Homs, Syria, Nov 27, 2016 / 06:48 am
The fourth-century saint Mar Elian's relics survived the Islamic State's destruction of the Syrian monastery that bears his name, and a priest who escaped captivity says these are among the signs of hope for Syria.
"In Mar Elian, we have always hoped to welcome everyone. Mar Elian was really a sign of hope for the Syrian people," Fr. Jacques Mourad told CNA. "Everything changed when I was taken hostage. But we can still build something. We must, however, await the end of this war."
Fr. Mourad was captured by the Islamic State group in May 2015, and escaped some five months later. He was prior of the monastery of Mar Elian, in the Syrian town of Al Qaryatayn, about 60 miles southeast of Homs.
The monastery had given refuge to hundreds of Syrians displaced from Al Quaryatayn, and partnered with Muslim donors to provide for their needs.