800-Year-Old Whirling Ceremony To Be Performed at Battell

Battell Chapel will be the setting for an unusual presentation of poetry and whirling dervishes on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m.

The internationally recognized sacred Whirling Ceremony, known as SEMA, will be preceded by a reading from the poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi, a 13th-century jurist, theologian and mystical poet born in what is now Afghanistan. Rumi has been a best-selling poet in the United States for the last few years.

The event centers around the unique love between human and divine, between lover and beloved, communicated through the poetry of Rumi and the spiritual practice of whirling that he inspired almost 800 years ago.

Rumi also encouraged the creation of a learning community of Sufis, called Mevlevi, which has continued over the centuries to this day. Faruk Celebi Efendi, the world head of the Mevlevi Sufis and a 22nd-generation descendent of Rumi, will offer opening remarks at the event at Battell Chapel, which is located at the corner of Elm and College streets.

Peter Rogen will read Rumi’s poems in English. He has performed in Shakespearean theater in New York and established an international business career in communications. Poems will also be read in Farsi by Nuri Simsekler, assistant professor and head of the Rumi Society at Konya Selcuk University in Turkey, where the poet lived the second half of his life.

The 800-year-old Mevlevi Sufi Whirling SEMA Ceremony, symbolizing the cycle of spiritual development possible for a human being, is recognized by UNESCO as “one of the world’s great cultural and spiritual heritages.”

The performance is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Institute of Sacred Music with the support of the mayor and city of Konya, Turkey, and the International Mevlana Foundation. For more information, call (203) 432-5062 or visit the website: www.yale.edu/ism.

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