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Eid Mar Elian 2001

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.


Emma Loosley

Date of Visit

8th September 2001
9th September 2001


Emma Loosley


Metadata and all media released under Creative CommonsCreative Commons BY-NC-SA unless otherwise indicated

Related Resources

The photographs of the 2001-2003 survey and excavation seasons have been lodged with the Archaeological Data Service and are reproduced here with their permission. For those who would like more specialised information such as context and intervention numbers or direction of shot please refer to:


Ethnographic information/Social History


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The Dayr Mar Elian Archaeological Project (DMEAP)


Emma Loosley, “Eid Mar Elian 2001,” Architecture and Asceticism, accessed June 17, 2024,

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