The little ancient Christian community in the mountains has been immune from Roman influence but suffered in recent upheavals which saw death or exile from beginning of the 19th century to the 1990s. The Syrian Orthodox minority now finds itself struggling with little support from the Turkish authorities.
"The Syrian Church represents a very ancient and a very rich strand in the great tapestry of Christian witness," said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
"And perhaps most importantly to most people in maintaining the language that is closest to the language spoken by Our Lord himself across these centuries.
"I can still remember the experience of first hearing the psalms sung in Syriac and realising that was probably the same kind of sound heard by Our Lord as the psalms were sung in Aramaic in his day."
Labels: Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, syriac, Tur Abdin