Church of Saint Elian

It was named after the Homsi martyr Saint Elian who was killed during the Roman persecution of Christians in the 13th century. The church was built in 432 A.D. inside the old city of Homs near Palmyra Gate. It was built in Byzantine architectural style. Inside the church, a sarcophagus was put containing the remains of Saint Elian.

It is thought that the church lost big parts of its building during the 9th century when the Abbasid Caliphate al-MutawakkilʿAlā ’llāh ordered to demolish all churches in Homs, what remained of the building during the 19th century would not provide enough space for people to pray due to the small size of the room (9 x 6 m).

The building was expanded in 1843 A.D. with the efforts of its priest Yusuf Rabaheyah. In 1969, Bishop Alexi Abdul Karim ordered to rehabilitated the church. During rehabilitation, big wall paintings were discovered covering the ceiling. The paintings depict stages of the life of Jesus, Virgin Mary, the 12 Apostles and the prophets, they are considered some of the oldest Christian icons in Syria. The church has survived the war in Syria, which has damaged many of the archaeological buildings and sites in the country in the past six years.

Text: Reem Lababi

Mariam Bachich


Mariam Bachich


Mariam Bachich


Mariam Bachich