DARAMSUQ — During the past decade of war in Syria, the Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian (Deiro d-Mor Mūše Kūšoyo, in Syriac) near the city of Nabek, located about 100 km north of Daramsuq (Damascus), was lucky to avoid any direct material damage. The monastery was built on the ruins of a Roman tower in the 7th century A.D.
However, the monastery suffered great moral damage with the disappearance of Italian Jesuit Priest Paolo Dall’Oglio who contributed to the restoration of the monastery in 1982. The former abbot of the monastery Father Jack Murad was also kidnapped for several months in 2015.
In 2013, fierce battles took place in Nabek, located 16 km from the monastery, which soon came under fire by the Islamic State (ISIS). The terrorist group controlled the neighboring eastern countryside of Hmoth (Homs) between 2015 and 2017.
Amid the continued stalemate in the country, Father Jihad Youssef, abbot of the monastery, told AFP, “We want the visitors to return, and we want to see them again among us praying and meditating.”
However, Christians in the region still fear being kidnapped or killed, especially after ISIS arrived in the town of Al-Qaryatayn in 2015 and kidnapped its Christian residents.