The cement cladding in the west of the church around the sarcophagus was stripped back to try and alleviate a damp problem. During this process the structural faults of the building were fully revealed and it became clear that the church had to be dismantled.
This church was built in 1938 over the Byzantine sarcophagus of Mar Elian on the site of the earlier shrine. In 2002 it was discovered that the cement cladding enclosed a mud brick structure. When the church was surveyed and the cement was stripped back to alleviate a damp problem, it became clear that the church had become fundamentally unstable. It was dismantled in 2004 and the salvaged materials were used in the rebuilding of a new church on the model of the 1938 structure to the west of the shrine. The new building was made of stone and a traditional mud brick chapel was constructed over the sarcophagus, which remained in situ.
Tags: 1938, Architecture, Church, Dayr Mar Elian, Dayr Mar Elian Archaeological Project, Mar Elian, Mar Elian esh-Sharqi, Monastery, Qaryatayn, Sarcophagus, Shrine, Syria, Syrian Civil War