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A Personal Message from Fr. Dale A. Johnson (Bar Yohanon)
by Fr. Dale A. Johnson
Posted: Friday, April 06, 2001 03:48 pm CST

Dear Ashouri and Syriani,

I want to thank the staff for following the case of Fr. Akbulut in Diyarbakir Turkey. He is my fellow priest with whom I served while I was living at Mor Gabriel Monastery in Tur Abdin during the 1990s. I recall a conversation we had in the Spring of 2000. He was telling me about how defeated he felt as so many Syriac Christians have left the region because of treatment by Turkish officials over the years. Even worse, was the fact that Evangelical Missionaries had come to his city and taken away some of his parish members by convincing them that the Syriac form of Christianity was somehow not Christian. Then he was arrested in October of that year for making a statement to a journalist about the atrocities of 1915. I felt so badly for him. It was a horrible blow to a man of God who already felt so discouraged. Thanks be to God that many around the world have come to his defense. I hope he now knows that he is not alone and that God is with him through this suffering.

Fr. Dale A. Johnson (Bar Yohanon)
Syrian Orthodox Priest/Monk
St. Ephrem Monastery/Mission
Santa Fe, New Mexico

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