3 goals behind Russia’s reopening of the “Mar Georges” church in Eastern Ghouta

3 goals behind Russia’s reopening of the “Mar Georges” church in Eastern Ghouta
3 goals behind Russia’s reopening of the “Mar Georges” church in Eastern Ghouta
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The head of the Department of External Relations in the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church, “Metropolitan Anthony” with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, John X, inaugurated the “Mar Georges” church in Irbin, after its restoration, in the presence of the Russian ambassador to the Assad regime, Alexander Yefimov, and a number of Russian military and civil figures and Baathist officials. in the Assad militia.

The SANA news agency, speaking on behalf of the Assad regime, said that a mass was held last Sunday, presided over by Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Anthony, in the church. The patriarch praised the joint work between the two Orthodox churches of the Assad regime and Russia, which resulted in the reopening of this church again after it was destroyed by “terrorist gangs,” according to the statement. prescription.

The destruction of the church by the bombing of the Assad militia

Ismat Abu Jawad from the city of Irbin told Orient.net that the church of “Mar Georges” was built in the year 1870 and is located in the old neighborhoods of the city near the market. city ​​in 2012.

Esmat added that the church was subjected to more than one bombing by the Assad militia during the opposition factions’ control over the area, which caused the destruction of large parts of its buildings and the burning of the books, Bibles and manuscripts that were in them.

He stated that the church had been restored since 2019 with the help of Christian personalities from the country and with the follow-up of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Antioch without the clear support of the Assad government.

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Russian targets

In turn, Saeed Hamed, a former local council member in Eastern Ghouta, said that Russia’s goal in restoring the church is to convey a message that conditions are good and that Christians can return to Eastern Ghouta and the city of Irbin in particular after their shells and planes abandoned them, as well as confirmation, albeit “formal”, of Russia’s continuation. With its military and security presence in the towns of Eastern Ghouta, which the Iranian militias did not enter, according to the agreement signed in 2018.

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Hamid added that Russia Seeking To extend its social influence through religious associations with a humanitarian cover and under the name of supporting reconstruction projects in parallel with the Iranian expansion in all fields, as associations operating in the name of the “Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East of the Greek Orthodox” affiliated with the Russian Christian Church were active by providing some services and simple food chains in villages and the towns of Eastern Ghouta.

For his part, media activist Ahmed Halawa from the city of Irbin told Orient Net that the Assad regime is trying to play the Christian card politically at home and abroad to achieve gains because it is the protector of the Christian minority, especially in its address to the West, and that it is working to preserve sectarian pluralism in Syria.

And “Halawa” indicated that the number of Christian families in Irbin was about 500 families before the start of the revolution, such as the families of Rajha, Toma, Naama and Al-Khoury. In which.

It is worth mentioning that the Christians of Eastern Ghouta were famous for goldsmithing and trade. Before the revolution, there were workshops for goldsmithing and Christian merchants of building materials. The most prominent Christian official from Arbin is the former Minister of Defense, General Daoud Rajha, who was killed in the bombing of the crisis cell in the National Security building in Damascus in 2012.

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