SUICIDE bombers have badly damaged a Turkish church thought to have been visited by the three wise men, The Sun reports. St Mary Church in Hah, Tur Abdin, thought to be the oldest church in the world, was targeted by a jihadi on 25 May.
The bombing was just 100m away from the church. The blast blew out the windows of the church, which lies between two Syrian Orthodox Christian villages. According to folklore, the three wise men stopped at the church after they had presented the baby Jesus with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
The church was named after Christ’s mother. Nuri Kino, founder of advocacy group A Demand For Action said: “Hah is my heart and soul… it is one of the most important places for our people in the world. “Yuldath Aloho has faced many wars and genocides and never been destroyed.
“Yesterday all the windows were crashed. We feel with all those that were killed, no human blood, no matter if they are Turks, Kurds or Assyrian/Syrians should be shared. “The inhabitants in our villages are vulnerable and we are pleading to the world to stop them from being hurt. Yesterday was a day of total shock for us, we are losing our people in Iraq and Syria and now this in Turkey.
“We are tired of tears, tired of being hurt in country after country. The people of Tur Abdin stand not alone.” The attack on the church, which is also known as Idto d’Yoldath-Aloho, could be a sign of further attacks against Christians in Turkey. A spokesman for Christian charity Open Doors said: “Sadly, violence against Christians in Turkey appears to be increasing.
“In 2015 Open Doors researchers recorded eight incidents where churches were attacked and a number of Christians were injured because of their faith. “This week’s attack so close to such an ancient and important church building may be a worrying sign that violence against Christians in Turkey could be escalating further.”
Violence against Christians in the country is just another symptom of the ongoing conflict between the government and Kurdish militants. Since the fighting started in July 2015, over 5,000 people have died. 6,000 buildings have also been destroyed.
There are only 5,000 Christians left in the Tur Abdin area. 30 years ago, there were 20,000. Some fear that Christianity will be eventually wiped out in the Middle East.