Bileçen, the priest of Mor Yakup Church in Mardin, was arrested on January 10 on charge of “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”.
?stanbul – BIA News Desk After Aho (Sefer) Bileçen, the priest of Mor Yakup Church in Mardin, was arrested on January 10 on charge of “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”, the sunday service was not held in the church for the first time in seven years since the church was opened in August 2013.
As reported by the Mezopotamya Agency (MA), a group of Syriacs went to the church yesterday (January 12) for Sunday prayers, but the service could not be held as there was no priest.
Expressing their sadness for not holding the service that they do every week, they reiterated their request for the release of Aho Bileçen.
In house raids conducted in Eskihisar, Üçköy and Üçyol in Nusaybin in Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin on January 9, 12 people, including Mor Yakup Church priest Aho Bileçen, Üçköy village head Josef Yar and Musa Ta?tekin, who has come back to Turkey after years.
Standing before the court, priest Bileçen has been arrested on charge of “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”, three people, including Musa Ta?tekin, have been released on probation.
As of 3.29 p.m. yesterday, the remaining eight people, including Üçköy village head Josef Yar, were in custody.
About Mor Yakup Church
Known as one of the oldest churches of Upper Mesopotamia, Mor Yakup Church started to be built in Bagok Mountain, known as Tur ?zlo Mountain by Syriacs, in 309 BC by Mor Yakup, the patriarch of Nusaybin.
The church was devastated in years. With the evacuation of villages in the 1990s, it was completely abandoned.
As the residents of the villages started returning to their villages after 2006, a group of Syriacs also returned to their village and Mor Yakup Church started to be restored by the Syriac community.
The church was opened to worship in 2013 and since then, Aho Bileçen has been its priest. (RT/SD)