The United States Army hopes to restore St. Elijah’s Monastery, an ancient site of Christian worship stuck in the middle of a base in northern Iraq (New York Times December 18, 2009) | Photo Tour of St. Elijah’s Monastery in Iraq.
- In the years of American occupation, St. Elijah’s became a curiosity, a diversion for soldiers and contractors.
- The site has never been studied or excavated. Before the war, Iraq’s Republican Guard occupied the base and, according to the Americans, used the cistern as a latrine.
- The monastery is believed to date from the late 500s, when Elijah, an Assyrian monk, traveled from what is now Turkey. It later became part of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
- The goal, Sergeant Miller explained, is to give St. Elijah’s “another 100 years of life — in whosever regime it is then.”