul’s 18th century Mar Thomas Church, which had been in use up to the time when ISIS occupied the city in 2014, JPost said. The church was severely vandalized by ISIS and was largely destroyed during the 2016-2017 battle of Mosul.

According to the Catholic Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, one of the stone reliquaries has an inscription relating to Saint Theodore, a 3rd-century Roman soldier who was born in Turkey and who was beheaded for converting to Christianity, JPost said.

Other reliquaries found under Mar Thomas church had references and relics connected to the apostle Simon ‘the Zealot,’ Mor Gabriel, bishop of the Tur Abdin region in southeast Turkey from 593 to 668 CE, relics of Saint Simeon who saw the baby Jesus at the Temple, relics of the apostle John, and relics of Saint Gregory Bar Hebraeus who served as a Syrian Orthodox Regional Primate from 1264-1286 CE, JPost said. Manuscripts written Syriac, Armenian and Arabic were discovered wrapped up inside glass bottles.

The restoration work at Mar Thomas began last year, and is sponsored by the Geneva-based International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) in collaboration with the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH), JPost said.

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