Envoys of the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches have erected a monumental statue of Christ on top of the Cherubim Mountain in the Syrian city of Saidnaya. The statue symbolizes hope and peace.
Moscow Theological Academy, which was the curator of the project, reported today that this monument should become a symbol of hope of all Christians for a forthcoming termination of bloodshed in Syria.
"The figure of Christ with the blessing gesture is placed on the way of the historical pilgrimage route from Constantinople to Jerusalem at a height of 2.1 km”, the curators told. – “The sculpture can be seen from Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel".
The installation of the monument was timed to the Orthodox holiday of the Intercession of the Theotokos and the Muslim feast of Kurban Bayram. “During the three days, when the works were under way, the warring parties suspended military operations in the area and watched the installation of the sculpture, which was called "I Came to Save the World," the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church also added.
The monument was created thanks to the Russian Foundation “Spiritual Heritage of St. Paul”, known for its charity projects in the Middle East.
Some 50,000 Syrian Christians fearing that the West-backed terrorists seek to eliminate the centuries-old Christian presence in Syria are planning to apply for Russian citizenship, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.
“As the Syrian laws allow dual citizenship, we chose to apply for the citizenship of the Russian Federation, if it’s possible. This would be an honor to every Syrian Christian seeking to obtain it,” a group of Christians from the Kalamoun area near Damascus wrote in a letter to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“Of the 50,000 people – medics, engineers, lawyers and businessmen – ready to put their signatures under this address, no one wants to flee their homes. We have everything necessary, we are not begging for money,” the letter says.
After destroying and looting two Christian churches, Islamist rebels holding the northern Syrian town of Ar-Raqqah have destroyed a historic mosque built to commemorate the 8th-century Arab ruler Caliph Harun al-Rashid.
Local protests against the destruction were suppressed with the use of live gunfire.
The rebels who seized the town last March are members of the radical group known as The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. They make no secret of their affiliation to Al Qaeda.
In a related development, Syria rebels have destroyed a statue of Arab poet Abu Tammam in Jassem in southern Syria.