The Maronite Church of Our Lady of Montligeon is located in the district of Hamidiyah in Aleppo. The building’s foundation stone was laid in 1908. The church served as a meeting place for the fraternity which prayed for souls in purgatory. The new place of worship only served parishioners until two schools were built adjacent to the church: St. Vincent de Paul School and the Sacred Heart School. Both schools were closed in 1967 when, under the pretense of nationalization, the policy of closing all foreign schools was adopted, as it had been in other neighbouring countries. The school buildings were still used for catechetical purposes. With the exodus of Christians from the region, Mass attendance and activities diminished. In 1998 the church was restored together with parish hall and offices.
The General Prosecutor of the Maronite Diocese of Aleppo, Monsignor Elias Adass, who assumed the duties of the parish priest here in 1998, expressed his anxiety asking: “What will the future be of this church turned to ashes?” In 2013 the Church of Our Lady was hit by bombs. Damage was considerable: the wooden ceiling completely collapsed; and the priest’s ofce and the parish hall were destroyed. The mortar shells only left the Christmas crib – showing Our Lord’s birth in the Cave – and the upper Cross. These remnants summarize the Christian mystery of Salvation – and point the way to the Resurrection.
Monsignor Adass said: “In this situation of destructive terror, there is only one path, illuminated by faith, that can be taken by every believer who lives in Jesus Christ. There is one answer to all the suﬀering: the Resurrection. As Christ renewed what was destroyed, we must lay a new foundation and rebuild our Christian life here.”