Among the many victims, the body of Father Imad Daher, a priest of the Greek Melkite Catholic Parish of Our Lady, was found under the rubble — after many hours of searching for the priest.
According to the Catholic humanitarian organization Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Daher died when the residence of the former archbishop of Aleppo, Jean-Clément Jeanbart, collapsed. Jeanbart narrowly escaped and is currently being treated for his wounds in a hospital, though he is said to be stable, ACN said in a statement Monday. Another Christian man who was in the building at the time also died, the organization said.
ACN reported that many cities and towns with a significant Christian population, such as Aleppo, Homs, Lattakia, and Hama, suffered major damage.
Among the buildings damaged were the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral of St. George in Aleppo and the Franciscan Church in Lattakia, ACN reported. The ACN-supported Hope Center, also in Aleppo, sustained minor damage, the organization said.
“The Church in Syria is shocked by the catastrophe. Even as far away as Beirut, people went down to the streets, worried that another explosion was about to unsettle their country,” Regina Lynch, director of projects for ACN International, said in a statement Monday.
According to a statement by the Custody of the Holy Land, a Franciscan priest in Aleppo, Father Bahjat Karakach, reported “at least 40 buildings have been destroyed and many people are still trapped under the rubble.”
The friars opened the doors of their convent to the inhabitants seeking help, the priest reported. “We have taken people into the church here, from this morning, then we celebrated Mass and opened the hall to accommodate the people and give them all something to eat; our kitchen, which usually distributes 1,200 meals a day to the poor, will do its utmost today to help everyone who is homeless and cannot eat.”
This is a developing story.
This story was originally published by CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.