HMML in Syria
HMML’s manuscript digitization began in Lebanon in April 2003 at the Antiochian Orthodox Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, near Tripoli. HMML’s labors in Syria starting in 2004 were a natural outgrowth of its projects in Lebanon.
Even after the spread of Islam in the seventh century, a thriving Christian civilization stretched across the Middle East, producing literature in Syriac, Arabic, and Garshuni (Arabic written with Syriac characters). Manuscripts bearing witness to this civilization are now found in libraries and archives in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. These manuscripts provide a valuable window to a Middle East in which people of different faiths exchanged beliefs peacefully even when they disagreed, a Middle East that has now all but disappeared. Sadly, the manuscripts belonging to these communities—like the communities themselves—are now highly endangered by war, terrorism, looting, black market and mass emigration.
From 2003-2012 HMML’s teams digitized ten manuscript collections, totaling over 10,000 manuscripts, including collections from the Armenian Orthodox Diocese of Aleppo, Syriac Catholic and Orthodox collections in Aleppo, Melkite Greek Catholic collections in Damascus and Aleppo, and other collections throughout Syria representing several different Christian traditions. This is far beyond the number of manuscripts available in any comparable digital collection in the world.
In early 2012, HMML ceased all projects in Syria because of the danger posed to HMML’s partner libraries and fieldwork teams.
Many of the collections HMML digitized in Syria have been relocated to safe locations, however, the locations of some collections are currently unknown. At the very least, HMML holds a digital record of these collections, many of which are available on vHMML Reading Room. To see more, visit vHMML Reading Room, open "Advanced Search" and search by country.
vHMML also contains lessons on the Syriac language. Learn Syriac paleography in vHMML School. Dive into Syriac manuscripts in vHMML Folio.
From the Collection