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2012-01-24 17:13:19 Views : 2747 |


Translated by: Aziz Emmanuel Zebari


Bartella lies in on a plateau overlooking a vast plain which extends as far as sight can reach where lie fascinating scenes in the beautiful plain, the civilizational plain of Nineveh. It is a big town that is administrated by the province of Nineveh 20 km away.

The village has been an inhabited site since antiquity. It was an important town in ancient times which expanded on a large area. This is proved by the many Tells surrounding the town. In his Dictionary of Countires, Vol 2, Yaqut al Hamawi  said, “ Bartalla is town-like village to the east of Mosul in Nineveh. It has an abundant welfare, many markets and a trading activity with an annual income of 20 thousand Red Dinars. The majority of its inhabitants are Christians with a Mosque and temples for worshiping and renouncement. They grow legumes, good quality lattus whose repuration has gone into public sayings. They use drinking water from water wells”. In his Muniyat al Udaba’a Fi Tareekh al Mousel al Hadaba’a, Ameen al Umari says , “ They grow wheat and barley, and is six hours away from Mosul. It is also called Batella which is the the centre of the sub-district of Hamdaniya ( the town became the centre of Hamdaniya sub-district in the forties of the last century after the centre of the sub-district was moved from Qaraqush in 1941). The town lies on the righ side of the highway from Mosul to Erbil. The number of buildings has increased and so has the number of its inhabitants who are all Christians”.


The Name


The name of the village has been subject to various explanations. The majority of philologists explain it as “ the place of shadow”, i.e. place of trees, by replacing the consonant sound (ض ) by ( ط) like the Nabatians, an indication that  the meaning of the word is Nabatian. Others including Yaqut al-Hamawi maintain that the name is derived from the Aramaic word - Bet Rtoolé- i.e., a factory where weighing measures(Retl) (pound) are made. Still others maintain that the name comes from “ Bar Telyo i.e. the son of the child. Others think it is the place of dew…along with other opinions.

It is possible, however, to find another site bearing the same name that dates back to the sixth and seventh centuries under the name  Beth Bartelle or Beth Bartllaye, the name of a village at the foot of the  nearby mountain. Besides, Marootha of Miyaferqini, describing the schools that were established in Bartilla for the study of liturgy after the Nestorian schools which he said pleased people through their “ melodies and beautiful tones”,  calls the village Beth Terlaye, or Beth Tellalé.


Tragedies of Bartelle


Bartella was destroyed three times:

In 1738, when the Persian king sent his army under the leadership of his minister Nergez Khan, who destroyed the villages surrounding Mosul.

In 1743, when Tehmasab (Nadir Shah) attacked the villags of Mosul and destroyed the village following his conquer of Kirkuk  and Erbil .

There were similar tragedies in the years 1756, 1757, 1758 when a great famine befell the village due to sworms of locust, draught, and hale that was as big as chicken eggs, so much so that people began to feed on herbs like carob, corms, donkey and mule meat. The inhabitants had to go to Kirkuk and the cities of Iran to bring cereals and on their way back were many were attacked and robbed. Many people died in Bartella due to severe famine.

In the thirteen century it is believed that Syriacs from Tikrit, Baskharya (lies at the foot of the St. Daniel’s Mountain some 10 km to the north east of Bartella), Semele (on the hight way from Duhok to Zakho), Qob ( ihabited by Syriacs until the end of the nineteenth century where bishop Elias 2nd ordained a priest for the village named Sulayman 1889, to be its last priest), Bashbeta ( 4 km from Bartella), and Jbara ( destroyed by Yezidis in 1220 who killed all the men and abducted the homeless women and children.


 The Churches of Baretle


The inhabitiants of Bartella embraced Christianity durig the middle of the 4thcentury. This is attested by its 40 martyrs of the last quarter of the 4th century. It has many old and new churches:


1.     The Grand Church of Mar Ahodema

The church is mentioned in the History of the Church of the East. A great temple was built in the village by Mafryan Ignatius 2nd La’azar who also built other important buildings in approximately 1153. He also stayed at the church for some time. In about 1312, a great  Mafryanic abode was built by Mafryan Gregorius Ya’aqub while Mafryan Gregorius Barsum al-Suffy the brother of Bar Hebraeus died in it. Then Mafryan Matta Hanno al-Bartilli stayed in it for two years and returned to it later after 1317. This remarkable church was later on destroyed following the hard troubles that swept the country in the 14th century. It was still there by the end of that century based on the evidence of a memorial stone found it its ruins in 1933, which bore the Syriac inscription,”  Deacon Michael passed away from this miserable life to the world of bliss in February 1697 Greek corresponding to 1396.AD.”


2.     St Shmuny’s Church

It is an old church that was built following the destruction of the Church of Mar Ahodema in an unknown time as it is not mentioned in the Ecclesiastic History by Bar Hebraeus. All that is known of the church is that it was renovated for the first time along with the church of Mar Gewargis in 1807. It was all leveled and rebuilt in 1869 during the time of Patriarch Mar Ignatius Ya’aqub 2nd, and later during the time of Mar Qurles Denkha bishop of Mar Matta Monastery,following 62 years.

