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01/10/2022 Syria (International Christian Concern) – The Syrian-Catholic church and monastic community plan to revitalize and restore the ancient monastery of Mar Elian, located outside Quaryatayn, Syria. The monastery, dating back to the 5th century, was desecrated by jihadists and the Islamic State.

Father Jacques Mourad was kidnapped in Mar Elian and held captive for several years before his eventual release. He now announced the revitalization plans for the monastery, seeking to bolster the Christian community. Reconstruction work will include the surrounding walls and access doors, as well as planting vineyards and olive groves. The tomb inside was desecrated by the Islamic State, who sought to destroy the heart of the monastery.

Father Mourad said of their plans, “We will try to encourage the return to Quaryatayn 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.”

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