Tur Levnon is based in Zalka, in the northern suburb of Beirut. It was founded in 1999 but registered much later in 2005 under the name “Knushto d’Marduto Suryoyto”. In 2017, it merged with other groups and associations to form the Syriac Maronite Union under the name of TUR LEVNON.
While several religious and secular organizations in Lebanon provide Syriac language teaching courses, the candidates for learning remain very few. The Union’s aim is therefore to reach people and potential students and show them why it is necessary to learn Syriac.
Syriac is the language and hence the identity of the Christians of the Levant and Mesopotamia (from Lebanon, to Northern Syria, Southern Turkey and Northern Iraq). This region was a Syriac land before the creation of these modern states.
Syriac is extremely important for Lebanon because it is its living identity. When Proto-Canaanite was Hellenized and Christianized, it became the Syriac language and culture of modern Lebanon that will be established as an entity in 685 by Maronite Patriarch Saint John Morun.
Today, Lebanon contains the largest concentration of Christians in the Middle East. Unfortunately, due to political reasons, Syriac language, culture and history are erased and untaught in schools (even in Christian schools).
To fill the gap, The Syriac Maronite Union takes action on two levels: Society and Authority.
- Teaching history and language in the Christian society.
- Spreading awareness through mass media and social media.
Concerning civil authorities:
- Inviting MP and government ministers and representatives to all our events to make them continuously involved in our struggle for the revival of our Syriac language and culture.
Concerning ecclesiastical authorities:
- Encouraging them in reintroducing Syriac in the Maronite churches and mass.
- Showing them the importance of Syriac not only for our identity but also concerning our faith and spirituality.
- Using Syriac to reunite Maronites of Lebanon with the Diaspora, but also to reunite all Christian branches in a common culture and on an ecumenical level.
PROJECT AND MISSION:
The Union’s main action can be summarized in four points:
- To encourage our Syriac Maronite Church to introduce more Syriac in the Maronite mass as it was the case up to the 60’s.
- To offer our help and support to all Christian schools that will reintroduce Syriac language teaching in their programs.
- To cooperate with Christian political parties and municipalities to introduce the use of Syriac on public buildings and signs.
- To lobby with Christian political parties for the recognition of Syriac by the Lebanese government as a National language.
The Union’s activities take place on several levels and different fields.
Next to numerous meetings we always hold with Lebanese youth, students and Syriac organizations from the Diaspora, we are also very active on social media and on the field.
Below is the list of our main activities since our inception:
We post on “Maronites” page (19 000 followers).
Our posts are about the Church, Lebanon and Syriac language.
Languages used in this page: Syriac, English, French.
Our facebook page TUR LEVNON has 17 000 followers.
TUR LEVNON is also on Twitter.
TUR LEVNON ACTIVITIES
2020: January 11: Christmas Maronite Mass in Syriac language with Layal Néhmé and Diana AbiNader. Celebrated by Father Charbel Ghsoub and Father Toni BouNajm at 6:00 pm in Mar Elias Church, Ain Aar. Broadcasted by Télé Lumière and Nour el Sharq: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vg3iepc54Uo
2019: December 26: Christmas Maronite Mass in Syriac language in Ain Aar with Layal Néhmé and Diana AbiNader. Celebrated by Father Joseph Malkoun and Father Hanna Iskandar at 5:00 pm in Mar Maroun Church, Beirut. (No TV).
Diana Abi Nader: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/460307074911113/
2019: October 6-7-8, Congress in Tyr, by the « Jabal Amel cultural Association». Conference about Syriac Art and Inscriptions on Maronite churches. https://www.facebook.com/1523804814590809/posts/2156056178032333/
2019: September 27: Tur Levnon Conference at Bo’outo d Nouhro Charity Association, Jdeidé, Lebanon. About the Syriac heritage in Lebanon. https://www.facebook.com/1523804814590809/posts/2150237898614161/
2019: August 11: Patriarch Estephanos Douayhi Mass. Maronite Mass in Syriac language with the Antonine Choir. Celebrated by Father Ibrahim BouRajel at 11:00 am in Mar Sarguis w Bakhos monastery, Ehden. Tur Levnon was represented by : Angéla Bitar Semaan (Vice president), Eli Stéphan Mendelek (Democracy coordinator), Roy Araygi (Zgorta coordinator), Joseph BouKaram (Youth coordinator), Amine Jules Iskandar (President), and new member Yacoub Sahyoun.
