As mentioned earlier (here, one, two, three), I was part of a delegation that traveled to Syria September 13 – 18th on a fact finding mission, especially regarding the 3 million Christians in that country.
Yes, we met with the President, the Grand Mufti, Abbesses and Sheiks (but more on that later).
Here’s some more touristy stuff …
Remember those traditional homes mentioned in previous posts (one, two, three)? Well, this one has been converted into a magnificent hotel: The Talisman.
The delegation got a tour …
And, no doubt, had visions of future stays 🙂
My reflection, complete with camera and ubiquitous water bottle.
From there — this is still our first day, mind you — we were treated to a wonderful meal at THE place to eat in Old Damascus (directly across from the Patriarchate): Naranj Restaurant.
I grew quite fond of the lemonade with mint.
After our feast, we adjourned to another room at Naranj to discuss what questions we might ask a member of the “opposition”.
But, first … across the street to visit the Cathedral of the Antiochian Patriarchate.
The side entry to the church.
The main entry to the Church.
A beautiful (full being the operative word) sight.
What was I staring at?
I was probably imagining preaching from up there.
A view toward the main altar.
Back through the courtyard of the Patriarchate …
… making our way toward the salon to meet with Bishops Louka and Moussa.
Fr Dimitri helped with the transition back and forth, Arabic and English.
Standing outside the Patriarchate, toward dusk …
… the old Mosque tower by the Patriarchate (on the Street Called Straight).
On our way to meet with a supporter of the “opposition”, we stopped at the place commemorating St Paul’s being let down — out a window, and down the wall– by basket, mentioned in Acts 9:20-25.
We interviewed Michel Kilo (at left) in a friend’s apartment.
And enjoyed warm hospitality.
Next up … Day 2: Ma’alula & Saydnaya.
Some images courtesy of John Maddex.