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  • Tags: Sarcophagus

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Stripping off the cement cladding of the interior of the Mar Elian 1938 church

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.

Type: Architecture
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View of the 1938 Church of Mar Elian

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.

Type: Architecture
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Sarcophagus of Mar Elian

The Byzantine sarcophagus believed to hold the remains of Mar Elian (St. Julian) and is covered with pilgrimage graffiti believed to date back to at least the C9th. The form of the sarcophagus is late antique and dates from the C5th-C8th. These images show the tomb before it was cleaned by excavators and damage to the grave, reputedly caused by villagers in the 1920s, is clearly visible. It also shows the sarcophagus before its coverings were removed with the votive offerings placed at the shrine by the faithful and the green satin covering given by local Muslims denoting the tomb of a holy man in their tradition.

Type: Sculpture
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The Church of Mar Elian, Homs

The Church of Mar Elian is believed to date back to the early fifth century and to have been founded on the site of the saint's martyrdom in 284. Elian was a local physician who was murdered by his father, a Roman officer, for his Christian faith. He is widely venerated in Syria for miracles of healing. The church was built around a late antique marble sarcophagus decorated with crosses and located in a small side apse south of the main sanctuary of the church. In the 1970s fragments of frescoes and mosaics were discovered during a renovation programme in the chamber around the tomb, and some elements of the decoration possibly date back as far as the sixth century, though most of the frescoes are twelfth century. Today the church interior boasts frescoes of the life of Mar Elian and various biblical scenes painted by two Romanian artists.

Type: Architecture
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Sculpture, C2nd-C4th? Found in Urfa, now in Urfa Museum.

Type: Sculpture
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Sarcophagus found in Urfa, C2nd-C4th? Urfa Museum.

Type: Sculpture
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