Télé Lumière: https://youtu.be/x9Cj7OzXpuo
Voice of Charity https://www.facebook.com/1523804814590809/posts/2121258411512110/
NNA (Lebanon government Press: http://nna-leb.gov.lb/ar/show-news/427046/
Speech of TurLevnon’s president https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/644445302707153/
2019: August 08: Tur Levnon delegation expressed its support to the mayor of Hadath, Mr Georges Aoun, for protecting and preserving Christian land. Identity and Syriac language are important for our presence in Lebanon, but preservation of Christian land is vital. Tur Levnon’s delegation was composed of Eli Stephan Mendelek, Naji Dahrouge, Felix Atallah and Amine Jules Iskandar. https://www.facebook.com/1523804814590809/posts/2116324168672201/
2019: July 19: “Syriac Culture and Identity in the Maronite Church”. Conference by Father Jean Maroun Helou (founding member of Tur Levnon) at St:a Maria Kyrkan, Orebro, Sweden.
2018: May 18: “La culture syriaque et l’architecture au Liban” conference at the Faculty of Fine Arts, branch 1, Lebanese University. Part one: by Father Yohanna Yeshoua Khoury about Syriac language. Part two: by Amine-Jules Iskandar about Syriac Maronite architecture. https://www.facebook.com/SMUTurLevnon/videos/1841356392835648/
2018: April 5: Catholic Center for information. Tur Levnon participated in the colloquium for the 350th anniversary of the election of Mar Estephanos Douayhi as Patriarch of Antioch for the Syriac Maronites.
2018: March 14: LIU Lebanese International University: Colloquium Abbot Gabriel Qordahi on Syriac studies. Tur Levnon held a conference about “Syriac architecture in Maronite churches”. A comity was created to follow up on the decisions of the Colloquium, especially in teaching Syriac in Catholic schools in Lebanon. The comity was formed of the LIU director Gaby Khoury, Tur Levnon president Amine-Jules Iskandar, Syriac League president Habib Afram, representative of Syriac writers of Iraq Nezar Hanna Dirani, Georges Kordahi, and the official representative of the Maronite Patriarch, father Yohanna Yeshoua Khoury.
2017: December 21: Tur Levnon Convoy with Syriac Music and Maronite flags from Our Lady of Hadat to Place Sassine going through: Hadat, Baabda, Ain Remméné, Furn el chebbek, Hazmié, Sin el fil, Achrafié, Sassine.
2017: December 15, 16 and 17: Christmas Market in Bikfaya. Tur Levnon’s stand provided Syriac prayers carved on wood, Syriac names on mugs, Maronite flags, Syriac language CD and DVD…
2017: December 16: Recital in Bikfaya, Mar Mikhael church.
2017: December 8: Recital in Baabda-Hadat at the Amphitheater of the Antonin Maronite Order College. In the presence of government and Christian parties representatives, such as:
MP Alain Aoun representing the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun.
Minister Pierre Bou Assi representing Dr Samir Geagea, president of the Lebanese Forces Party.
Mr Gaby Gebrayel representing Minister Gebran Bassil, president of the FPM.
Mr Ramzi Bou Khaled representing Deputy Samy Gemayel, president of the Kataeb Party.
2017: August 31: Recital of Syriac Maronite hymns at Saint-Maron church in Downtown Beirut. Under the high patronage of his Beatitude the Patriarch of the Syriac Maronite Church, Mar Bechara Petros Rai.
2017: July: Visits to Maronite bishops: Habib Chamié of Argentina, Youssef Mouawad of Zahlé, Michel Aoun of Jbeil, Paul Matar of Beirut. We also met with Abbot Nemtalla Hachem, superior of the Maronite Lebanese Order. He promised all his schools will start teaching Syriac to children.
2017: Jun 09: Visit to Father Yohanna Yeshoua Khoury Professor of Syriac language at the Lebanese University.
2017: May 30: Visit to Father Boutros Azar Secretary General of Catholic Schools in Lebanon.
2017, May 20 : First Syriac Maronite Congress in New York : Launching of Tur Levnon in the presence of Maronite bishop of America Gregory Mansour.
2017: May 11: Visit to Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Petros Rai in Bkerké, to announce the creation of Tur Levnon and the New York Congress.
2016, August: Letter to Pope Francis for the revival of Syriac language in Lebanon.
