A unique blend of ancient and modern communities in what was once Syria’s most cosmopolitan city.
Aleppo has been home to many Christian communities ancient and recent. HMML built relationships with major Christian communities in the city, representing the Armenian, Greek Catholic, Syriac Catholic, and Syriac Orthodox traditions. The Syriac Orthodox community includes descendants of Christians from Edessa (modern Şanliurfa, Turkey), the historic cradle of Syriac Christianity. Escaping the massacres in Turkey, they abandoned their homes and churches and arrived in Aleppo in 1924. They brought their manuscripts with them, along with the key to their lost cathedral. Finding refuge in Aleppo, they prospered.
The Christians in Aleppo had seen the city’s Jews forced to leave in the mid-20th century. Then the eruption of civil war in 2011 and the rise of ISIS made them fear for their own safety. The Syriac Orthodox suffered the loss of their spiritual head, Mor Gregorios Yuhanna Ibrahim, kidnapped in 2013 along with his Antiochian (Greek ) Orthodox counterpart, Metropolitan Paul Yazigi. Nothing was heard of them again. Through the generous and visionary leadership of Mor Gregorios and his brother Archbishops Jean Jeanbart (Greek-Catholic), Antoine Denys Chahda (Syriac Catholic), and Shahan Sarkisian (Armenian Orthodox), HMML worked with their communities to digitize almost 3000 manuscripts before the outbreak of war.