The Church of Mother of God

Omid (Amida),  S.E. Turkey


 {Source:- 'TURABDIN' published by Hans Hollerweger}


History of the ancient church at Omid (Amida)

Omid/Amida is one of the most important Syriac Christian centre of Turkey.  Already in the fourth century  the place was an Episcopal See. In the Middle Ages the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch resided here.  The present church of the Mother of God ('Meryemana kilisesi', in Turkish)  was once the great Cathedral built perhaps in the sixth century.  The nave of that Cathedral broadened into a round church towards the west.  On either side of the apse one can still admire the Corinthian capitals with the garlands typical of this area and the finely sculpted remains of the ancient sanctuary arch. These remains speak eloquently of the size and beauty of the original building.

Northwards of the apse one enters another Church with three altars and the tomb of   'Jacob of Serugh' (AD 451-521), a learned bishop, who, like  St. Ephraim   in the 4th century, taught through the medium of poetry set to music. Next to the church is located the Patriarchal residence of the 19th century.  

Connection with Malankara Church

St. Gregorious Abdul' Jaleel  entombed at N.Paravur  St.Thomas Church was earlier the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of the Omid diocese in 'Diyarbakr' (Turkey).   For 10 years, from 1653-64,  this church of the 'Mother of God' functioned as his administrative headquarters.  In 1664 he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Jerusalem.  A year later, Mor Gregorios left for Malankara (India) on the request of the local Church and died there on 27th April 1681. 

It was at this church at Omid, the late Malankara Metropolitan, 'Pulikottil Mor Dionysius V' (AD 1833-1909), was ordained as Metropolitan by name 'Mor Dionysius Joseph',  by the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East, H.H. Ignatius Yakub II on 26th Medam ( May) AD 1865.

Interior of the church


The ancient Wooden Altar in the church


A wooden altar canopies in the main Church

Tomb of Jacob of Serugh in the church *


About the Place:-

'Diyarbakir' is a large city on a basalt plateau on the Tigris with mainly Kurdish inhabitants.  The importance which was attached to this city can be measured by the length and breadth of the wall which stretches 5.5. Km around the city.  Vital to the Roman defense of Mesopotamia against the Persian Empire, Omid (or Amida, to give it its Roman name) was conquered by the Arabs in 639, by the Seljuk's in 1085, and by Sultan Selim I in 1515.

The Bridge over the Tigris, with Diyarbakir in the background


This Bridge built by  John Saoro, bishop of Omid (AD  483-503) who had previously been the abbot of the Monastery of 'Kartmin'.


* Jacob of Serugh

The great Christian writer Ya`kub al-Saruji was born around 431 at Kurtam on the Euphrates and educated at Edessa. He became a priest and served at Hawra in the Serugh district of Mesopotamia as "periodeutes", wandering pastor of several villages. At the age of 67 he was made bishop of Batnan, where he died around 521. Jacob avoided the theological controversies of his age, and is claimed with equal eagerness by Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Christians as one of their own. Called "the Flute of the Holy Spirit and Harp of the Blessed Faith" by his admirers, he was a master of the Syriac twelve-syllable verse form and the author of hundreds of religious poems and hymns; 760 homilies and the Syriac translation of Evagrius also are attributed to him. Many of his writings are used as reading lessons in the Coptic and Syro-Jacobite churches to this day.