2012, August: Letter to Pope Benedict XVI for the revival of Syriac language in Lebanon. Also published in L’Orient-Le Jour in August 2012
TUR LEVNON IN THE MEDIA
2020: Tur Levnon in Terre de Compassion, France; in 20 articles:
Article 1: June 1, 2020: https://terredecompassion.com/2020/06/01/les-syriaques-mais-qui-sont-ils/
2020: May 14, 20, 28: Tur Levnon in Syriac Press, Denmark; in 3 articles:
2020: April 30: About Kafno on Nour Chabeb (Télé Lunmière) with Journalist Arzé Bitar: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/168183044504506/
2020: April 24: On the Christian Genocide Day, special report about Tseghaspanoutioun, Seyfo, and Kafno, Tur Levnon with Syriac Union and Tachnak, was broadcasted on MTV news 8:00pm: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/586962522172552/
2020: February 26: On the Word Mother Language Day, about Syriac language with“TurLevnon”on TéléLumière with Journalist Ralph Tawitian: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/623889664844034/
2020: February 21: On the Word Mother Language Day, special report about Syriac language with “Tur Levnon” and “Friends of the Syriac Language” was broadcasted on MTV news 8:00pm. https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/648408915699705/
2020: February 9: On Mar Maroun Day, a special report about the Maronites with Tur Levnon (Fr Jean Maroun Helou and Dr Amine Jules Iskandar) and professor Pierre Zalloua. The report and discussion were broadcasted on MTV after the Mar Maroun mass at 1:00pm.
Full document: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lLyT9tue84Y
2019: August 28: The importance of Syriac for Lebanon. On Radio Liban Libre 102.5 FM :http://www.rll.com.lb/2019/08/28/al-nashra-el-3elmiya-5/#.XWfiKtuVqhM.facebook
2019: August 28: On MTV in “Alive” with Katia Mendelek : Patriarch Estephanos Douayhi Maronite Mass in Syriac language by Tur Levnon on August 11 in Ehden, with vice president Angela Bitar https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UXvXdUZP8II#menu
2019: August 26-27-28: Tur Levnon in “Terre de Compassion” (France) in Three articles :
- Article 1 : August 26 : http://terredecompassion.com/2019/08/26/tur-levnon-i-retour-a-la-source-de-la-langue-syriaque/
- Article 2 : August 27 : http://terredecompassion.com/2019/08/27/tur-levnon-ii-retour-a-la-source-de-la-langue-syriaque/
- Article 3 : August 28 :http://terredecompassion.com/2019/08/28/tur-levnon-iii-retour-a-la-source-de-la-langue-syriaque/
2019: August 21: Tur Levnon in “Cath.Ch”, Switzerland, « Liban : lutte pour préserver la langue syriaque dans la messe » ; by Jacques Berset :
2019: August 19: Tur Levnon in L’Orient-Le Jour. Amine-Jules Iskandar interviewed by Ornella Antar :https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1183090/tur-levnon-une-association-engagee-pour-la-preservation-du-syriaque-au-liban.html
2019: August 17: Tur Levnon on Voice of Charity (105.9 FM). Amine-Jules Iskandar interviewed by Rita Breidy: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/2328229534103971/
2019: August 11: Live on Nour Qeddes (and later on Nour Sat) Patriarch Estephanos Douayhi Mass. Maronite Mass in Syriac language with the Antonine Chorale. Celebrated by Father Ibrahim BouRajel at 11:00 am in Mar Sarguis w Bakhos monastery, Ehden.
2019: Jully 8: Father Jean Maroun Helou (founder of Tur Levnon) on Suroyo TV: the Maronite Church’s interest in Syriac as a link with its Diaspora and Lebanon https://www.facebook.com/SuroyoTV/videos/718787545222072/ https://youtu.be/aIoPl1VOss4
2019:June28:SUBOROTV:about Syriac Maronite iconography: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/389594398326109/
2019: May 14: in L’Orient-Le Jour: Kafno: the Genocide Famine in Mount Lebanon: https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1170291/kafno.html
2019: April 22: Kafno, by Tur Levnon, at the Genocide Memorial (in Jdeidé municipality),organized by the Syriac international Union: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/650095935453236/
2019: March: in Tahkik (Part 2) with Claude AbouNader Hindi on MTV: Syriac heritage in Lebanon,and TurLevnon’s activities and mission: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/2389659391359944/
2019: March 23: on Nour El Charq : Syriac heritage in Lebanon, and Tur Levnon’s acivities: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/2437687429595456/
2019: June 2019 to December 2019, on Nour el Sharq: rerun of the 24 episodes below.
2019: November 2018 to May 2019: 24 episodes on Nour el Sharq: Syriac heritage in Lebanon:
2: the language and alphabet: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=908922916164418&id=1523804814590809
3:preservation of the language: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/1459964094136785/
5: phrases in Lebanese syriac:https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=908922916164418&id=1523804814590809
6:syriac words: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/1222118444611268/
7:Syriac Maronite names: https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/videos/501053147055814/
2018: November 26: on El-Siyasa, about Tur Levnon’s mission: https://www.facebook.com/elsiyasa.lb/videos/605359956578407/
2018: June 28: Radio MBS, Syriac in the Lebanese dialect, by Tur Levnon representative Ms. Cindy Finianos.
