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Ancient Saint's Bones Found in Rubble of Syrian Monastery


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The bones of a saint revered by Assyrian Christians have been recovered at a Syrian monastery.

Click play to see images of a damaged Assyrian church in the recently liberated Christian town of al-Qaryatain.

Last August, Islamic State jihadists blew up the Mar Elian monastery when they seized control of the Christian town of al-Qaryatain.

On Sunday, the town was liberated by Syrian government troops backed by Russian airstrikes.

Photographs taken of the monestary ruins show a skull and bones within the rubble of a destroyed sarcophagus.

They are believed to be the remains of the monestary namesake, Saint Julian, who had healed the sick. He was martyred in 284 A.D. for refusing to deny his faith. Assyrian Christians say he was murdered by his father, a Roman officer.  

The church and monastery were a pilgrimage site for Middle Eastern Christians. Syria Information Ministry spokesman Hayat Awwad said Holy Scriptures and paintings stored at the site were of "great importance to Christians and Muslims living there...but were destroyed by the extremists."

Russia Today reports its journalists visited the site and said the church and monastery had been destroyed by ISIS. It was more than 1,500 years old, one of the oldest in the Middle East.

The reporters said all the church crosses had been removed and ISIS had burned all the holy books. They said it appeared the jihadists had attempted to burn the building down.

Al-Qaryatain is about a one hour drive from the ancient city of Palmyra, which was recaptured from ISIS on March 27.

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