In the Syrian city of Skalbia in the province of Hama, a terrorist attack occurred at the opening of an Orthodox church, a smaller copy of the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople.
Two dead and 13 injured were victims of a drone attack at the opening of the Orthodox Church of Hagia Sophia, which took place today in Syria, in the city of Al-Suqaylabiya.
Local media attributed the attack to an al-Qaeda affiliate, but said it was “supported by Turkey”.
The temple was built as a copy (on a smaller scale) of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The construction of the temple, which belongs to the Antioch Patriarchate of the Syrian Orthodox Church (SOC), is carried out by the Assad government. Russia has reportedly offered to help with engineers and personnel working at a nearby Russian base in Latakia.
As RIA Novosti previously reported, the temple in the city of Skalbia was founded in the fall of 2020, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul served as its prototype. The temple was erected in memory of the fallen soldiers and local militias, who for several years defended Skalbia from militant attacks.
“The idea of creating the church of Hagia Sophia was born, so that there would be a holy land here. So that people could pray, and here the memory of the dead was honored. Here, on this holy land, two monuments will be located – one is dedicated to the fallen heroes of the Syrian army, the second – to the dead Russian servicemen who gave their lives to fight against terrorism, ”said Nabil Abdallah, commander of the city militia.
Skalbia has long been one of the main centers of Orthodox Christianity in predominantly Islamic Syria. This was one of the reasons for the increased attention of the militants to the city and especially persistent attempts to capture it from the very beginning of the war. The local clergy actively supported the defenders of the city and civilians – the townspeople were warned about the beginning shelling by ringing bells in Orthodox churches, and people found shelter from shells in them.
The Church of St. George the Victorious, the oldest in the city, has become one of the main centers for maintaining the spirit of the defenders of Skalbia. “This church was built in 1891 and it is the first stone building in Skalbia. By the decision of the inhabitants of the city, the best materials were chosen – the stones for this church were brought by the people themselves on their shoulders. She, like other churches, was a shelter for people during shelling, ”said the rector of the temple Dimitrios al-Haddad to reporters.
He noted that the believing townspeople enthusiastically accepted the idea of building a new church of Hagia Sophia, since the cathedral, which served as its prototype, is of great importance to them. “Every Christian would like to have something like this in their city,” he stressed.