Sites & cities that bear the name of Mar Elian Monastery

Mar Elian Monastery

Today in : Syrian Arab Republic
First trace of activity : ca. 4th century C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : دير مار إليان, Deir Mar Elian al-Sheikh al-Nasik, دير مار إليان الشّيخ النّاسك, Dair Mār Ilyān aš-Šaiḫ an-Nāsik, Monastery of the Venerable Saint Elian the Hermit

Description : The Mar Elian Monastery ( Arabic دير مار إليان), also Deir Mar Elian al-Sheikh al-Nasik (دير مار إليان الشّيخ النّاسك, DMG Dair Mār Ilyān aš-Šaiḫ an-Nāsik , "Monastery of the Venerable Saint Elian the Hermit") was a Syrian Catholic monastery and a pilgrimage site near al-Qaryatain . It was founded in the 5th century and destroyed by the Islamic State terrorist militia in 2015 . The monastery was located on an old oasis at the transition from the steppe to the Syrian desert that began further east . In the 4th century a stone church was built dedicated to the holy martyr Elian of Emesa . An Orthodox monastery was established in the 5th century . The further development is unknown. In the 18th century the monastery was closed. Archaeological excavations have been taking place with British support since 2001. There were Arabic inscriptions in the church, a star of David, remains of an iconostasis and other things. In 2003 the old church was partially restored. In 2007 two monks from the Dair Mar Musa al-Habaschi monastery re -established the monastery. It tried to be a meeting place for Christians and Muslims. Since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, it has taken refugees from Homs and the neighboring villages. The Prior Jacques Mourad struggled with the Grand Mufti of Al-Qaryatayn a conciliatory situation between Muslims and Christians. On May 21, 2015, Father Jacques Mourad was kidnapped by fighters of the Islamic State. On the night of August 6th, Karjatain was conquered by them. Two weeks later the old monastery church was destroyed with a bulldozer and the remaining buildings were set on fire. On October 11, 2015, Father Jacques Mourad was released. At the beginning of April 2016, the Syrian army retook al-Qaryatain. There are plans to rebuild the monastery.

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