News24

'Divine intervention' saves Syrian convent

2012-02-01 12:03

Saidnaya - Divine intervention prevented a shell that pierced the walls of a Syrian convent from detonating, swears the mother superior of Our Lady of Saidnaya, a spiritual retreat near Damascus.

"The Virgin Mary stopped the shell from exploding with her own hands," said Mother Verone, who interpreted the close call as a divine message that "God is watching over sacred places" amid the unprecedented unrest rocking Syria.

The sound of explosions and gunfire from nearby towns echoes around the normally tranquil convent.

The nuns say the blasts come from the neighbouring towns of Rankus and Talfita, focal points of a military operation to purge the outskirts of Damascus of army deserters and rebels.

"I saw a flash of light coming from the hill opposite the convent and then heard the explosion," said a young law student who is a resident.

"I didn't imagine that it could be a shell. I only understood that one had landed very near us once I heard the explosion and left my room," she added.

Over the hills lies the besieged town of Rankus, with a population of 25 000, where the army this week spared no effort to uproot rebels.

Houses set on fire

Regime forces on Tuesday began blowing up houses in the protest hub, 40km north of Damascus, said an activist on the ground.

"This morning they started to blow up houses in Rankus. They are using diesel to set fire to buildings," said Abu Omar, a spokesperson for the town.

President Bashar Assad's regime, which claims to have the public's support in what it labels a security campaign against "terrorists", has ramped up its operations in recent days, in an apparently calculated move that banks on Russia's support and cracks in the international community.

The opposition Syrian National Council called for a "day of mourning and anger" on Tuesday in response to the bloody crackdown that has left nearly 200 people dead in the past three days, according to activists.

Founded in 547 AD, the convent of Our Lady of Saidnaya, is a leading Antiochian Orthodox nunnery which overlooks a mountain village of the same name, just 35km from Damascus.

The convent includes a school for orphans, whose costs are covered by private donations, according to a brochure distributed by the complex.

The nunnery is a major pilgrimage centre and lies not far from the villages of Jabadin and Maalula, where people still speak Syriac, the modern version of Aramaic, the language of Christ.

The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch has its seat in nearby Damascus.

Comments
  • sokobl - 2012-02-01 12:26

    Indeed God is watching over Syria and has the power to do so, but to say Mary did this is absolute craziness. Please give credit where it's due :-o

      Dan - 2012-02-01 22:47

      Yep , i agree with you , all glory to the flying spagethti monster , his noodly appendixes saved them alll , ,,, Ramen

  • Peter - 2012-02-01 12:38

    ummm...no...their was a shell/mortar found in a Plumstead, Cape Town garden last year. duds happen

  • J-Man - 2012-02-01 12:47

    Umm yeeahhh...or it was just luck.

  • Ryan - 2012-02-01 12:54

    Mary most certainly did this! As the mother of Jesus Christ, God's own son and one in the same as God, and as Mary was the first Christian (the first to answer God's call to follow Christ by giving Jesus physical life and being his mother on earth), she is to be revered and honoured. There are many more accounts of the divine intervention of Mary over the last 2000 years. She watches over us, through God's power. Forever she will be called blessed - straight from the bible!

      Victor - 2012-02-01 13:05

      Ryan How do you reach the conclusion that "Mary most certainly did this"? What is your evidence for this statement?

      sokobl - 2012-02-01 14:53

      In the Bible, Paul warns against following any gospel besides the gospel of Christ and this gospel you are preaching is exactly what Paul was preaching against. God is the only one who is omnipresent, so how can Mary be in Syria, South Africa and the rest of the world at the same time? If you read this chapter;1 Corinthians 10:1-4 you will realize that Christ has led people way back, before he was born as a human, so for you to claim she was the first Christian in this context, shows your lack of understanding of who Christ is and who Mary is. Mary is no more special than any human being that received Christ, before God we are all the same. The Bible also says Jesus' mother or brother or sister is who obeys his word, not who gave birth to him and he gave this response himself when he was told that his mother was looking for him. I don't know why there is this illusion and the Bible says nothing about it, so for people to believe so strongly in something the Bible says nothing about, is quite amazing to me!

      Greg - 2012-02-01 15:59

      @ Victor, since the spiritual essense of the human person escapes science and the empirical realm it cannot be 'measured' by the same but it must be lived through faith, another unique human quality that baffles the empirical sciences. I suppose you know everything there is to know about the universe because it has been 'proven'. Science simply 'discovers' that which already exists. The fact that the spiritual / faith aspect of the human person cannot be proven by science simply points to the fact that science does not have all the answers e.g. the Shroud of Turin and the latest scientific finding. @ Sokobl, Christ told his followers that those who are for us cannot be against us, therefore it is reasonable to believe that Mary, being his mother would be protector / defender for a community named in her honour in as much as God honoured her to be his mother who protected / defended him in his vulnerability and gave her as a spiritual mother to his followers as per his last testament from the cross (read Gospel of John). Can we honour Mother Mary any less than God has honoured her?? (read the angel's greeting and that of Elizabeth).

      sokobl - 2012-02-01 16:33

      @Greg: I can honour Mary in the same order as I honour Paul who received the mission from Christ to take the gospel to the Gentiles. I am now not going to say that I'm lost without Paul, I owe everything to him! He was only carrying out God's plan, if he had completely refused, it would have been someone else. The one who plans everything is God, and for everything that God does through one, one can only be glad to be given an opportunity to do it. Each person played a part as planned by God, he deserves all the honour and He alone has the power. Where in the Bible does it say Mary is omnipresent and has the ability to perform all these miraculous tasks? I know Paul raised people from the dead with God's power, but can't save anyone at this moment, so what gives you the idea that Mary can do anything for anyone right now?

      Dan - 2012-02-01 22:48

      Yep , i agree with you , all glory to the flying spagethti monster , his noodly appendixes saved them alll , ,,, Ramen

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