The Convent of Our Lady of Saydnaya was built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and he designated as its primary feast to be celebrated on September 8th in honor of the Nativity of the Theotokos. Inside is housed also an icon of the Theotokos that is said to have been painted by the Apostle Luke and is responsible for many miracles throughout the centuries. Despite the civil war in Syria and the persecution of Christians there, the nuns and people of Saydnaya did not hesitate to celebrate the birth of the Mother of God as always this September 8, 2014.
The celebrations began with the bells of the Monastery joyfully ringing and a procession of the miraculous icon led by Bishop Luke Khoury of Damascus, assistant of the Patriarch of Antioch. They were followed by many clergy, monastics, orphans of the Monastery and the faithful. Joining in the procession were many Muslims also who come every year to participate in the festival. The procession passed through the streets of the city of Saydnaya, proclaiming triumph and peace to the war torn country of Syria.