I have seen the ruins of many old monasteries in Iraq like the monastery of Saint Elijah and have wondered at the emptiness within. The monastery has since been destroyed, in 2014. Rabban Hormizd, another ancient monastery I visited in Iraq, was founded about 640 AD near Nineveh and carved from the mountains. It is an archaeological wonder, made of dusky red stone and built upon an enormous rock. In the hills surrounding the church and its buildings are rows of manmade caves.