Friday, November 14, 2008

Ancient Christian church in Syria discovered

Archaeologists have recently discovered in Palmyra in central Syria the remains of an ancient Christian church thought to date back some 1,500 years. Palmyra, 220km (135 miles) north-east of Damascus, was an important Roman-era desert stop for caravans traveling to Mesopotamia and Persia. syria_palmyra

The director of Palmyra museum, Walid Assad, said the latest find was the fourth church to be discovered in the city.

“Christianity came to Palmyra in the year 312, at a time when Christians had begun to build churches,” said Mr Assad. “And this one is huge—the biggest ever found in Syria. It dates back to the fourth or fifth centuries after Jesus Christ.”

Obviously, Palmyra and Syria in general figured prominently in early Christian times, pre-dating Islam by several centuries—Muhammad having been born in Mecca around 570 AD. The Muslims conquered Mecca in 630 AD and did not reach Damascus until 635 AD.

We hear a lot from Muslim sources about Christian Crusaders and modern-day Jews invading their holy lands. But one can ask: who invaded who?

Not a very original thought, I know, but nevertheless, one that brings into question notions such as “the right of return” of Palestinians to the new state of Israel.

Seen in historical terms the modern-day Jewish state of Israel is just the latest of many overlays of religion, culture and sometimes race that have covered the lands of the Middle East in the past two millennia, all of which justified by the ancient right of war.

So it ever was; so will it ever be.

[Reference Source: BBC] 

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