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The Question of Identity: Ethnicity, Language, Religion, and Gender

Islamic Period:  The Concept of Ethnicity

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Chaldeans of the Province of Mardin

Chaldeans of the Province of Mardin

The borderlands of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq are the home to a number of Christian communities, including Assyrians (in Turkish and Arabic, Suryani) and Chaldeans (in their own language, Atoraya- Kaldaya). The Chaldeans split from the Assyrian church in the sixteenth century, acknowledging the Pope as their spiritual leader. Their liturgy is in Aramaic and their patriarch resides in Mosul. Most now live in Iraq, and in the Diaspora in the United States and Australia. This picture is from Mardin, in Southern Turkey, taken by the Capucin mission in the area, late in the nineteenth century. The Western powers during this period were interested in the Christian communities of the area as mediators of their commercial interests as the Ottoman Empire showed signs of disintegration.

From Wikipedia: “A postcard by the Cappucin mission in Mesopotamia of two Chaldean men from the villages surrounding the town of Mardin in South East Turkey, along the Syrian border… Chaldean Christians are found in largest concentrations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the United States (Detroit), Europe, and Australia. The head of the Church, the Patriarch, resides in Baghdad with the title of "the Patriarch of Babylon". He has the rank of a Cardinal in the Catholic church. Their liturgy is in Aramaic.”

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