Elqosh is located 30 miles north of Nineveh (current
days Mosul) on the foothills of a mountain known by her name "Elqosh mountains" or "Baathera mountains". It's more
than 2000 ft above sea level. The name Elqosh is of Aramaic origins. It's made of two syllables; "El"
meaning God, and "Qoshta" meaning "Righteousness" i.e. Elqosh
means "The God of Righteousness". Most probably "El-Qoshta" is of Akkadian origin "El-Qustu" i.e. "The God of Righteousness"
or "The God of
Force". The name "Elqosh" could also be "Ilu Qushu", or "Ilu Qeshtu", or
"El Qeshto" an association could be drawn with the winged disk symbol of "Ashur" holding
a "Bow", consequently
the name could be meaning "God of the Bow". In Aramaic language the
"Rainbow" is still referred
to as "Qeshta D' Maran" meaning the "Bow of Our Lord" Alqosh is an old Assyrian town, most probably older than 800 BC. Elqosh
gained fame due to
either being the birth place of Prophet Nahom (who preached between 726-697
BC and was mentioned in the Old Testimony as "Nahom of Elqosh") or for being his new
Due to the beautiful location of Elqosh
on the foot hills of its mountain, surrounded by a valley to
the south were varieties of crops are planted, and another valley "Kaly
Behendoaya" to the west
through which a water stream runs, Elqosh is blessed by many natural attractions:
Cappa Smoqa (The Red Cave):
as such due to its red looking stones.
Cappa DeMaya (Cave of Water):
located at the outskirts of Alqosh Mountain.
Cappa DeNetopa (Dripping
Cave): located north of the Red Cave.
Showetha DeKanaoey (The Thieves
Bed): Was called as such due to its
being the hiding place of thieves and highway gangs. During the Assyrian era, this cave
housed a temple for the
Assyrian God "El-Qustu" after whom Elqosh took her name.
1. Kaly DeQasha Hanna (Fr. Hanna valley):
located east of Alqosh.
2. Kaly DeNahra:
located west of Alqosh.
3. Kaly DeSheo Kheta (Skiing
4. Kaly DeBarsemli
5. Kaly DeNahra DeAhoey (Valley of the Clouds' River)
6. Resh Resha (Top of Head): which
is the top of Elqosh mountain.
7. Rometad Jawenqa (Hill of
the Youth): located west of Elqosh.
8. Aqla DeKabara (Foot of the
Powerful): which is an engraving of
a huge foot on a stone along the road leading to Tel Hash village.
Christianity and Alqosh
Since its establishment, Elqosh was
a place for worshiping whether for Assyrian god El-Qustu or Judaism when Jewish prisoners were brought by the Assyrian army during
the eight and ninth century BC. However, with the spread of Christianity, Elqosh was among
the first Mesopotamian
towns accepting the new faith. Actually, according to the memoirs of Mar
Mekha of Nohadra (Dohouk) that when he visited the town in 441 AD he was welcomed by priests
of a church built
on the ruins of El-Qustu's temple. Elqosh became an important town for Eastern Christianity after the coming
of the monk Hirmizd
who built a monastery known after him "Rabban Hirmizd Monastery" in 640
AD at the outskirts of Elqosh Mountain. This monastery was used as the Seat for many Patriarchs
of the Church of the East. It also became the birth place of Chaldeanism when the head of the
monks of the monastery
"Yohana Sulaqa" decided to join the Catholic Church in 1551 and established
the Chaldean Church.
Before that all of the inhabitants of Elqosh like their brothers in other
Chaldean towns followed the Nestorian faith of the Church of the East. However, Catholicism did
not enter Elqosh till 1762
when the deacon Hadbesha accepted Catholicism at the hands of Patriarch
Joseph IV in Amed
(Diyar Baker) and started preaching it upon his return to Elqosh. In 1780,
most of the inhabitants of
Elqosh accepted Catholicism.
1. Patriarch Yohanan Sulaqa:
His family is originally from Akra, born in Alqosh in 1513.
Established the Chaldean Church and was its first Patriarch. Died as a
martyr in Amadeya on 12
2. Patriarch Yohanan Hirmizd:
Born in 1760 from the Aboona family (which gave birth to many patriarchs for the Church of the East) and accepted Catholicism in
1826 and was ordained a
Chaldean Patriarch in 1829. Died in 1837 in Baghdad and was buried in Mother
3. Patriarch Joseph VI Odo:
Born in Elqosh in 1793. Was ordained as a Chaldean Patriarch on
11 September, 1848. Died on 14 March, 1878.
4. Patriarch Joseph Emmanuel
II Toma: Born in Elqosh in 1852. Was
ordained as a
Chaldean Patriarch on 9 July, 1900. Died on 21 July, 1947.
5. Patriarch Paulos II Shiekho:
Born in Elqosh on 1 November, 1906. Completed his Ph.D. in
Eastern Studies from the Oriental Institute in Rome in 1933. Was ordained
a Chaldean Patriarch on 16 January, 1958. Died in Baghdad on 13 April, 1989.
Elqosh and Muslim Attacks:
Housing Rabban Hirmizd Monastery which
was used as the Seat for several patriarchs of
the Chaldean Church attracted the attention of several Muslim governors
of its surrounding areas. In 1743 Elqosh became a victim to the destructive acts of the Persian sovereign
Nader Shah. According to a letter written by the Priest Habash Bin Jomaa and dating
1746 which describes the destructive acts of Nader Shah "..first they attacked Karamles, and stole
its people's valuables and
kidnapped many of its children and women. They did the same to the inhabitants
of Bartella, whom
they killed many of her men, stole the valuables, and kidnapped its children
and women. They did the same to the people of Tel Keppe and Elqosh, however, many of those
two neighboring villages took refuge at the Monastery of Rabban Hirmizd. There they were
surrounded by the
soldiers of Nader Shah whom they attacked them like a pack of hungry wolves
attacking helpless sheep. They committed such horrendous crimes that I just don't have the
stomach to describe!" In 1828, Elqosh was attacked by the army of Mosa Pasha, the governor of
Amadeya, who was
instigated by some of his Muslim subjects to attack the Rabban Hirmizd
Monastery which he did. His army arrested and imprisoned several monks and priests and caused tremendous
damage to the monastery. In 1832, Elqosh was attacked again by the Kurdish Governor of Rawandows,
nicknamed "Merkor" whose hatred of Christians and Chaldeans is well known. He killed over
400 of its inhabitants. Merkor attacked Elqosh again on 15 March 1833 and killed another 172 of
its men "..not counting children, women, and strangers.." (according to church records).
In 1840, Elqosh was once again attacked by the brother of Merkor, Rasoul
Beg, who surrounded
it for several months after which he put on fire the Rabban Hirmizd Monastery
and stole over 500 of
its valuable books.