The discovery of a witness tomb for a Christian monk and his church belong to 1700 years ago in Al-Najaf

Church in Al-Kufa – Al-Najaf
Haider Hussein Al-Janabi
The heritage Office of the province of Al-Najaf found an ancient church, 1700 years old, built before the emergence of Islam. The church found near the historical city of Al-Kufa and belongs to the Christian monk Abdul Messiah bin Bakeela. It was written on Abdul Messiah grave by an ancient Kufi script and found inside the church “God mercy on Abdul Messiah”.
The director of the heritage office of the province of Al-Najaf, Mohammed Hadi Baden Al-Mayali, said the ancient city of Al-Hera was populated by Christians where they practice worship and churches and monasteries were located near or around the city. He added, we found an important document confirms that this church which discovered now was belong to Abdul Messiah bin Bakeela, as we found something written on a stone by an ancient script. He also said, this stone represent an important physical evidence for our discovery.
Al-Mayali said, Abdul Messiah bin Bakeela was prominent Christian and some of the texts indicated that he lived for 350 years, remained Christian even after Islam and he made peace agreement with Khalid bin Al-Waleed in the year 14 AH. Bin Bakeela witnessed the India and Chinese ships sailing through the sea of Al-Najaf.

Al-Mayali confirms the discovery of a church in Al-Kufa city near Al-Najaf International Air port. The church belong to the Christian personality, the monk Abdul Messiah bin Bakeela. He added, during the work we found a white stone inscribed with the words of a manuscript in an ancient Kufi script and other writings at the top and the bottom, which we knew what, were written at the bottom as “God mercy on Abdul Messiah”, in addition to the presence of phrases, patterns and parallel and straight lines. He added the size of the stone or the witness is small and measuring 4 x 11 cm.


Al-Mayali added, some stories mentioned that the palace of Bany Bakeela was belonging to Abdul Messiah bin Bakeela Al-Ghassani. He called bin Bakeela because he appeared one day to his people in two green suits, wearing one suit and covered by the other one. So, his people said he is only Bakeela (broad beans) and called by that name.
Al-Mayali also said, Abdul Messiah was the nephew of the priest Sateeh, Kesra gave him the name Sateeh due to the vision that he saw.
The archaeological at the Directorate of Antiquities and Heritage of Al-Najaf, Shaker Abdul Zahra, emphasizes that Abdul Messiah church which they discovered in the province belong to the period before the appearance of Islam and was found during the excavations near the historic city of Al-Kufa.
Abdul Zahra indicated that the dimensions of the church were 60 x 60 meters and an area of 3600 square meters. It contains 4 large halls, lighting rooms and bed rooms for the monks, in addition to several attachments for services, two kitchens and two courtyards of the dimensions 12 x 16 meters and an area of 192 square meters, for each of them.
Shaker added the church is one building with two adjacent gates at the west; each of them leads to one part of the church. The two gates were constructed in a robust manner to secure and take precautions to repel any attack or aggression.

Abdul Zahra said the Christian church which we found surrounded by a big and huge wall of 1.5 meters width and with heavily towers built of clay and bricks. He added the church located in a desert area.
Many reports were written about the monk Abdul Messiah in history books. Among those reports, Al-Asbahani mentioned in his book “Al-Deyarat” that Abdul Messiah monastery was built by Abdul Messiah bin Amro bin Bakeela Al-Ghassani in Al-Hera. He also mentioned that Abdul Messiah was an elderly who lived to the age of 350 years. The monastery located outside Al-Hera city in an area called Al-Jeraa. The book also mentioned that Abdul Messiah was the one who met Khalid bin Al-Waleed during the invasion of Al-Hera and fought the Persians which they throw him by circled ceramic pieces from their three fortresses to the forts of Al-Bakeela. Abdul Messiah used to get out in front of the horses but the horses fending him. So, Dirar bin Al-Azwar said to him this is from their scheme. When Khalid bin Al-Waleed sent a man to call for someone wise, Abdul Messiah bin Amro came and what happened between them is well-known and recorded.

Gateway of Al-Najaf church
He said, Abdul Messiah remained in that monastery after he made conciliation with the Muslims for one hundred thousand, until he died and the monastery ruined after awhile and appeared in it Azaj knotted of stones which they thought it was treasure, but they found a marble bed with a dead man on it and a written board near his head saying: I am Abdul Messiah bin Amro bin Bakeela with the following piece of poem:
Milked the aeon shared him my life and get from life more than more
I strived things and they strived me I didn’t surrendered to formidable dilemma
I almost earn in honor the chandelier but there is no way to immortality

The collar of one of the gates of Abdul Messiah church

Al-Shabishty wrote in his book Al-Deyarat the story dialogue that took place between Khalid bin al-Waleed and Abdul Messiah; he said: when Khalid bin Al-Waleed arrived to Al-Hera, Abdul messiah came out to him, and then Khalid said: where is your maximum track, Abdul Messiah replied: from the heart of my father. Khalid said: not about this I asked, Abdul Messiah replied: I did not answer only what you asked about. Khalid said: what are you, Abdul Messiah replied: Arab Astenbutna. Khalid Asked: what about these forts, Abdul Messiah replied: we have built them to secure us from ignorant until the wise come and defeat him.