Aleppo: The Cathedral is Reborn

May 14, 2019

The Greek-Melkite Catholic Cathedral of Aleppo was reopened for worship on April 23, 2019, during a Mass celebrated by the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, His Beatitude Yousef Absi. The Melkite Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Jean-Clement Jeanbart, sees this event as a breath of hope for Syria.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Dormition, like many others in Syria, experienced the throes of war: at the end of 2013, the roof, the dome, and the sacristy were destroyed.

On the Vigil of Easter 2018, Archbishop Jeanbart lamented: “My residence, the archbishop's palace, and the cathedral have been the target of repeated rebel bombardments. They dumped more than 70 shells of all kinds and caused great damage. One of my priests was badly harmed and our buildings literally rendered useless.”

A year later, the Archbishop of Aleppo smiled again: his church was re-consecrated on April 23, 2019, during a ceremony presided over by the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, in the presence of the apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Mario Zenari.

Built in the first half of the 19th century, after official recognition of the Greek-Catholic Melkite Church by the Ottoman authorities in 1830, the cathedral is, for the community, one of the most important places of worship historically and numerically.

Before the war, it was estimated that there were 18,000 Greek-Catholics in Aleppo. According to the Patriarchate, quoted from AED-Canada, there were only 12,000 in 2015.