Chaldean Catholic Church St Antoine – Diyarbakır


Chaldean Catholic Church St Antoine – Diyarbakır
Chaldean Catholic Church St Antoine - Diyarbakır

Besides mosques there are seven churches in Diyarbakır. Before the advent of Islam the inhabitants of Diyarbakır practisedthree religions: sun worship (Shemsis), Judaism and Christianity. The Christians were divided into five denominations: Gregorian (Armenian), Yakubi (Suryani-Kadim), Orthodox (Greek), Assyrian (Nestorian) and Keldani (Chaldean). Each had their own church and attached school and most of these date back to the 3rd century. Over the centuries many fell into disrepair as the communities dwindled, but about seven are still standing, though some are heavily ruined such as Surp Giragos, the huge Armenian church. From the Streets the only thing that gives them away is the carving of animals, usually lions, at either side of the top of their doorways.

The Mar Peytun Keldani Katolik Kilisesi on the photo is still used by the few remaining families of the Chaldean Catholic faith. From the outside it is just a door on the narrow street, but inside it is quite a large complex, with an atttractive well-tended courtyard and lots of derelict buildings, perhaps originally a monastery or school. The church itself is built of the local black basalt and has four naves connected by arches. The floor in front of the apse is paved in fibe old black and white stone in a diamond shape. The church was restored in the 17th century.

Diyarbakır, Eastern Turkey

Chaldean Catholic Church St Antoine – Diyarbakır

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