Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar narrowly avoided death during a bombardment of Syria’s capital Damascus. Ten shells fell on the city on Monday, 8 January 2018. Seven people sustained injury during the bombing. When the bomb fell on Saint Anthony’s Cathedral complex, priests and staﬀ at the cathedral feared that Archbishop Nassar had been killed. But when they saw him emerging alive from the smoke and destruction they cried with joy. Archbishop Nassar had retired to take a nap and his life was only saved because he had got up to go to the bathroom when the bomb landed on his bed, riddling it with with shrapnel from the blast.
Saint Anthony’s Cathedral was severely damaged; windows and doors need to be replaced, craters need to be filled, water and electricity networks require repairing. The Melkite Patriarchate in the Bab Touma district of Damascus, located on Straight Street – the only road mentioned in the New Testament and the place where St Paul stayed – also suﬀered damage during the bombardment, as did the nearby convent of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary. Sister Annie Demerjian thanked God, saying it was providence that no one was in the room when the bomb hit.
According to Archbishop Nassar:
“Violence is the only master of this war and innocents are being sacrificed every day.”