Iraq’s Oldest Christian Monastery Destroyed by Islamic State

Satellite images confirm the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been destroyed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

CHR Comment: St. Elijah’s monastery was 1,400 years old. The article describes some features of its cultural significance, the martyrs there from 1743, and use of the monastery by military groups in recent fighting. The article is based on an interview with a Chaldean priest since the Chaldeans were the last Christian group associated with the site. None of the articles I saw included much information about St. Elijah himself. If a reader is aware of further information on this Syriac Christian leader, please share comments and/or a link.

This is yet another example of how ISIS practices vandalism in the name of religion, as though an unused site was somehow a threat to them.

Source: Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery destroyed by Islamic State – BBC News


How Islamic Scientists Read Up on Science

National Geographic recently posted an article by Book Talk editor, Simon Worrall. I was struck by this paragraph:

There is a tendency on the part of some Muslim scholars to exaggerate the accomplishments of Islamic science. And they don’t need to be exaggerated. During the golden age of Islamic science, which ended somewhere between A.D. 1100 and 1200, Muslim scientists were way ahead of their contemporaries in Christian Europe.

Although it is true that the Muslim scientists were ahead of the Christian Europeans at this point, the article might have mentioned how Muslim tribesmen learned scientific method. They read Arabic translations of scientific works, which were translated by Syriac Christians from the pagan, ancient Greeks. So ironically, Christians were responsible for those medieval Arabs knowing their scientific texts, which had been lost to the Christians in Europe (though not likely lost to the Christians in Byzantium).