• Culture and heritage

Syria: Reconstruction of the Maronite Cathedral of Saint Elijah in Aleppo

The cathedral is located in the centre of Farhat square, in the district of the historical churches of Al-Jdayde. It is one of the jewels of Syrian heritage and is an iconic shrine for the town's Christian community. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful cathedrals in Aleppo – its bell is the local equivalent of the bells of Notre-Dame in Paris.

The partial destruction of the Maronite cathedral of Saint Elijah in Aleppo was a harsh blow to the collective memory, particularly that of the Christian community.  Significantly damaged by the fighting, the roof caved in under mortar fire in August 2012 and, like the Christian quarter of Al-Jdayde, the cathedral interior, was devastated by bombing in 2015.  

  Aleppo Christians are helping and supporting one another to restore the cathedral to its former glory. For the specific purpose of funding the roof restoration, the Naregatsi choir, founded in Aleppo twenty years ago, went on a ten-day tour in France in October 2018. The funds gathered during the tour will be used to renovate the Maronite cathedral of Saint Elijah.  
"We started the works one year ago," explained Vincent Gelot, who is project manager for l'Œuvre d’Orient in Syria. "We had to start by protecting it from water ingress, then we refurbished the interior cupola that had been damaged by artillery fire. The interior walls have been re-surfaced."

Description of the project:

  Full renovation of the building is supported by l'Œuvre d’Orient. In addition to the plundering of the sanctuary and walls damaged by shrapnel in several places, the roof was damaged and torn from its base. Since the end of 2017, l'Œuvre d’Orient has supported the works to protect the cathedral from water ingress. Now a new framework has to be fitted.    
For payments by cheque or money transfer, please indicate project code: T80709

The cathedral’s construction site with Monsignor Tobji, Maronite Archbishop of Aleppo