Friday, December 26, 2008




Soonoro (Holy Girdle) of Our Lady Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, in the Syrian Orthodox Church of Homs - Syria {Photo: Sharjah Church web site}

The Church has the rare privilege to have with her the Girdle of St. Mary. The Girdle of Virgin Mary was handed over to Apostle St. Thomas, during her assumption to heaven. St. Thomas carried this precious treasure of Virgin Mary with him to India where he died a martyr. In 394 A.D. together with the coffin of St.Thomas, this valuable Girdle of Holy Virgin Mary was also moved from India to Raha and was established in a Church. (In the Syriac history of Raha, it is mentioned that in Aug 22, 705 Greek era they brought the coffin of St. Thomas the apostle to his large church in the days of Mar Kora, the bishop of Raha. Ref: The Orien Biblio of Assimaany, Volume I, page 399). This Church where the Girdle of Virgin Mary was established came to be known as the "The Church of Girdle". In those days this was erected a small and simple church as a cellar under the ground because of the violence of paganism on Christianity in the first three centuries, and some forefathers consigned in it the valuable girdle of St. Mary as a precious treasure to the believers. But over a period of time, the church had lost track of the girdle.

In mid April 1953, while scrutinizing some manuscripts, a Garshunian book containing stories and speeches was noticed by the supreme head of the church, Patriarch His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem - sent by the people of Homs in 1852, to the believers in Mardin. It appeared to be bound with many papers piled up over each other and was very old. In it was fourty six letters in Garshunian and Arabic concerning the diocese of Homs and environs written a few centuries ago by the notables of the archdiocese of Syria to the notables of the city of Mardin (Turkey) close to Za'fran Monastery, the Patriarchal See, implying the conditions of their archdiocese. They included that while wrecking their church called in the name of the Virgin the Lady of the girdle in Homs for the purpose of enlarging and renewing it due to its oldness, smallness and its wooden ceiling, by the order of His Eminence the Archbishop Peter Mousally (later Patriarch Ignatius Peter IV), they found the girdle of our Lady the Virgin put in a vessel in the middle of the holy table in the altar. They were comprised with happiness and blessed by it. According to these information's, on the 20th July 1953 A.D., in the presence of His Lordship Alexandros the Greek Orthodox bishop of Homs and other prominent persons, Patriarch Aphrem I opened the Holy Sanctum and was discovered that in a marble plate it was written that ‘This church was built in the time of the preacher called Malaya, [Elijah] in AD 59”. They also found a stone vessel and a silver vessel and in it was found the Holy Girdle wrapped on itself inside a vessel which broke due to its oldness. Together with it was also found a thin metal pipe in the upper part of the vessel containing a hollow bone that seemed to embody a piece of parchment or thick paper which was left as it was. The Greek Archbishop and other prominent persons who were present witnessed this fact and attested to it.

The Sacred Girdle in the Font when discovered from the 'Church of Girdle'- Homs (Syria) in 1953


As the news spread, researchers questioned its authenticity. They examined it and were unanimous in their opinion about its genuineness and about the age of the girdle. Now it is kept in this church which is from very earlier times known as "The Church of girdle" or "The Church of the Lady of the Girdle". Multitudes of Syrian believers and people from different Christian denominations and of all over Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries, come to enjoy the sight of this sacred relic and seek its blessings with Christian desire and piety. In 1982, during the Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas's Holy Apostolic visit to Malankara, His Holiness brought a portion of the girdle and was established in many churches in Malankara, all attained special importance henceforth. The famous Morth Mariam church at Manarcad, Soonoro church at Cochin etc. are some of the prominent churches in Malankara where the Girdle of Our Lady Virgin Mary is established and people pay due respect.

The Girdle spread out to Demonstrate its Measurements

Antiquities Committee examining the Holy Girdle on rediscovery

(Source - )

In Syriac
Hail O Virgin Mary, Shlom lekh bthoolto Mariam
Full of grace Maliath taibootho
The Lord is with thee Moran a’amekh
Blessed art thou among women Mbarakhto at Bneshey
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Wambarakhoo feero dabkharsekh yeshue
Holy Mary O qadeeshto Mariam
Mother of God Yoldath aloho
Pray for us sinners Saloy hlofain hatoyeh
Now and at the hour of our death Hosho wabsho’ath mawtan
Amen Amin
Icon of Holy Virgin Mary in the Syrian Orthodox Church, Aleppo -Syria


No comments:

Monastery of the Holy Martyrs - Orthodox Monastery, Syriac Orthodox

 Have you stopped the monastery's new web site?  Come on by and visit, either on line or in person.  I love meeting new folks and make n...