Three interesting posts to juxtapose:
I read a post from Rod Dreher concerning the plight of what is possibly the oldest surviving Christian monastery in the world, the Mor Gabriel Monastery , which is about to be closed down in Turkey:
The Mongolians failed to destroy it 700 years ago despite the massacre of 40 friars and 400 Christians. Yet the existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, the fifth century Mor Gabriel Monastery in the Tur Abdin plane (the mountain of God’s servants) near the Turkish-Syrian border, is at risk after a ruling by Turkey’s highest appeals court in Ankara.
Founded in 397 by the monks Samuel and Simon, Mor Gabriel in eastern Anatolia has been the heart of the Orthodox Syrian community for centuries. Syriacs hail from a branch of Middle Eastern Christianity and are one of the oldest communities in Turkey.
Today the monastery is inhabited by Mor Timotheus Samuel Aktash, 3 monks, 11 nuns and 35 boys who are learning the monastery’s teachings, the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and the Orthodox Syriac tradition.
Turkey’s highest court agreed with Muslim villagers who accused the monastery of practicing “anti-Turkish activities” by educating young people (including non-Christians). The court just happened to lose documents the monastery provided to back up its 1,600 year old claim to the land. Ergo, the appeals court:
… said the land which has been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not its property, Turkish newspaper Zaman reported.
The lawsuit also claimed that the sanctuary was built over the ruins of a mosque, forgetting that Mohammed was born 170 years after its foundation.
At the same time, Fr Tim Finegan has a post about Tony Blair once again giving us the benefit of his extraordinary take on the Catholic Faith (which, as Fr Tim points out is once again self-contradictory and contrary to the Teachings of the Church.). On Islam, the dominant religion in Turkey, Mr Blair days:
I see the Koran very much as an outsider. It stands in the great prophetic tradition of trying to return people to the basic principles of spirituality. Taken for its time, it was an extraordinarily progressive declaration of principle.
Mr Blair is a supporter of bringing Turkey into the European Union:
The EU should allow mainly Muslim Turkey to become a member of the bloc to demonstrate its commitment to the creation of a tolerant and diverse Europe, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday.
"Let us show by our willingness to bring Turkey, a proud Muslim nation, into the EU on the same and equal terms as all others, that Europe is commited not just in word but in deed to a Europe of diverse races, cultures and religions all bound together by comon rules and a sense of human solidarity and mutual respect,"
Meanwhile Deacon Nick over at Protect the Pope notes that we have begun once again to recognise some worldly and spiritual realities - that enemies of the Church do actually exist:
In his recent interview with ZENIT the newly appointed Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith referred to ‘enemies of the Church’. Archbishop Müller said:
‘We are aware that our vocation is to be friends of God and thus discover to what hope, in reality, we are destined. This makes doubts disappear from the heart. Atheists and enemies of the Church should ask themselves, perhaps, with a spirit of self-criticism if they themselves have means of salvation to offer the men of today.’