Islamists destroy the monastery Mar Elian
(Damascus) The Syrian city of al-Qaryatain is in close proximity to the ancient ruined city of Palmyra. Last weekend it was recaptured by the Syrian army. The city, which before the war had about 18,000 inhabitants, is inhabited by Sunnis and Christians.
The jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) had taken al-Qaryatain early August, 2015. On August 21, was devastated by shelling and a bulldozer, the 1500 year old monastery Mar Elian. The destruction was recorded by the Islamists as a video and published on the Internet.
As the video shows, the jihadists broke into the grave of the eponymous saint Julian of Emesa. The doctor had suffered martyrdom here in 312. The monastery was built above his grave. The Islamists wanted demonstratively to destroy the Christian past of the place. The relics of the saint are still in the grave, as noticed by the prior of the monastery, Father Jacques Murad. He had returned on Monday with the Syrian army to the city. The monastic community of al-Qaryatain belongs to the Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian. The Monastery of St. Moses of Abyssinia is on Syrian slope of the Anti-Lebanon.
The visibly moved Prior finds the relics
In the years before the war the repopulation of the convent of St. Elian (Julian) had been successful there. Father Murad had been captured on 21 May 2015 by the Islamists, as they raided the monastery. Only on October 11 of the same year, he managed to escape from the hands of the Islamic State (IS).
Visibly moved and overjoyed Father Murad realized that the relics of the martyr were still present. "They can now be collected and reassembled. Thus, the life of Christians is beginning in the area again," he said as quoted by Fides. "The fact that the relics of Mar Elian are not lost, for me is a great sign: He wants to tell us that he does not want to leave this monastery and this holy ground. We know that the saints are in heaven. We can always call for their intercession. "
Father Murad had made studies in recent years on the relics. This enabled him to immediately identify the mummified remains.
"A great sign of blessing for our whole Church"
On Wednesdays, a priest of the Syrian Catholic archeparchy of Homs and monks of Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian came to al-Qaryatain to evaluate the status of the destroyed monastery. "They will collect the relics and bring them safely to Homs," said Fr. Murad on Tuesday. "The old sanctuary was razed. The new church and monastery were burned and shelled. We will build the sanctuary and the monastery again. Then the relics of Mar Elian again be returned. By the grace of God new life will flourish around the grave again. This will be a great blessing sign of our whole Church. "
Text: Fides / Giuseppe Nardi
Picture: Youtube (Screenshot)
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