Mor Augin Monastery
The ancient Syriac Orthodox Monastery of Mor Augin on the southern slope of Mount Izlo located in the area of Nsibin, was founded in the 4th Century. It had more than 350 monks in those periods and was one of the main spiritual centres in Mount Izlo and Turabdin. In the twentieth century, there were more than 20 monks in the monastery and the last monk passed away in 1968. Due to the persecution of Christians in Turkey, SURYOYE had to flee to Europe and other countries and few others moved to nearby villages in the area of Turabdin.
Re-opening of the monastery 2010
Patriarch of Antioch, H.H. Ignatius Zakka I, appointed Fr. Joachim Raban as the abbot of Mor Augin Monastery in April 2010. With the help of the Rabans and other employees of Mor Gabriel Monastery and SURYOYE in Europe, Fr. Joachim has restored some of the Monastery buildings. Restoration of buildings e.g. the main church and vital parts of the monastery are still ongoing till this day.
About Mor Augin, the “Second Christ”
Saint Mor Augin is the traditional founder of Syriac monasticism. He originated from Qluzma in Egypt, and started off as a pearl diver who gave pearls to the poor and needy. In mid-life he decided to become a monk at the monastery of St. Pachomius, and from there he and his brotherhood, the holy 70 ancestors, set off to Bethnahrin (Mesopotamia), settling in the region of Mount Izlo. The remains of the monastery dedicated to his name still stands on the slopes of Mount Izlo, overlooking the Mesopotamian plain. His name testifies his success and his glory because it is translated as “the good man” (Bar Hebreus, vol. 1, 1872-1877, p. 85ff).
As Mor Augin was a great and respectable monk, his word and achievement was known even in Byzantium (Constantinople) and by the Emperor Constantine. He said: “These three warriors are known in our kingdom: Antonius in Egypt, Illarion at the coast and Mor Augin who moved out of Egypt and come and settled down in your region and enlightened it. We plead and beg of him that he prays for us in front of Our Lord, so that we and our kingdom will be protected and safe.” (Tale of Saint Mor Augin).
He’s called “Second Christ” in the Syriac tradition owning to the miraculous deeds he did. This certainly does not mean an equality between the both of them, rather it expresses the particularly tight succession of Mor Augin.
Mor Augin and his companions filled and decorated the whole east with monasteries and churches, from Egypt to the border of Persia.
In 363, Saint Mor Augin passed away at a great age and advanced to the kingdom of heaven. “His body was buried in the cave underneath his monastery’s southern altar. His holy relics are kept till today in the monastery. May his prayers be with us” (P. Behnam, 1908, p- 18f).