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Benedictine Monk Saves Ancient Manuscripts, Most Recently From ISIS

Father Columba Stewart (@ColumbaStewart) has spent more than a decade traveling to some of the world’s most dangerous regions — Iraq, Syria, the Balkans — to find and preserve manuscripts, many of them centuries old. And now, with the rise of ISIS, his work has become more urgent than ever.

The 59-year-old Benedictine monk has so far helped locals photograph an estimated 140,000 manuscripts, over 50 million handwritten pages. He’s director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (@visitHMML) at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss his work.

Links To Manuscripts

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A page from the 15th century sole complete copy of the 12th century World Chronicle by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Michael the Great describing the arrival of the Third Crusade in 1189. (Courtesy Columba Stewart)
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A page from the 15th century sole complete copy of the 12th century World Chronicle by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Michael the Great describing the arrival of the Third Crusade in 1189. (Courtesy Columba Stewart)