Damascus Countryside, (SANA)- An archeological wooden door dating back to 1700 years ago was restored to the church of Mar Serkis and Bacchus convent in Ma’aloula city in Damascus countryside after being stolen by armed terrorist organizations.
“I knew by chance that the Mayor of Ras Baalbek area in Lebanon has bought the door of the convent’s church from one of the Lebanese people from Arsal who traffic in archeological pieces stolen and smuggled from Syria in general and from Ma’aloula in particular and he maintained it to be able to restore it to Syria later,” Syrian expatriate Ana Mas’ad said.
“I offered to give the mayor a sum of money to restore the archeological door, yet he rejected, and said ‘We know the meaning of war and our goal is the return of the church’s door to its place.” Mas’ad added.
Mas’ad made several contacts with Lebanese media, the Syrian Embassy in Lebanon, the Ministry of Tourism and Damascus Countryside Department of Archeology and Museums to take the required measures for the return of the archeological piece on Christmas.
She affirmed that Syrian expatriates should preserve the cultural and historical image of their homeland and convey a bright image about it to the public opinion wherever they are.
Many other archeological artifacts have been restored to the convent including some icons and brass crosses.
“We came here before Christmas to start its happy atmosphere from here…In spite of our suffering; our belief is stronger than any challenge or pain.” Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Gregorios III Laham said while presiding over a mass held at the convent on the occasion of restoring the archeological door.
Laham considered that the return of the door and some other archeological pieces to the convent “Gives us hope that Syria’s doors will be open again before the entire world,” affirming the solidarity of all the Syrians.
“We will return united homeland, people, heart and vision…Peace and security will return to Syria,”Laham said, calling for amity and tolerance.
After the mass, Minister of Tourism Bishr Yazaji stressed that the main role of the government is to protect all religious sanctities in Syria, saying “Ma’aloula will return to be a beating heart of life and a destination for pilgrims despite of all the destruction in it at the hands of terrorists.”
For his part, Minister of Culture Issam Khalil said that the Syrians are determined to live and that their message in the life is a message of love and peace, stressing that all the archeological pieces which have been stolen by terrorists are documented by the Ministry in order to not allow them to traffic in these pieces at the international markets.
Damascus Countryside Governor Hussein Makhlouf said that work is underway to reconstruct the buildings and shops in Ma’aloula city.
More than 93 archeological pieces have been restored by Syria in cooperation the Lebanese Archeology and Museums General Directorate and in coordination with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization “UNESCO” which has issued a list in all languages to attract the attention to the Syrian archeological artifacts.