Syriacs in Palestine
Syriacs in Palestine are from the southern part of Turkey. Their ancestors came here around one hundred years ago. There were Syriacs in the land prior to this as well as we have proof of this in the monastery of Saint Mark in Jerusalem. Archaeologists discovered stoneware in this church from the 6th century which had Aramaic writing stating that the place was the house of John Mark, son of Mary, where Jesus and the disciples had the Last Supper. That means that this church belonged to the Syriac Arameans.
In 1922, more Syriacs came to the Holy Land, and they established a small Syriac church, still hoping that they would return back to their homeland. Knowing the difficulty involved in going back, they bought land, and established the current Syriac church in 1926. Until today, Syriacs are praying in this church and existing in this land as part of it.
In Bethlehem, we have about 1,200 Syriacs. There are also Syriacs in Jerusalem, Jericho, and Nazareth in small numbers. In total, the number of Syriacs in the Holy Land reaches to 1,500 people.
They consider being in the Holy Land as a blessing to them, although they will never forget their roots, culture, heritage, and their ancestors who shed their blood for their faith. They are proud of this. They are also proud that they share in the same language that Jesus himself spoke. It is an authentic, beautiful, and old language. Syriacs are keepers of a very ancient heritage, and they see this as a blessing.