RECONSTRUCTION OF A MONASTERY IN KESSAB

Kessab is a small village in Syria.

In March 2014, it fell under the yoke of Islamists who claimed to be al-Qaeda. Even though they remained I Kessab "only" a few months, it was enough to destroy much of the historical and religious heritage of the village.

The churches and the cemetery were desecrated and burned, the houses looted, the walls were scrawled with anti-Christian Graffiti, and statues broken with chisels.

Father Boutros Khassis

"On 21st March 2014, at 5 a.m. we heard an explosion and we heard what sounded like bursts of gunfire. From afar, I could hear "Allah Akbar" as the bombs rained down upon us.

In just three or four days, 12000 bombs were sent to our village! At the top of the hill, a sniper was watching. Everybody was hiding. There were dead, there were martyrs."



Perched on the top of a mountain, bathed by the sun and surrounded by fruit trees, the Syriac Orthodox Convent of Kessab still bears the stigmata of the passage of jihadists. Debris cover the floors, the windows are broken and the walls are riddled with bullets.

Father Boutros Khassis, the Syrian-Orthodox patriarchal vicar of Aleppo, appealed to our team in Syria to give a new life to the convent because today life has returned. Thus, since 1 August 2017, a monastery renovation site has been launched.

Once the work is finished, it will serve as a home for both pilgrims and tourists who visit the region. Some of the buildings will be made into a dedicated centre of activities for children. It is a beautiful project supported by the association which has, so far, sent 6 French and Syrian volunteers to work on the project. A light breeze blows through the three floors, all open to the wind. On the outside, the blazing sun shines with all its brilliance over the garden. The scents of summer sharpen the senses; apple trees, peach trees, figs and grenadiers colour dry earth.

In this extraordinary backdrop, the volunteers chisel, plow, pick up and carry away waste and start again from 8:00 am to 4pm each day. The atmosphere is fun and all understand the significance of this work, so despite the aches and slight injuries the volunteers give their best and don’t stop to rest.

The construction takes place under the watchful eyes of their favorite viewers, the birds, who have been evicted from the third floor. The turtle "Alexander" also watches operations! A few times Father Boutros Khassis comes to inspect the construction and progress of the work before leaving again but not before rewarding the volunteers with a " God bless you! " The end of the work is scheduled for April 2018.

You too, can put your stone in the building and participate in the reconstruction of the convent of Kessab.

Repair of roof bricks costs 817 euros.

To equip the newly renovated kitchen, 6537 euros were needed.

With 3224 euros, you can fix the monastery's power grid.

HELP US HERE TO HELP THEM OVER THERE

BECOME VOLUNTEER !

Volunteering is a commitment for a defined period. The volunteer is committed to a mission to serve others. To volunteer at SOS Chrétiens d’Orient you must:

- be older than 18 years old

- stay for a minimum for 1 month

- being in good physical shape

- have parental agreement for a possible departure

"I ask you to be revolutionary. Have the courage to go to counter-current. And also have the courage to be happy!" Pope Francis, July 28, speech to the volunteers of the WYD, Rio de Janeiro.

"I ask you to be revolutionaries. Have the courage to go against the grain. And have the courage to be happy!"

Pope Francis,

July 28, speech to WYD volunteers, Rio de Janeiro.