Syriac Orthodox display opened

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Display of clothing and objects associated with Bishop Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek. 5th Nov. 2017. Photograph by Gewargis Acis.

Display of clothing and objects associated with Bishop Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek. 5th Nov. 2017. Photograph by Gewargis Acis.

Sunday 5th November: The last few days have seen some interesting events and developments at the TRC. As seen from a previous blog, we had a donation of a christening gown dating from 1947. It is embroidered with the names of 17 babies who had been christened in the gown. An item about it was also put on the TRC’s facebook page and many people have seen the item and reacted to it.

Saturday and Sunday saw a new development at the TRC, namely a two-day course on the identification of lace and its many different forms and types. The course was given by Olga Ieromina, one of the TRC volunteers and a dedicated lace maker and responsible for the TRC’s collection of lace. More details about the course will come online shortly.

In the meantime Willem and I have been hard at work at the Syriac Monastery in Glane, in the east of the Netherlands. We have been helping the community to prepare a display about the previous Syriac bishop, called Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek, who died in 2007 and who had a strong influence then, and indeed now, on the monastery and the people associated with it. Saturday was spent getting the final details of the exhibition in order, text boards hung, podiums and stands covered, objects in order (especially three outfits worn by the bishop) and finally getting the object descriptions written and translated into Dutch and English. Two showcases for the display were provided by the Volkenkunde Museum, Leiden.

Display of clothing and objects associated with Bishop Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek. 5th Nov. 2017. Photograph by Gewargis Acis.

Display of clothing and objects associated with Bishop Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek. 5th Nov. 2017. Photograph by Gewargis Acis.

One of the interesting elements about setting up the exhibition in Glane is the development of what we can only call a community exhibition. A group of specialists (costume historian, editor, designer, printer, photographer,, carpenter, etc) made the basic exhibition design and set it up and now it is for the Glane community to make any changes and additions that they want to make. I am very curious how it will look in a few months time!

Sunday saw a two hour service dedicated to the memory of Bishop Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek. Over one thousand people attended the service and they were all given a booklet about the bishop that had been prepared by Bishop Polycarpus, Father Antionios, as well as the TRC, Mr Joost Kolkman and Mr Orhan Engels. While I was attending the service my thoughts were on the use of liturgical vestments and seeing them in ‘action’, which helped make many details clearer, with regards the use of such items within an Orthodox context.

Understanding the role of clothing, of all types and levels, within Syriac daily and church life is going to be the theme of a book and exhibition (both actual and digital) being organised by the monastery in Glane and the TRC Leiden. It will take several years before everything is ready, but it will be worth the wait!

See previous blogs: 18th June, 9th July and 8th October.

Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Sunday, 5th November 2017.

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