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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Monks Preserve Christian History by Smuggling Ancient Manuscripts Out of Mosul

  • Carrie Dedrick
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2015 Jan 27
  • Comments

Monks in Erbil, Iraq are preserving Christian history by smuggling ancient books and manuscripts out of Mosul so they cannot be destroyed by Islamic insurgents. 


NPR reports that monks began taking important books out of Mosul in 2008 when Islamic extremists began to endanger the city. Books and manuscripts were taken piece by piece until last summer when ISIS captured Mosul. Iraqi Dominican monk, Father Najeeb Michaeel, collected all of the remaining important books and took them by truck out of the city. 


"We passed three checkpoints without any problem, and I think the Virgin Mary [had] a hand to protect us," Michaeel said. 


The books and manuscripts are now in the Christian city of Qaraqosh, though the exact location was not revealed to keep them safe. 


Father Columba Stewart, a monk from Texas, has joined Michaael’s project to preserve Christian history in Iraq. The monks are now working on digitizing the books and manuscripts by photographing them.



Publication date: January 27, 2015