Homs, Syria, Aug 11, 2016 / 21:08 pm
The war-torn Cathedral of Homs sits in the heart of western Syria.
When the area was occupied by the Syrian civil war’s opposition forces, they turned the cathedral into a military headquarters.
The occupation took its toll. Icons of the cathedral were stolen, severely damaged or defaced. The marble columns were almost completely ruined. The ambo has been targeted by gunfire, while many furnishings were burned.
In the crypt, the tombs of priests were desecrated. One body was torn from its resting place.
Even the roof has holes caused by rocket damage, as large as 23 feet in diameter.
The siege lasted from April 2011 to May 2014, killing some 2,000 people. Now, the Syrian opposition has withdrawn. Christians are returning home.
They need to rebuild their cathedral, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Peace.
Pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need's Italian branch launched a fundraising campaign in late July for the Melkite Greek Catholic cathedral. It aims to collect about $89,000 to repair the worst damage.