Tur Abdin, Plateau of the Servants of God (Mardin Province, Turkey)

Often called a Syriac Mount Athos, Tur Abdin is the spiritual heartland of the historic Syrian Orthodox Church. Suryani Christians spoke Syriac-Aramaic, a modern language that comes as close as any living language to what Jesus spoke. The

plateau region of Tur Abdin is in the modern Turkish province of Mardin, sandwiched between the Tigris river to the north and the Mesopotamian flat- lands to the south. It is bordered by Mardin on the west, Cizre on the east, Hasankeyf on the north, and Nusaybin on the south. The Syraic name Tur Ab- din—the Plateau of the Servants of God—originates from the many monas- teries that occupied this region during the early church. There are numerous ancient monasteries scattered throughout the land east of Midyat. At one time, thousands of monks lived and prayed in more than eighty monasteries.