Syriac Orthodox Christians in Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakeh celebrated the inauguration of the community’s new bishop on Saturday, four years after the last one left the nation.
Six years of conflict in Syria have displace the greater part of its populace, including millions who have become refugees.
Christians in a some sections of the nation have been target by the jihadists of the Islamic State group, who have torn down and desecrated churches and Christian icons. In the Saint George Cathedral in Hasakeh city, worshipers said Archbishop Maurice Amseeh’s landing was an indication that their group stayed strong regardless of the war.
“It’s true that many have left, but we’re still here, and what happened today is the proof that we’re still here in this country and that we will stay,” said 23-year-old student Jenny Hakop.
Congregants ululated as Amseeh strolled down the aisle, wearing white and blue robes richly embroidered with gold thread.
“To have a flock without a bishop is difficult, it loses its way,” said Georgette, a 37-year-old schoolteacher, expressing the hope that Amseeh would help revitalise the church.
Amseeh’s official mandate stretches out to the Syriac Orthodox community throughout the Jazeera and Euphrates region , including neighboring Deir Ezzor region, which remains under IS control.
“As soon as Deir Ezzor is freed from terrorism, I will make a blessed trip there to start rebuilding both buildings and people,” he told AFP.
Much of Hasakeh province and Hasakeh city are under the control of a Kurdish “autonomous administration” with smaller parts of both controlled by the central government.
Among the photos and bunting adorning the church exterior on Saturday was a large poster of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syriac Christians have a place with the eastern Christian trandition and ask in Aramaic. They includes both Orthodox and Catholic branches, and constitute around 15 percent of Syria’s 1.2 million Christians.
Prior to the conflict started in March 2011, Christians from somewhere in the range of 11 distinct sects made up around five percent of the populace.
More than 330,000 individuals have been executed in Syria since the nation’s war started in March 2011 with against government challenges.