Christians celebrate feast of Saint Assia the Wise in Syria’s Jazira

This article was originally published by the North Press Agency on 16 October 2020. The original can be found here.

Derbasiya, Syria (Reporting by Reem Chamoun for North Press) – Kneeling, her baby in her arms, Jacqueline Kababa enters the gate of Saint Assia church in the city of Derbasiya, north of Hasakah.

Kababa is only one of dozens of visitors who visited Derbasiya on Thursday to celebrate the feast of Saint Assia the Wise to hold prayers with the intention of healing the sick.

Kababa said, “After my repeated and constant prayers, I gave birth to this child after a long wait, and I named her after Saint Assia.”

She said “Every time I got pregnant, I lost my baby. I thought, if I had a baby, if I would name it after the saint’s name, and I would carry it and enter the church kneeling.”

Dozens of Christians from the Jazira region participated on Thursday evening in the feast of Saint Assia the Wise by holding a mass prayer.

On the 15th of October, Syriacs celebrate Saint Assia in Derbasiya, where prayers are held on Wednesday evening until Thursday evening with the intention of healing the sick.

The number of visitors reached hundreds and thousands before the years of the war, but their number decreased due to the emigration of many Christians.

Bishop of Diocese of Jazira and the Euphrates Mar Maurice Amaysh held a mass in the presence of the priest of the church Father Michael Yaacoub and a number of priests of other churches in the Jazira region.

Bishop Amaysh said that the prayers this year were held with the intention of healing the sick, including the Bishop of Homs and its dependencies, Bishop Mar Silwans Boutros al-Naama.

Dozens of visitors participated in lighting candles, standing in front of the image of Saint Assia in a ritual with the hope of fulfilling wishes.

Assia, who was born in the fourth century AD, was famous for his ability to cure the sick, according to many tales.

Several churches were built in the region in commemoration him, the largest of which is the Saint Assia Church in Mansouriya, north of Mardin, Turkey.

After the displacement of the residents of Mansouriya during the Seyfo massacres, they built Saint Assia Church in Derbasiya at the beginning of the last century and brought with them the legacy of the Mansouriya Church and the entire ecclesiastical heritage it contained.

Among the visitors was Juliet Koreil, a resident of the village of Tal Rumman in the countryside of Tal Tamr, which has been under bombardment since the end of 2019 by Turkish forces and their affiliated armed opposition groups.

“We came from Tel Tamr to here to seek Saint Assia, to make Tel Tamr and its surroundings a safe place. It’s enough; war is everywhere, and we are here to seek the recovery for all the sick,” Koreil said.