Damascus, Syria, Feb 7, 2018 / 20:00 pm
For the first time in nearly six years, Christians from the eastern city of Deir Ezzor in Syria were able to celebrate a liturgy at the local church of St. Mary's.
"It's an indescribable feeling for us to pray in a nearly-destroyed church, which serves as a consolation for our hearts and a message of hope to the people of the city to come back and take part in building it anew," said Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch, who celebrated the liturgy, according to the National.
The liturgy was celebrated over the weekend on Feb. 3 with a small throng of worshippers numbering around two dozen, and a few local Muslim clerics. Because the altar was too damaged to use for the celebration of Eucharist, a makeshift table covered in a white cloth was used.
Despite the blown-out windows, strung wire and discarded pieces of artillery scattered throughout the church, the local faithful were grateful to celebrate the first Eucharist in years.