St Mary's church, Deir Ezzor (Syrian Revolution in Art)
St Mary’s church, Deir Ezzor (Syrian Revolution in Art)

A church in Syria held its first service in nearly six years on Saturday, 3 February.

A group of Orthodox Christians and Muslim clerics met among the stones and remnants of rockets in the heavily damaged St Mary’s Church in Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor city, reports Al Monitor.

Deir Ezzor was captured by rebel groups in 2012. Fighting in the city grew more intense when Islamic State group militants arrived in 2014.

Residents started to return when Syrian troops recaptured the city in November 2017.

The service was led by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Aphrem II, who said: “It’s an indescribable feeling for us to pray in a nearly destroyed church, which serves as a consolation for our hearts and a message of hope to the people of the city to come back and take part in building it anew.”

An estimated 3,000 Christians lived in Deir Ezzor before the Syrian uprising in 2011.