Barely 10 minutes after the archbishop’s delegation left, there was a huge explosion that further damaged the building. A bomb hidden inside the pulpit exploded. Had any of the party stayed inside the cathedral longer, it could have cost them their lives In the bishop’s house, rubble filled the hallways, the windows and doors had been smashed, walls damaged or destroyed, the furniture either stolen or burned, the roof bombed and the ecological solar energy installation burned. However, the operating theatre was well preserved and a large quantity of medicines were found. The courtyard was still full of beds and medical instruments. The youth centre had been damaged and blasphemous Islamic inscriptions had been daubed on the walls.
The Church ministered to the people in all circumstances, oﬀering them the Sacraments, both during the war and after. Archbishop Arbach said:
“The people are accustomed to suﬀering and, therefore, despite all the difficulties, they keep going.”
Children received their First Communion in the ruined cathedral in 2016. At the time of writing the exterior of the cathedral is close to completion and a lot of work has been carried out interior, including restored icons, ﬂooring and ceiling. However much more work needs to be done.
That said, the reconsecration of the altar on December 1, 2017 was a milestone on the road to recovery for the people of Homs, especially the Christian community.