Three bells and two copper plates of Maaloula churches stolen by terrorists retrieved

Damascus, SANA – Three bells and two copper plates stolen by terrorists from the churches of Maaloula town were located Tuesday in the Melkite Greek Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Dormition in Damascus.

Terrorist organizations overran the iconic ancient town, located near Damascus, in September 2013. Maaloula, which is home to ancient monasteries and churches, suffered unspeakable brutality, vandalism and destruction at the hands of terrorists.

Those blew up St. Thecla Convent, which brought part of it tumbling down, before moving to vandalize the new church and burn the temple’s marble gate decorated with holy icons.

Walls had been charred, saints’ icons stripped off and the Christ’s icons stabbed with knives. An array of several other icons of priceless value were damaged and deformed.

Moreover, lootings abounded in the town. Terrorists stole brass pieces, chandeliers, a 3-meter-long bronze statue of Jesus Christ overlaid with gold that Russia gave to the monastery as a gift in 2009, among other things.

However, several pieces and icons have been restored to Maaloula gradually after the army restored security and stability to the town in April 2014.

The latest were an archeological wooden door dating back to 1700 years ago and a number of crosses and icons, which were restored to the Greek Catholic Monastery of Sts Sergius and Bacchus in Maaloula in December 2014.

Cathedral of Our Lady al-Niah held a celebration and a mass today on the occasion of restoring the bells and plates.

Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All East Gregory III Laham also led a prayer for peace in Syria, which was attended by a number of heads and representatives of Christian denominations and the Nuncio in Damascus.

Mufti and Director of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) Department of Damascus and its countryside and a number of Islamic clergymen attended the celebration.

The Cabinet’s Reconstruction Committee and the Governorate of Damascus Countryside have allocated SYP 300 million for rehabilitating public utilities and infrastructure in Maaloula, in addition to SYP 250 million for restoring damaged housing buildings in the town.

Qabas/H. Said

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