Christians in the Middle East – a Timid Revival?

The plan for the rebirth of Mar Elian envisages the replanting of vineyards and olive groves on the land around the monastery, together with the reconstruction of the surrounding walls and access doors. Fr Jacques says: “We will try to encourage the return to Qaryatayn of the Christians who lived there and who were forced to flee during the war, supporting the reconstruction of their homes, the revitalization of crops and activities that guaranteed their economic independence before everything was devastated by the conflict. If this first phase proceeds well, the actual reconstruction of the monastery and the parish church will be carried out, as well as the archaeological recovery works around the tomb of the Saint, “which will not be easy after the devastation suffered.”

Currently only 26 Christians remain in the Qaryatayn area while are fewer than 10,000 Muslims there. But Fr Jacques is hoping many more Christians will return to the area where they lived for centuries before they were forced to flee by IS.

Before the conflict, the ancient Sanctuary of Mar Elian, dating back to the 5th century, had been closely linked to the monastic community of Deir Mar Musa and was flourishing. The Christians there lived peacefully with the Moslem community.

Source: ICN

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