Postcard from... Södertälje, Sweden

Echoes of Jesus in Sweden: Aramaic-speaking Syriacs find a home

The World Today
2 minute READ

Dr Mikael Oez

Lecturer in Eastern Christianity at SOAS, University of London

If you want to hear the language spoken by Christ, all you need to do is to take a short bus ride from Stockholm to the town of Södertälje. There you will find thousands of Syriac Christians speaking Aramaic as it was spoken in the time of Jesus.

These are some of the 120,000 Syriacs from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq who have found a haven in Sweden. They have fled persecutions and massacres, from the Ottoman period through the 20th century until today. In April last year, the archbishops of Aleppo, Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, were kidnapped and are still being held captive. This preceded the ethno-religious cleansing of Syriac Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, which is underway in a gruesome campaign by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria now known as Islamic State.

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