Rabban Hormizd Monastery

Useful Information

Location: Bozan, Nineveh Governorate, Iraq.
North of Alqosh/Bozan. Take road to Our Lady of the Harvests Monastry, then turn north, to the end of the road.
(36.74912, 43.11555)
Open: All year daily 8-13, 14-18.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Rabban Hormizd Monastery,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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640 monastery founded by Rabban Hormizd.
1551 becomes the official residence of the patriarchs of the Eliya line of the Assyrian Church of The East.
1859 Patriarch Joseph Audo build a new monaster near Alqosh.


Rabban Hormizd Monastery, in Kurdish ܕܝܪܐ ܕܪܒܢ ܗܘܪܡܝܙܕ and in Arabic دير الربان هرمزد is a monastery of the Assyrian Church of The East. It is a Catholic monastery in a muslim country, with a long tradition. It was named after the monk Hormizd, rabban is the Syriac for monk, who founded the monastery in 640. Rabban Hormizd was quite famous, and when he founded the monastery, it soon became extremely important for the Church of the East. It was quite popular until the 10th century. Its status rose again when it became the burial site of the patriarchs. From 1551 it was the official residence of the patriarchs of the Eliya line of the Assyrian Church of The East. In 1859 Patriarch Joseph Audo decided to replace it and built a new monastery named Notre Dame des Semences (Our Lady of the Seeds). It is located near Alqosh in the plain, at the road to Rabban Hormizd Monastery. The new monastery quickly became the principal monastery of the Chaldean Church, and most of the monks moved to the new location.

This is a cave monastery, as rows of caves were hewn out of the solid rock by ascetics who lived in those caves. Those hermit cells were not connected, and some even had no access, the hermits had to climb to get there. Today about 40 caves still exist. The monastery had about 50 monks, but after the completion of the new monastery this number soon sank to about ten.