“The Christians in Syria are NOT guests or migrating birds. They are the basis of Syria’s existence.”
– President Bashar Al-Assad (September 2017)
President Bashar al-Assad received the recently-elected Patriarch of the Melkites, Yusuf al-Abssi, in Damascus, Syria, yesterday, 4th July 2017.
The patriarchy traces its origin directly back to the See of Antioch, founded by St. Peter himself, one year after Our Blessed Lord’s crucifixion, and has its seat in Damascus. There are roughly 1.6 million Melkite Catholics throughout the world.
In 2013 the famous statue of Our Lady that majestically watches over Ma’loula – the ancient city where Aramaic, the native language spoken by Christ, is still spoken – was destroyed by Daesh.
A new statue was commissioned and paid for personally by Asma Al-Assad, wife of the Syrian President, who is popularly known as The Jasmine (the flower) of the East.
A new statue was delivered and put back in its rightful place above Ma’loula in 2015.
A Founding Trustee of The Saint George Educational Trust, Roberto Fiore, recently visited Syria and relates that:
“Our visit to Ma’loula was the most moving part of the entire trip. There we were given first-hand accounts of Daesh in action.
We heard about the martyrdom of people who simply refused to renounce the Christian Faith, we learnt of the kidnapping of nuns, we saw the destruction of the altars and of churches built 1700 years ago.
We saw history in motion, with new legends in the process of being made. Finally we heard how the army liberated Ma’loula, though not without the great sacrifice of two hundred Syrian soldiers.
The people of Ma’loula are proud that President Assad visited them just three days after the town’s liberation, giving comfort and money to rebuild the town and its historic monastery, while his wife gave money to restore the statue of Our Lady which dominates this ancient Christian settlement.“