BARI /Italy/, July 8. /TASS/. The Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches have begun implementing a plan aimed at reconstruction of Christian churches and monasteries destroyed during the years of Syrian war, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, told TASS on Saturday.
"We have taken on reconstruction, and some churches and monasteries are being rebuilt now. In particular, restoration work is nearing an end in Maaloula. It is one of the major holy sites in the Antioch Orthodox Church, a nunnery built in the location where the Aramaic language was spoken not long ago," the bishop said. "The nuns were forced to leave the place, but we are hoping now they will be able to return."
Metropolitan Hilarion admitted that conditions remain tense in Syria.
"On the other hand, we have to begin with something and we have already begun without waiting for the moment when the conditions are ideal. Perhaps, this moment will not come soon," he noted.
Since March 2011, Syria has been facing a conflict between government forces and rebels who demand President Bashar Assad step down. According to the UN Refugee Agency, about five million Syrians had fled the country as of the beginning of 2017. Syria had population of about 20 million people before the war. Nearly 500,000 people have been accommodated at refugee camps, while 470,000 have lost their lives in the war.