Monday, 4 November 2013

The Syrian/Syriac ethnicity - with its Jewish and Aramean roots.

Firstly, there must be a distinction made between Syrians of the modern polity of Syria and the traditional Syrians. They are not the same thing. There are many traditional Syrians in Iraq, many in Lebanon and many in Jordan. But they do not live in the modern polity of Syria. (maybe I will blog in the future about the farce in the way the middle east was divided into nation-states, but it isn't the goal of this post).

The Syrians are not Arab, they are Syrian!. The eventual establishment of the Syrian Arab Republic created confusion in the international community. This caused the Syrian Orthodox Church to use the term Syriac Orthodox Church to clearly distinguish itself from the Syrian Arab Republic.

Intermarriages had occurred between Christian-Jews, Native Arameans and to a far lesser extent Greeks in Antioch and Edessa (and surrounding areas) . After several generations of Christianity a group with a clear Aramean-Semitic dominance had developed. They took the name Syrians, which is a bastardized form of the Aramaic word Assyrian. The Syrians then developed their own writing system for the Aramaic language which is called today Syriac. This language became the communication medium for Christianity in the whole East.

The native Arameans had spanned from the Mediterranean to the Levant to Mesopotamia and all the way to Persia. These people today form the majority of members of the Syrian Ethnicity.

The School of Edessa, prior to Christianity, had been a hub of Jewish thought. Due to the difficulty of going to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice, the Jewish faithful in Edessa developed a ritual of incense offering. When Edessa eventually became Christian, this prayer formed the basis of the Hosoyo prayer (Prayer of Forgiveness). Many Edessian Jews eventually dropped this practice, however, there are still remnants of this ritual surviving today amongst Jews in Mesopotamia and the Levant. For Example: the use of the Bema, and the use of Maqamat (The 8 Syriac musical tones).

Finally, the Syrians are today either called the Syriacs or Arameans. As the modern-day polity of Syria has caused confusion. Nevertheless these people are not Arab nor Greek. They are descendants of Jews and Arameans. They are distinguished by their Semitic race and Syriac-Aramaic Language.

We (the Syriacs/Arameans) must all be grateful to our forefather, who had been under persecution for their faith for 2,000 years. We must never forget the sacrifice they made so that we may continue to know the Lord.

Through the prayers of the Birth-Giver of God Maryam and Mor Ephrem God Bless you all!


  1. Syrian Christians should abandon Arabic, the tongue of the mohametan barbarians, at least as a language of Church and domestic life and embrace, Syro-Aramaic the language of our ancestors and also of our Lord.

    Of course Arabic would still be necessary as lingua franca with non-Christians but that is no reason why the Syro-Aramaic cannot be brought alive again in the homes, churches and communities of the Syrians.

  2. Cool post. Can I see some of your sources.