Homs – Churches
حمص – كنائس

The old city of Homs (حمص) has several historic churches (كنائس) worth visiting. Most interesting is the Roman Orthodox St. Elian Church (كنيسة مار إليان), in the far eastern end of the old city. The church is most noteworthy for its frescoes, which date from the late 12th century or early 13th century. These frescoes decorate the apse of the church, which stands on the site of a fifth century church dedicated to Elian. Elian was the son of a Roman officer from Homs (حمص), the ancient Emesa, who was martyred in 284 or 285 for refusing to renounce Christianity. The paintings in the main church date from the 1970s.

Far more well known is Um al-Zenar Church (كنيسة أم الزنار‎), a few hundred meters to the west. This church is famous throughout Syria for housing what local tradition says is a fragment of a cloth belt that belonged to the Virgin Mary. The remains were discovered in 1953, and are said to have been placed in the first church on this site in the late fourth century. The present church structure dates mostly from a 1966 restoration, though its foundations may date back to the Byzantine period. The church is the seat of the Syriac Orthodox archbishop.

Homs (حمص) also has a large Greek Orthodox church in the same area.

 

Getting There: Homs (حمص) is Syria’s third largest city and its central location means that it has regular bus connections to all major cities in Syria. All of the historic churches (كنائس) of Homs (حمص) are located in the northeastern quarter of the old city, about 500 meters east of the main market (سوق) and al-Nuri al-Kabir Mosque (جامع النوري الكبير).

Coordinates: 34°43’45.5″N / 36°43’12.0″E

Transliteration Variants: None

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