Ma'loula, September 7, 2013
"First, let us tell you what has happened today in Ma'loula and then explain what Ma'loula is like,” the letter said. “At 4.00 AM (Damascus time), gangs of the ‘Free Syrian army’, terrorists and killers... attacked the town, violating the security of houses, monasteries and churches, desecrating icons, and demanding that people renounce their faith and accept Islam.
“Yes, that is what has happened today at dawn in Ma'loula, when the armed gangs burst into the town, shot in the square, desecrated the icons, and closed the gates.
“These are the crimes aimed at Christian towns, and the terrorism directed against Christians; and this is only a part of the larger plan of wiping out Christians from our native homes.
This is happening now, when our state is still strong. But what will happen when it weakens, when the air force of the USA is bombing Syria?
“What awaits Christians in the towns and villages? It is terrible and it is scaring us. What happened in Ghassaniyeh (A Catholic priest-monk, Fr. Francois Mourad, was brutally killed there), in the Monastery of St. Simeon the Stylite, and in Holms, where terrible attacks on churches and monasteries took place. What has happened in all these places, arouses one's conscience, makes one suffer. What have I done to stop terrorism in Syria? I am not even speaking about the massacres that have happened in all towns to the Christian minority."
Further in the letter the story of this very ancient town is related. The people here speak Aramaic--the language which was spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ in His earthly life--to this day; and it was here that St. Thecla, Equal-to-the-Apostles, a disciple of Apostle Paul, came through the mountain that had cleft apart before her. Her holy relics are preserved in a local Convent to this day.