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Last year, Friar Najeeb Michaeel had no doubts about transport six boxes with documents dating from the 13th to the 19th century across the border from Iraq to Kurdistan while trying to flee the Islamic State. When the Islamic State arrived in Mosul in June, a short distance from Qaragosh, Michaeel had no doubt that they must step into action to save important historical documents.
The Roman Catholic Church came to Iraq in the 13th century and established a permanent church in Mosul in 1750. Last year, the Islamic State destroyed important historical objects and documents in Iraq and Syria. It was very important to Michaeel to save the 2,000-year-old remnants of the Christian heritage. The collection that Michaeel It has saved includes many historical and philosophical texts, documents about Christian and Muslim spirituality, music and literature written in Aramaic, Syrian, Arabic, and Armenian.
Michaeel and his team have been digitizing ancient manuscripts and photographing them for many years.. Since 1990 they have digitized 8,000 manuscripts from the region, half of the originals do not exist today because they have been destroyed by the Islamic State, as Michaeel has pointed out.