History

1555

Moses of Mardin in Vienna

 

Manuscript, Moses of Mardin, Math: Ch.1, held in the National Library of Austria.

 

Syriac studies began with Moses of Mardin visiting Vienna in 1555 where he taught the Syriac language to Western scholars and had the first Syriac Bible printed. At the university of Salzburg, (est. 1662), scholars have worked on Syriac and Oriental Christianity since the 1850’s. This lead to the establishment of the “Department for Eastern Christianity” of the International Forshchungszentrum (IFZ) in 1961, today’s ZECO “Zentrum zur Erforschung des Christlichen Ostens”  (link).

 

1984

Agreement between Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Ignatius Zakka

 

“Bishops are encouraged to promote sharing of facilities for theological education”, common declaration of Pope John Paul II and H.H. Mor Ignatius Zakka I 23.6.1984.

 

An official agreement between Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I encouraged collaboration in the field of theological education between the Catholic and Syrian Orthodox churches.

 

1985

Establishment of Pro Oriente, Salzburg

 

 

Pro Oriente (link) established a branch in Salzburg.  In 1988 the Syriac Orthodox church was officially recognised as a religious community in Austria. In 1989 Initiativer Christlicher Orient, (ICO), (link) was established as “Friends of Tur Abdin” in Linz, which has held its annual meetings in Salzburg since 1998.

 

2002

Syriac Theology in Salzburg

 

Photo by Andreas Kolarik/Leo 24.02.2015

 

Dr. Aho Shemunkasho begun working with Prof. Friedrich Reiterer on Ben Sira. In 2005 Prof. Dietmar W. Winkler became professor for ecclesiastical history and patristic studies, with a focus on oriental Christianity and with Dr. Aho Shemunkasho’s appointment as assistant professor in 2006, the vision for a dedicated study of Syriac theology came to Salzburg.

 

2007

Project Drafting

 

 

The project to establish Syriac studies was drafted in discussion with Mor Gregorias Yohanna Ibrahim, (Archbishop of Damascus) and Mor Polycarpus, Dr Augin Aydin, (Archbishop of the Netherlands), among others, and was presented to Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I who encouraged its development.

 

2008

Creation of Syriac Institute

 

 

The Syriac Institute (link) was founded by Prof. Peter A. Bruck with members of the ecumenically committed Catholics of the parish of Leopoldskron-Moos in Salzburg (link). Its aim: to support the establishment of Syriac theological education and help establish a Syriac orthodox student house.

 

2011

Delegation to Salzburg

 

 

The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch sent a delegation to Salzburg to discuss the possibility of a student house and study opportunities in Syriac theology. The delegation was welcomed by Dr Alois Kothgasser, (former Archbishop of Salzburg), and members of the theological faculty. In June a second delegation returned to Salzburg with the approval of the patriarch.

 

Creating Bridge

 

 

“Syriac Studies as a Bridge”-  Culture, Language and Religion, international conference took place in Mardin, in co-operation with Pro Oriente and Mardin University.

 

2012

Student House

 

The Archdiocese of Salzburg bought a building, (Müllner Hauptstrasse 6), which was offered by the Governor of Salzburg, Dr. Ing. Wilfried Haslauer, in solidarity for the purpose of Syriac studies.

Members of the Syriac church from dioceses in Europe and the States met in St Ephrem monastery, the Netherlands, and agreed to support the establishment of an MA in Syriac Theology and student house.

 

2013

Establishment of STSS

 

 

Suryoye Theological Seminary Salzburg (STSS) (link) a non-profit association was founded by members of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Europe and the USA for the financing of the student house Beth Suryoye.

 

Securing Financing

 

 

In the same year, federal minister Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Töchterle enabled the provision of Syriac studies from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research. In doing so he secured the financing of a professorship for History and Theology of Orthodox Syriac Christianity at the University of Salzburg for five years, (2014-2019).

 

Art Exhibition

 

 

Art exhibition on Tur Abdin in Salzburg.

 

2014

Syrologentag

 

8th Syrologentag in Salzburg.

 

 

2015

Inauguration of Prof. Aho Shemunkasho

 

 

 

Inauguration of Prof. Aho Shemunkasho, as Professor for History and Theology of Syrian Orthodox Theology, and the MA in Syriac Theology. The inaugural ceremony key note lecture was given by Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, with speeches from Archbishop Lackner, Minister Töchterle, Landeshaputmann Dr. Ing. Haslauer, Rector Schmidinger, Prof. Dietmar W. Winkler and Prof. Peter A. Bruck.

 

Opening of Beth Suryoye

 

 

October 19th Ecumenical prayers in Salzburg cathedral, followed up by the ceremonial opening of Beth Suryoye student house where the Archbishop of Salzburg, Dr Franz Lackner, handed the keys of the house to the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, Mor Ignatius Aphrem II.

 

2016

Conference in Salzburg

 

 

“Of safe havens and sinking ships – Middle Eastern Christians and Europe” conference organised by ZECO.

 

International Conference

 

“Church of the East in China and Central Asia” international conference organised by ZECO, held in Salzburg – taking place every three years since 2003.

 

2018

Renovation of Beth Suryoye

 

 

Renovation and adaption of the student house Beth Suryoye (2016-2018) by the Archdiocese of Salzburg, with the support of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Austria, represented by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

 

Unity of the Church

 

 

“Severus of Antioch and his Search for the Unity of the Church” international conference opened by the Archbishop of Salzburg and the inaugural address by Mor Ignatius Aphrem II.

 

2020

Launch of Syriac Salzburg Website