The tiny villages scattered across the Urmia Plain were greatly influenced by the Kingdom of Van. A large contingency of Van’s most devoted followers lived along the shores of Lake Van which was situated just to the north and west of Lake Urmia. Recent excavations of ancient ruins near Urmia have led to the discovery of utensils that date to the 20th century BC. The name for the ancient Silk Road City of Urmia originated in the Kingdom of Urartu.
At one time Lake Urmia was the largest lake in the Middle East. The city, situated by such a lake and surrounded by rivers, was seen as the cradle of water. The Urartian etymology is complemented by the city’s Armenian population. The term is derived from the Indo-Iranian urmi– “wave” and urmya– “undulating, wavy.” Local Assyrian folk etymology for the name also relates mia to Syriac meaning “water.” Hence Urmia simply means ‘Watertown.”
The Assyrians have referred to the Urartian influence while characterizing the ancient population of Urmia as ancestors of the inhabitants of the Sumerian city state Ur, referenced Biblically as “Ur of the Chaldees” and the birthplace of Abraham. The Urartian language is also referenced as the Chaldean language, a standardized simplification of Neo-Assyrian cuneiform, which is attributed to Urartian chief god Ḫaldi or Khaldi.
Urmia has always been an important center for education. From the early influence of Vanite culture, through the growth fostered by Cymboyton’s unique school of religions, the medical faculty established in 1878, to the sixteen colleges and universities together with the ten libraries currently owned by the city, Urmia has been and still is a force for positive change.
Within this context, our focus on Urmia Revisited through the Cymboyton Amphitheatre project, is designed to promote a culture which honors that tradition of borrowing the best from science, philosophy, and religion for the edification of all. We will place special emphasis on the lectures Jesus gave, during his thirtieth year, while returning from a caravan trip to the Caspian.
During these Urmia Lectures, Jesus outlined a path forward, towards an era of light and life. He gave these lectures in the context of the time of their presentation, a time in which the world was a very different place. Even so, the principles he chose to highlight are just as valid today. Accordingly, these lectures have been restated, within a contemporary context and modern phrasing, by the authors and editor of Urantia Paper 134. During his lectures, our now Sovereign Lord organized the topic of Sovereignty under three general headings.
Sovereignty — Divine and Human
Law, Liberty, and Sovereignty
These headings will become the framework for our monthly online meeting titled Urmia Revisited. This ongoing video conference will feature guest facilitators hailing from a variety of religious, philosophical, and scientific disciplines to address problems and solutions under one of the three primary topics. This meeting will occur at 8:00 PM on the First Saturday of every month.
Access to the conference will be available through www.CymboytonAmphitheatre.org