Some 5,000 members of the Assyrian community from around the the world gathered in the southeastern town of Midyat to remember Mor Gabriel or Saint Gabriel, on the 1,351st anniversary of his death.
The faithful gathered at a monastery bearing the saint's name in the town, located in southeastern Turkey's Mardin. The monastery is one of the oldest surviving Assyrian monasteries in the world and believed to have been built some 1,600 years ago. Speaking at the religious service dedicated to the saint, Hori Gabriel Aktaş, vice metropolitan of Midyat for the Assyrian church, said they were pleased with the fervent atmosphere.
"We have a large crowd today who came from Europe and other cities," he said. Daniel Savcı, an Assyrian priest who attended the service, said Mor Gabriel was among the most revered saints of the community due to the multiple miracles he exhibited during his lifetime.
"We mark his anniversary of death here in this monastery because this is where he was buried along with thousands of other saints. It is like a second Jerusalem for the community," he said. The community set up large pots outside the monastery and served meals to the guests while the faithful recited the Bible throughout the night and into the early hours of Tuesday.