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Chains in front of the altar in the Church of Mar Elian

The local people believe that Mar Elian is able to cure mental illness and until the recent past it was usual to chain those suffering with such an illness in the church for three nights. The chains were left in place until the dismantling of the 1938 church in 2004. The practice of sleeping in the church for three nights to pray for healing was continuing at the time that these pictures were taken, but the chains were not used.


Emma Loosley

Date of Visit

30th July 2001


Daniel Hull


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, “Chains in front of the altar in the Church of Mar Elian,” Architecture and Asceticism, accessed October 16, 2021,

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