The Melkite Cathedral of the Dormition of Our Lady is located in Sahet Farhat Square, Aleppo. It was built in the 19th century and remained one of the most important places of worship – both historically and numerically – in the Melkite Church. In late 2013, the church was hit during the Battle of Aleppo. The dome, the entrance, the sacristy and the adjacent bishopric with the printing house were all heavily damaged. More than 18 bombs struck and damaged both the Cathedral and the archbishop’s house. The eparch, Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart, said that Church structures must have been deliberately targeted. He added that his own cathedral was now a mere shadow of its former glory and that he had had to abandon the site four years ago, fearing abduction following the kidnapping of two fellow archbishops from Aleppo – Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi.
Archbishop Jeanbart summed up their reconstruction plans in the motto: We build to stay.
The Eparch declared: “I am determined more than ever to stand by our young people in that devastated place, to help them rebuild what was destroyed and recover what was lost”.
He stressed that Aleppo is awaiting the returnees, noting that many Christians who have left were now weighing up whether or not to return.