Prakash Varghese (OCP Delegate of UAE, Gulf and Levant Region)
OCP News Service – 16/8/14
Damascus: Celebrations of the Feast of the Dormition of The Holy Theotokos, was lead by His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II at the Saint Mary Syriac Orthodox Church of the Holy Belt “Um az-Zinnar” in Homs, Syria on 15th August 2014.
A grand procession was held were Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II restored the Holy Belt of the Holy Theotokos inside the “Um az Zinnar Church” after a gap of three years. The belt of Mother of God was removed from the its original place inside the Church due to security concerns as part of the internal crisis in Syria. The church was used as a shield by the opposition armed gangs during the unrest and was damaged. It was for the first time in 1500 years that the belt was taken out of the Church for its safety.
Divine Liturgy was celebrated and several faithful attended the ceremony. Patriarch thanked the Syrian governmental authorities and the Syrian Army for their hard work that brought back peace in Homs and also he appreciated the determination and courage of the Syriac faithful. His Excellency Talal al-Barazi the Governor was present for the occasion. He welcomed Patriarch and the delegation on behalf of the ancient city of Homs and expressed his atmost joy on the return of the holy belt. Matthew Mor Timotheos – Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Mor Boutros-selwanos Alnemeh and other prelates were part of the Patriarchal delegation.
Now on the day of Dormition of Holy Theotokos, our Mother of God, her holy belt is restored back to the ancient Orthodox Church in Homs.
OCP News Service