The monastery Maryam Al-Adra in Sulaimaniyya. The monastery is located within the center of the city, yet one has to know where to look for it.
The monastery Maryam Al-Adra in Sulaimaniyya. The monastery is located within the center of the city, yet one has to know where to look for it.
Every day, except for Sunday, starts with breakfast. Sometimes Father Jens helps in the kitchen.
Every day, except for Sunday, starts with breakfast. Sometimes Father Jens helps in the kitchen.
To avoid chaos, the nearly 200 people pick up their meals one after another. They usually eat in their rooms with their own families.
To avoid chaos, the nearly 200 people pick up their meals one after another. They usually eat in their rooms with their own families.
Father Jens is monk, psychologist, caretaker and fundraiser in one person. Thus, he spends most of his day on the phone taking care of things.
Father Jens is monk, psychologist, caretaker and fundraiser in one person. Thus, he spends most of his day on the phone taking care of things.
Life and death are in very close proximity in the monastery. The old father of a family deceased after along illness and Jens organizes his burial.
Life and death are in very close proximity in the monastery. The old father of a family deceased after along illness and Jens organizes his burial.
Because Father Jens is planning the construction of a new building to extend the monastery, he personally visits the construction site regularly.
Because Father Jens is planning the construction of a new building to extend the monastery, he personally visits the construction site regularly.
Jens is not employing any helping hands in the monastery, therefore he also takes care of the weekly gas delivery.
Jens is not employing any helping hands in the monastery, therefore he also takes care of the weekly gas delivery.
The monastery holds little space for the almost 200 guests it is housing, so every available area is valuable.
The monastery holds little space for the almost 200 guests it is housing, so every available area is valuable.
An armed guard is protecting the monastery 24/7. There was never an incident, but the city municipality would like to keep it this way.
An armed guard is protecting the monastery 24/7. There was never an incident, but the city municipality would like to keep it this way.
Father Jens talks to the relatives of the previously deceased in Erbil. Since the Christian refugees want to be buried in their IS-occupied hometowns, they have to be buried in a temporary cemetary in Erbil in the meanwhile.
Father Jens talks to the relatives of the previously deceased in Erbil. Since the Christian refugees want to be buried in their IS-occupied hometowns, they have to be buried in a temporary cemetary in Erbil in the meanwhile.
Jens is preparing for a sermon on Sunday morning.
Jens is preparing for a sermon on Sunday morning.
A refugee helps Father Jens with preparing the sermon for this morning.
A refugee helps Father Jens with preparing the sermon for this morning.
Despite the situation, the church still serves as a sacred place. With four families living in the church, separated by panels of fabric, Father Jens holds a service on Sunday morning.
Despite the situation, the church still serves as a sacred place. With four families living in the church, separated by panels of fabric, Father Jens holds a service on Sunday morning.
A little girl receives a blessing from Father Jens during Sunday service.
A little girl receives a blessing from Father Jens during Sunday service.
A woman hangs laundry on the roof. In the background are the mountains separating Iraq from Iran.
A woman hangs laundry on the roof. In the background are the mountains separating Iraq from Iran.
Jens' guests had several professions before their exile. Some of these skills now come in handy at the monastery, for example when Jens needs to trim his beard.
Jens' guests had several professions before their exile. Some of these skills now come in handy at the monastery, for example when Jens needs to trim his beard.
Father Jens thanks the women that cooked todays lunch. With very limited resources, the meals are usually very basic. Today it was rice with potatoes.
Father Jens thanks the women that cooked todays lunch. With very limited resources, the meals are usually very basic. Today it was rice with potatoes.
Father Jens stands in the only Christian cemetery of Sulaimaniyya. The city with two million inhabitants has a tiny Christian community, only two other churches exist.
Father Jens stands in the only Christian cemetery of Sulaimaniyya. The city with two million inhabitants has a tiny Christian community, only two other churches exist.
The monastery at night. Some people sit outside and chat while enjoying tea. Sulaimaniyya can be seen in the background.
The monastery at night. Some people sit outside and chat while enjoying tea. Sulaimaniyya can be seen in the background.
Father Jens Petzold in his church.
Father Jens Petzold in his church.