Historical and especially religious objects have been hunted by contrabandists even since the 10th century, but the Turkish authorities have been able to track down a group of professional criminals that have been stealing valuable historic and religious objects for years now. In 2015, their hiding spot was discovered in Tokat. The objects found in their trove were supposed to be smuggled out of the country and sold for huge amounts of money.

Besides different jewels, swords, and paintings, a very worn out and distorted bible was found. The bible itself didn’t look very valuable until authorities discovered that every single one of its pages was made from gold. Specialists have taken a better look at the bible to assess its age and it seems that the bible is at least 1000 years old. This has been specified due to it being written in old Assyrian (Sureth), a language that since the 5th century had slowly died.

The origin of the bible is harder to define as old Assyrian was spoken in different locations such as Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. These contrabandists have been well known for stealing religious artifacts out of museums and even churches which have such type of religious objects on display. The problem is that the criminals who found this object had not taken care of it, therefore deteriorating its quality even more. The bible is beyond the point of being restored, but it’s still a very rare and valuable piece.

Due to these smugglers, many historic objects go missing. This is due to the demand created by private collectors of antiques that would go as far as paying criminals to steal such objects for them. This is not because they want to obtain historic objects for a cheaper price, but because most of the rare historical objects within museums are not for sale, no matter how astronomical the offers may be.

This piece is so rare that the Turkish authorities are still trying to trace where exactly it was obtained, would this be from a museum or maybe even a new historical discovery.

It is imperative to mention how valuable this find is, as it will offer new perspectives on the way Christianity evolved in the early centuries. The earliest information about Christianity can be found in the Codex from Leningrad, which offers information from as early as the 3rd century. A better understanding of the development of Christianity in the early centuries might give us a new perspective on it and the definition of its different branches:

Major Branches within Christianity (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Note: These are the major branches within Christianity, there are smaller branches which have been formed in the later centuries.

Many think that the first or “original” branch of Christianity is Catholic, but it’s actually Assyrian. This is supported by the language in which this very old bible has been written! Not only these exemplars but some others which have proven to be written in the 3rd century.

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By Morgan

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