Mar Elias Church in village of Fayrouze opens exhibition on Syriac heritage of the region

FAYRUZE, AL-QARYATAYN, Syria – The Syriac Orthodox Mor Elias Church in Fayrouze, Homs Governate, on Wednesday evening opened an exhibition on the Syriac heritage of the villages of Fayrouze, al-Qaryatayn and Fhayle.

The exhibition on Syriac heritage was sponsored by the department for Youth Affairs and Christian Upbringing of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate under the supervision of Patriarchal Vicar Anthimos Jack Yacoub, in cooperation with the British Institute for Development Studies. The Institute has as an ongoing research program with the aim of recording cultural and religious heritage.

The openings ceremony of the exhibition was held in the community hall of the Mor Elias Church and was attended by the Syriac Orthodox bishop for Homs and its environs Timotheus Matta Khoury, parish priest Touma Gasouha, clergy, congregation members and Syriac youth from the area.

Exhibition coordinator Rafa Hadib introduced the project, its goals and its importance to preserve the Syriac heritage of the region and associated villages. Next, the research members and heritage collectors showed photos and videos of the villages of Fayrouze and Fhayle and informed the attendees of their interviews, encounters and findings.

In 2015, terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS) captured the mixed Sunni Muslim and Christian Syriac town of al-Qaryatayn and associated villages. Hundreds of Sunni Muslim and Syriac Christians were kidnapped by Islamic State. Syriacs were forced to follow the ISIS Islamic demands or face death.