Chaldean Christians restoring church in Şırnak
ŞIRNAK- Anadolu Agency
Eight Chaldean families were forced to leave their home in the 1990s due to escalating terror in the region, but they recently returned to their village, known as Cevizağacı or “Walnut Tree” in English, in Beytuşşebap, in the Şırnak province, with the help of the Turkish government's “return to village program.”
Turkey started the Return to Villages program in the early 2000s for people to return to areas once plagued by terrorism but now safe and secure.
The families, glad to be back in their peaceful village, wanted to renovate the Mor Yuhanon Church, where they had worshiped in the past but had been destroyed over time.
Angel funding came from a fellow villager named Çelebi Yaramış, who now lives in Europe and comes to visit his hometown once a year.
Yaramış offered the necessary financial support for the church's reconstruction.
Metin Yaramış, a local leader in Cevizağacı, told Anadolu Agency that back in the 1990s the village had as many as 45 households.
“We came back to our village with peace and rebuilt our houses.”
In this village, whose residents follow the centuries-old eastern Chaldean Christian faith and speak Kurdish as well as Turkish, Metin Yaramış said they enjoy support from both neighboring settlements and the state.
In summertime, nearly 100 families living in Europe come to visit the village, he said. “In winter, only eight families live here.”
“Everyone here welcomed us restoring the church,” he stressed.
“Our Muslim brothers are also helping to restore the church. There's no distinction here.”