Saint Mary Church of the Holy Belt, Historic Landmark of Civilization and Humanity

(ST) - Um Az-Zinnar Church, (Saint Mary's Holy Belt), is a historical Syriac Orthodox Church in Homs. The church is built over an underground church dating back to 50 AD. It is the seat of the Syriac Orthodox archbishopric. It is called so, because the church contains the venerated Holy Girdle that is supposed to be a part of the belt of Saint Mary, mother of Jesus.
The church is one of the oldest and most important features of the ancient city of Homs. It is located in the neighborhood of Bustan Diwan, which is one of the alleys of old Homs. Visitors can not visit Homs without visiting the church.

The church is famous for its unique architectural style, as the black basalt stone was used in the construction, as well as the stone vaults.
The church was built as a small underground basement in the first century AD. The current church is built over an ancient archaic church which is believed to date back to the Byzantine era. The hall is rectangular like, the roof is a long dome that ends with flat roof and the ceiling is built on six nodes and six pillars.

In the mid-fifties of the last century, while browsing a manuscript in April 1953, a leather with several papers was found in. After opening these papers, it was discovered that it is a collection of manuscripts consisting of 46 letters written in Krishoni and Arabic, dating back to 1852 from the Diocese of Homs to the sons of the Mardin diocese. When the church was demolished to be renovated, the Lady's belt was found in the sacrificial vessel in the altar. At the unveiling of the sacred table, a stone plaque was found that was also written in Krishoni. Below the plaques there is an old stone jar covered with a circular copper plate. The girdle was carefully wrapped in the jar.
The landmark Um Az-Zinnar Church sustained severe damage at the hands of terrorists who had ravaged the Old City before they were forced out by the Syrian army.
The Virgin's belt was taken out and kept in a safe place, until the city was liberated from terror, to begin the restoration work of the church. The Virgin Mary's belt and icon were restored to the church on August 15, 2014.

Amal Farhat - Homs

 

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