Beside the royal gate of its big temple is found the date of its last renovation. This is a summary of the renovation: “ This church was built in 1869 by the earnest endeavour of its generous people living in the village of Bartella who in one faith gathered for consultation. They reached an agreement to rebuild it. They brought carved stones and construction materials on carts, horses, and mules and piled them on the site of building amid canticles and cries of joy. May God save them from all hardships and hard times . This was during the days of the primacy of our highly esteemed father Patriarch Ya’aqub the 2nd , of the Castle of al Mara’a that is near to the Monastery of al- Zafaran, the apostolic see in the Sub-distric of Mardin and during the days of the primacy of Mar Qurlus Bishop Denkha the superior of Mar Matta Monastery in Mnt. Alfaf in the east. Thousands and countless praises to you God, for your support in building this church.”

We have to mention also Father Khorepiscopus Elias Sha’aya who took care of this church and enriched it with agricultural land, architectural projects, and built a school and health care centre beside it.

3.     The Old Church of Mar Gewargis

This church is deserted now. On dividing the churches amongst the churches of the two denominations, the church has come now to belong to the Syriac Catholic church in Bartilla. It has three temples. It opens on one side to a northern yard. Along the sanctuary on the northern angle of the yard is “ Martyrs House” where the date of 1850 is mentioned. The present building represents the church of the 18th and 19th centuries. And according to the researcher, Patriarch Mar Ignatius Afram 1st Barsum, it may have been possible to find in Bartille the Monastery of St. Jarjis, which used to be there in 1701 and it may be possible to find the church in that location.


4.     The New Chruch of Mar Gewargis

The foundation stone of this church was laid down on 7 October 1934 by the name of Mar Gewargis the Martyr amid a big celebration. Work to build the church started in May 1935 by transporting limestone from Mnt. Ba’adhra. Construction work started in 26 May 1935, and in 1938 bishop Jarjis Dalal made serious efforts to complete the work. In May and August in 1939 all the work was completed and the church was consecrated in a big celebration on Sunday 24 Sept 1939.


5.     Virgin Mary’s Churhc

Work in the construction of this church ended in 1890 during the time of Bishop Qurles Elias Qedsu Bishop of Mar Matta Monastery. The church is mentioned by manuscripts since the 15th century attesting to the existence of the church.


6.     The Church of al-Sayida

This church was demolished and all that has remained is its ruins. The demolishing was completed in 1934 to use its stones in the construction of the new Mar Gewargis Church, and therefore its plan is no more clear. It is also clear and an established fact that all kinds of inscription has disappeared with its other characteristics.


Achievements of Mr. Sarkis Aghajan in Bartella

1.Cnstruction of the Syriac Orthodox Diocese,

2.Consturcion of the tow residential complexes ( Mahabba and Hayat) that comprise 216 appartments. They were supplied with water and power supply.

3.Reparation and supply of three churches with all the requirements needed:

a.The church of Mart Shmoony,

b.The church of Mar Gewargis,

c.The church of Mary.

4.Reparation of the Nuns Convernt,

5.Completing the construction of the cultural centre of the Syriac Othodox church, 

6.Development and furnishing of the cultural centre of the Syriac Catholic Church, 

7.Consturcion of an apartment in Virgin’s Church,

8.Cemetry Construction project,

9.Construction of hall for ciber café and supplying it with an internet system and the required equipment,

10.Purchase of three houses for the sports club,

11.Purchase of a house for Syriacs Notables Council with complete furniture,

12.Purchase of a a bus for the transportation of university students,

13.Construction and furnishing of the cultural centre for the Armenian Sect,

14.Development of the kindergarten and supplying it with furniture and other required equipment along with a vehicle for the transportation of the kids.

15.Purchase of plots of land ( 9.5, 4.5, 1.5 donums respectively) and using them for agricultural purposes and residential complexes,

16.Construction of a room for an internet station at the cultural centre,

17.Implementation of a project for dumping trenches in agricultural lands in Bartella,

18.Drilling of (6) water wells in schools and health centres,

19.Supplying the two scout teams of Mar Matta and Mar Gewargis with the required equipment,

20.Supplying Bartilla with (7) units of power supply generators for churches and other institutions,

21.Purchas of (15) vehicles for varios centres and institutions to be used for various purposes,

22.Supplying Shlomo and Asaf troupes with the required equipment,

23.Printing about (300) copies of text books for the first, fifth and sixth grades each,

24.Supplying schools with some required equipment,

25.Printing the al-Haqiqa (Truth) quarterly journal,

26.Printing (800) copies the two books of Kunooz (Treasures), in two volumes,

27.Honouring a number of special school teachers,

28.Provision of tents for funerary purposes and other required equipment,

29.Treatment of the water supply system in al-Adhra’a and Salam  quarters in the town. 


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