2018: May 16: Télé Lumière. Received by Ralph Tawitian to talk about the Lebanese University conference on May 18: https://youtu.be/wJuq-Xe6tLo
2017, December 18, Radio Liban (French), with Nanette Ziadé. About Tur Levnon, the 2017 Christmas events, and thei mportance of reviving Syriac language: https://www.facebook.com/SMUTurLevnon/videos/1777779515860003/
2017, December 6, Radio MBS, about Syriac identity and about the 2017 Christmas events of Tur Levnon from December 8 to December 21:
Recital of Baabda (Antonin College) on December 8.
Recital of Bikfaya (St Mikhael Church) on December 16.
Christmas Market of Bikfaya on December 15, 16 and 17.
2017, December 4, Suryoyo TV Sweden, about Syriac identity and about the 2017 Christmas events of Tur Levnon from December 8 to December 21: https://www.facebook.com/syriac.suroyo/videos/1931804563737756/
2017, December 3, OTV, about the 2017 Christmas events of Tur Levnon from December 8 to December 21.: https://www.facebook.com/SMUTurLevnon/videos/1772419423062679/
2017, December 2, MTV, about the 2017 Christmas events of Tur Levnon from December 8 to December 21: https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D0nAhnpqBAHM&h=ATOMZTe8sPeIjSMTZm3ogv-IkLxcxWcYUSeD4XWK0Gn6YFmSf-thatPtayZZu5EnFo8on9qsrVeMa_974JbL9UuG2zWvbTB2wICLlSE8Zz6n76GoyzM&s=1&enc=AZPaykVXI85f-F0m6KyuvVc8NWflo4JQF7MdAI6SazNS8KvjZOykn5tjQrv-r10ListkPsmMAAqcv_S9rM0HxXTZ
2017, November 23, Mariam TV, about Tur Levnon Christmas events: Recital of December 8, recital of December 16, Christmas Market on December 16 and 17, Tur Levnon convoy in Beirut on December 21: https://youtu.be/BlTPRl0fHlE
2017, November 20, Charity TV, about Tur Levnon Christmas events: Recital of December 8, recital of December 16, Christmas Market on December 16 and 17, Tur Levnon convoy in Beirut on December 21: https://youtu.be/hcjKVn459_8
2017, Sep 16 and sep 17: Télé Lumière – Nour Sat, showing the entire Recital including the speech of Tur Levnon.
2017,Sep 3:MTV:About the Mar Maroun Syriac Maronite Recital:
2017, August 27, OTV, in Yom Jdid, about the Mar Maroun Syriac Maronite Récital: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1738736806430941&id=1523804814590809
2017, August 14, Charity TV, interview by Rita Breidi, about the Mar Maroun Syriac Maronite Récital: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155650876805409&id=441062996260999
2017, June 30, on Radio Liban Culture RCL 88.5 and 92.3 FM. About Tur Levnon: https://www.facebook.com/SMUTurLevnon/videos/481880818845883/
2017, June 25 : Radio Liban Libre : RLL : interview by Ildico Elia: about Tur Levnon, its launching in New York, the Recital in Saint-Maron, the aims and future activities:https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=481875312179767&id=1523804814590809
2017, June 23 : Article in Annahar, by Roula Mouawad :
about Tur Levnon, its launching in New York, and the Recital in Saint-Maron.
2017, June 21: MTV Lebanon: about Tur Levnon, its launching in New York, and the Recital in Saint-Maron: https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2F
2017, June 19: Suryoyo TV Sweden: about Tur Levnon, its launching in New York, and the Recital in Saint-Maron: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1421427361279838&id=607632149326034
2017, June 14: OTV Lebanon: about Tur Levnon, its launching in New York, and the Recital in Saint-Maron: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=446233792410586&id=441062996260999
2017, January 28: MTV (Lebanon), in Alive (Katia Mendlek), “Syriac, the language of the Maronites”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PVu-lfxPoY&app=desktop (15mn).
2016, October 9: MTV (Lebanon), in Tahkik (part 1) with Claude Abounader Hindi, “our villages, our roots”, (About Syriac heritage in Lebanon: names, locations, art, architecture, inscriptions, language, history): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqBTrJFOXaU (50mn).
