Archdiocese is expended over 3 governorates in Syria, Aleppo, Idleb
and Rakka, besides Alexandretta in Turkey. Though long distances
separate these regions, the parishioners almost everywhere in Syria
have settled in the cities. On the contrary, they are still living
in the country side in Turkey.
Aleppo is considered to be the second city after the Capital Damascus.
It is known by its industry and trading. Its cultural life has been
empowered by the presence on the University of Aleppo with its campus
that numbers more over than 70 thousand students.
Aleppo is also very singular on the Christian level, since there
are 11 different communities: orthodox, catholic, evangelical, Armenian,
Syrian, kaldean and Copt. The Council of resident Metropolitans
in Aleppo numbers 11 members! Despite this singular Christian plurality
in the same geographical area, love and conviviality characterize
the relationship between the leaders as well as the parishioners.
Mixed marriages form bonds of mutual witness, in the hope that Christian
reconciliation and unity will some day be achieved.
Long time ago, Aleppo is considered to be a nucleus for vocations,
priesthood and monarchism alike. In fact, the religious and cultural
life of the city gave a solid background and provided an appropriate
an educational level to support and develop such trends within the
different Christian communities, mainly between the catholic ones
lately. But we cannot forget the great figures of the orthodox community,
last but not least, the Patriarch of the Arabs, the late Metropolitan
of Aleppo, Elias IV Mouawad, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.
The Archdiocese has many reasons to be proud. One of these is
being the center where the Aleppian School of Iconography has developed
and flourished. While the Byzantine Empire was at end, this region
saw the rise of mastership in iconography that follows the Byzantine
tradition enriched by the local elements. It produced a lot of wonderful
icons that can be seen in Balamand Monastery in Lebanon, or At the
Church of the Dormition of our Lady in Aleppo. Now that this school
has faded away long ago, attention is given not only to restore
its icons, but to give birth again to the school itself.
If the historical patrimony is indeed a big one in Aleppo, unfortunately
History came over the Orthodox Church and cut her short, without
leaving the slight possibility for recovery. The work of Christian
missionaries deprived her of a great majority of her children. On
the other hand, the Church itself was in a very critical situation
under the Ottoman Empire for many centuries. The fall of that Empire
led to the French Mandate. Things went worse, since the French leaders
continued the policy of their successive Consuls and did everything
to empower the other communities and to weaken the Orthodox. At
that level, nothing was left. The Orthodox Church was left as a
widow or an orphan.
Therefore, it is noticeable the absence of great organizations
in our Archdiocese, educational as well as social. Nevertheless,
the situation is not hopeless. There is much room to recover and
to make a new start. Better late than never.
The organizations that are working for the moment are of two nature,
educational and pastoral:
- Educational Organizations
1. The Sunday School,
2. The Saint Elias Scout,
3. The Theological Seminary,
4. The Cultural Institute of Saint Elias,
5. The Sunday Bulletin,
6. AL-Hekma Bookstore.
- Pastoral Organizations :
1. Nour AL Ihsan,
2. The Sunday School Social Work,
3. Iman & Nour,
4. The Ladies Guilds,
5. The Orders.
speaking, Aleppo knew a lot of changes throughout the 20th century.
The biggest one was the immigration which origin is Alexandretta
and its whereabouts just at the beginnings of World War I. Many
settled in Aleppo, others flew to Lebanon and then overseas. Later
on, an internal transition took place from the countryside to the
cities. Many from Wadi Al Nassara came to Aleppo seeking work and
education. Therefore, the composition of our parishes has three
different sources: those whose origin is Aleppo itself, and those
who immigrated from Antioch and Al-Wadi and settled once for all