St. George Monastery in Homs, one of the oldest monasteries in Syria

Homs, SANA – Nestled deep within the woods of Wadi al-Nadara area in Homs province, St. George Monastery is one of the most important cultural and religious landmarks in Homs and one of the oldest monasteries in Syria.

The monastery is named after Saint George of Lydda, and its Arabic name (Mar Georgius al-Humaira) either refers to the finding of one of his body parts in the area after he was tortured and executed by pagans, or refers to the nearby archeological site al-Humaira.

St George Monastery 4

The monastery’s Abbot, Father Damaskinos, said that this site had always been a place of love and peace and a symbol of the area’s deep-rooted history.

Some resources suggest that the monastery was built during the 16th century AD, during the time of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and that it was probably built at the same time as Sednaya’s Patriarchal Monastery, with the sources suggesting that Justinian was the one who built them.

The modern monastery consists of three layers, each one dating back to a historical period. The first layer consists of a cave surrounded by the monks’ living quarters, with a southern façade and gate built with black stones. This structure had a stone window from which the monks gave bread and food to wayfarers and the needy.

The second layer was built during the time of the Crusades in the 12th century, consisting of a second floor with a western gate, while the third layer was built in 1857, consisting of a third floor with a high dome and decorated with magnificent wood icons.

The monastery’s safe houses a trove of relics including crosses, trays, crucifixes, parchments, documents, letters, and gifts from the kings of ancient kingdoms and civilizations.

H. Sabbagh

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