Project Description

The Maronite Cathedral in Al-Jdaydeh district

St. Elijah Maronite Cathedral, located in the Al Jdeydeh quarter of Aleppo, was built in 1873 and renovated in 1914. It replaced a small church dating from the 15th century, which occupied the same site. This large modern church has two magnifcent belfries set into its western façade. At the opposite (east) end there is a dome.

One of the belfries has a chiming clock, which plays Ave Maria every fifteen minutes. In the square in front of the cathedral there is a sculpture of Archbishop Jermanos Farhat. Between 2012 and 2016 the cathedral was frequently targeted by the rebels. In August 2012, the Cathedral received minor damage during the Battle of Aleppo.

During the Syrian crisis at least three heavy missile attacks by militants were recorded – and there were numerous smaller incidents. The bulk of the damage occurred in 2013 when jihadists stormed through the city, attempting to destroy Christian landmarks. After being abandoned for four years, the church was reopened before Christmas
2016, following the decisive Battle of Aleppo. Members of the Faithful useded debris from the ruined cathedral to help create a Christmas crib. The cathedral was opened up on 25 December 2016 for the Christmas liturgies. It was the frst time since 2011 that the cathedral exploded with joy and not with mortar shells. Describing how he was
nearly killed in a bomb blast and how he buried children killed in a mortar attack, Maronite Archbishop Joseph Tobji of Aleppo stated:

“At times I have cried, but most of the time I am able to smile”.

In April 2017, the Easter Mass was celebrated in this shrine for the first time in over four years.