April 9, 2016

Bones of St. Julian of Emesa Found in Ruins of Monastery Destroyed By ISIS

Christian Deguit
April 7, 2016

Saint Julian, otherwise known as Elian, was a native of Ancient Emesa (now Homs in Syria), and was martyred for his refusal to renounce Christianity in AD 284.

The bones of St. Julian were discovered by journalists after witnessing the destruction that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) left after bulldozing the fifth-century Saint Elian Monastery found in the Syrian town of Qaryatain.

For hundreds of years, the Saint's remains have not been touched or uncovered by people after it was buried at the monastery in a sarcophagus.

It was reported that ISIS proudly posted pictures of their demolition of the 1,500-year-old building on several accounts on social media back in August 2015.

Qaryatain is found in central Syria, which is under Islamic State rule until its recent liberation by government forces. ISIS intends to wipe out Christian identity in the region.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Christians that were taken captive in the town were moved to Al-Raqqah.

Because of the onslaught carried out by the Islamic State, many Christians fled the country. Reports claimed that 200 residents, mostly Christians, were abducted by the extremists. Some Christians were released and others were forced to pledge to pay a tax for being non-Muslims.

Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News reporter, visited the ruins of the Mar Elian (Saint Julian) Monastery and took photographs showing scattered bones around the ground and some were stacked up in rooms.

Accompanied by officials from the Syrian government, the Associated Press (AP) crew was allowed to enter Qaryatain but traveled for only up to three kilometers because army experts were still clearing the area from explosives and mines.

In other news, the Christian Broadcasting Network noted that ISIS also destroyed an ancient church found next to the monastery. The church's exterior stone wall was painted with a verse from a 19th-century poet known as the "Poet of Islam." It was written, "We faced you in battle like hungry lions who find the flesh of the enemy to be the most delicious." It was then signed with: "The Lions of the Caliphate."