2016, March 21; and September 9; and October 10: SUROYO TV (Sweden): “Syriac, identity, and the Christian presence in Lebanon”,
2012, June 9:MTV(Lebanon),in Beynétna (KatiaMendlek):”Syriac, the language of the Maronites”:https://www.facebook.com/Suryoyoo/videos/1125259074184146/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE (18mn).
2012, June 19: SURYOYO SAT (Sweden): “Syriac, the language of the Maronites”.
2007, July 12: TELE LUMIERE, Souryaniyat: «Who are the Syriacs?».
2006, March 21: Voix du Liban Libre (interview in Arabic), The teaching of Syriac language.
2005, September 2: TELELUMIERE, Al minbar al Horr : « The Syriac heritage of Lebanon».
2002, Octobre 17: ORBIT 3, in Ouyoun Beirut: La Nouvelle Cilicie.
2002, October 18: Voice of Van (Armenian radio), La Nouvelle Cilicie.
Since 2004, we participate in the teaching of Syriac language at the Association of “Friends of the Syriac language”, Bauchrié, Beirut.
Today we are also teaching on Skype (By Samer Semrani).
Since 2013, Daniel Asade (Ph. D. in SYRIAC PHARMACOPEIA at the University of Buenos Aires) is assisting Prof. dr. Pablo Ubierna for the Syriac Culture Seminar.
PUBLICATIONS : Articles about Syriac culture by our founder member Dr Amine-Jules Iskandar:
- “Syriac Epigraphy in Lebanon” in The Scholar Abbot Gebrael Al-Kurdahi’s Conference on Syriac Studies, LIU, Beirut, (March 2018), pp. 365-391.
- “Mor Ephrem and the Syriac Identity”, in NDU Spirit (Notre-Dame University magazine– Louaizé), issue 39 (March 2007)
- “La trifora libanaise” (the Lebanese triple arche and its Syriac meaning) in Parole de L’Orient (Mélto) . Actes du 9° Symposium Syriacum, issue 31 (2006)
- “La trifora libanaise” (the Lebanese triple arche and its Syriac meaning) in Fann wa ‘imarah (revue spécialisé de l’Académie de Beaux Arts de l’Université Libanaise), issue 1 (décembre 2006)
- “La maison à trois arcades” (The triple arche and its Syriac meaning in Lebanese architecture) in Byzance, issue 10 (February-March 2005)
- “Les influences syriaques dans la miniature éthiopienne” (Syriac influences in Ethiopian miniatures), in Al-Manarat, Revue de Sciences Religieuses, year 51 – number 3, 2014. pp. 5-48.
PUBLICATIONS : Books about Syriac culture by our founder member Dr Amine-Jules Iskandar:
- Epigraphie syriaque. Volume 2. L’épigraphie Syriaque dans l’architecture libanaise (Syriac inscriptions in Lebanese architecture). Published by Notre Dame University – Louaisé, 2014, Lebanon, 470 pages. (23X32cm)
- Epigraphie syriaque. Volume 1.L’épigraphie syriaque au Liban.(Syriac and garshouné stone inscriptions in Lebanon)Published by Notre Dame University – Louaisé, 2008, Lebanon, 480 pages. (23X32cm)
- La dimension syriaque dans l’art et l’architecture au Liban (three books in one volume).Published by Université Saint-Esprit – Kaslik, 2001, Lebanon. 295 pages. (23X32cm)
- La Nouvelle Cilicie.(the Armenian presence in Lebanon and its interaction with the Syriac-Maronites).Published by the Armenian Archbishopry, 1999, Lebanon. 144 pages ( 120x29cm).
PUBLICATIONS for teaching Syriac:
- The Book of Syriac without a teacher, by Knushto d’Marduto Suryoyto: suryoyoDloMalphono or: https://tur-levnon.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/suryoyoDloMalphono.pdf
Office: Breezevale center, Zalka, Beirut, Lebanon. Phone: 961 3 300 610
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/TurLevnonPage/
Twitter : @The_tur_levnon
Website : www.tur-levnon.org
President: Dr Amine-Jules Iskandar firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President: Raya Boustany Raya.Boustany@gmail.com
Universities representative:Angela Bitar SemaanAngela.email@example.com
Youth Activities: Joseph BouKaram firstname.lastname@example.org
Sweden:Habib Dilmac (President)email@example.com
Canada: Dr Touma Hanna firstname.lastname@example.org
Argentina: Daniel Asade email@example.com
Cyprus:Anthony AbdSater Anthony_abdsater@hotmail.com
Facebook admin:Raya Boustany Raya.Boustany@gmail.com