Every September 9th the feast day of Mar Elian ("Eid Mar Elian") is celebrated at Dayr Mar Elian. As the saint is venerated as both a Christian saint (Mar Elian) and a Muslim Sheikh or holy man (Sheikh Ahmed Khoury - Sheikh Ahmed the Priest) several thousand people from Qaryatayn and the neighbouring villages attend the mass held in the cloister. This is presided over by the local Syrian Catholic Metropolitan and the Sheikh of Qaryatayn. These pictures start by showing the preparations for the event the day before the pilgrims arrive, before showing the events of the day itself. Msgr. Georges Kassab and Sheikh Assad are shown addressing the crowds attended by assorted Christian clerics, including Fr. Jacques Mourad, Prior of Mar Elian and Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio, the Abbot of Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi. On this occasion a small display was constructed in the church to explain about the forthcoming archaeological excavations and to educate local people about the processes of archaeology so that they were happy that the project would not impact on their worship at the tomb of Mar Elian.
Type: Ethnographic information/Social History
Tags: Church, Eid Mar Elian, Ethnographic information, Mar Elian, Mar Elian esh-Sharqi, Monastery, Qaryatayn, Sheikh Ahmed Khoury, Social History, Syria, Syrian Civil War