A little monastery, which includes the Church of St. George, stands below the ridge where the town is located. ISIS’s military action left the exterior of the building largely intact; only the dome was hit by shelling. However everything inside the church was severely damaged by the Islamist fighters. They destroyed ancient icons: burning them or defacing them; others were stolen. The magnificent iconostasis was almost entirely burnt. A statue of Jesus in the courtyard was knocked down, and a statue of the church’s patron saint St. George was mutilated. All of the church’s electrical equipment was stolen. The monastery was looted, destroyed and burnt.
The church was made available for the faithful. However, it was so heavily devastated by the jihadists, that signifcant additional funds are needed to return the church to its pre-war beauty. While Father Toufc Eid, the parish priest of St. George’s Church remains optimistic, he is realistic about the challenges, given the continuing conﬂict in the country. He asks:
“Pray for us, that we might rise again and have hope, which comes from faith, because there are still many difficulties.”