DAMASCUS, Syria – A bomb fell in the bedroom of the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus last week. He was spared death, he says, only because of a providential trip to the lavatory.
Archbishop Samir Nassar related that a shell fell on his bed the afternoon of Jan. 8, when he had been taking a nap. He got up to go to the bathroom shortly before the bomb hit his room, and he said that “a few seconds at the sink saved my life!”
“Providence watches over his little servant, but now I am exiled like 12 million Syrian refugees who have nothing left,” he told Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need.
Nassar’s cathedral was heavily damaged. He said that “The doors of the cathedral and 43 windows and doors have to be replaced, holes need to be filled, fuel tanks and water tanks need repairing, as does the electricity network.”
Aid to the Church in Need reports that 10 shells fell that day in various areas of Damascus. A bomb fell in the courtyard of the Melkite patriarchate, and the Sisters of Jesus and Mary convent was also damaged.
Seven people were hospitalized from the convent, and Sister Annie Demerjian told Aid to the Church in Need, “It was the providence of God that we were not in the room.”
Nassar said that “violence is the only master – innocents are being sacrificed every day.”
Since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011, more than 400,000 people have been killed. At least 4.8 million have become refugees, and another 8 million have been internally displaced.
What began as demonstrations against the nation’s Ba’athist president, Bashar al-Assad, has become a complex fight among the Syrian regime; moderate rebels; Kurds; and Islamists such as Tahrir al-Sham and the Islamic State.