Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus

The Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, also known as the Maryamiyya Church (Arabic: الكَنِيسَة المَرْيَمِيَّة, romanizedal-Kanīsah al-Maryamīyah), is one of the oldest Greek Orthodox churches in Damascus, Syria and holds the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. The church complex is located on the Street Called Straight.[1]

Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus
الكَنِيسَة المَرْيَمِيَّة
Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus.jpg
AffiliationGreek Orthodox
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusSeat of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
Year consecrated~200 AD
LocationStreet called Straight, Damascus, Syria
Geographic coordinates33°30′34″N 36°18′41″E / 33.50944°N 36.31139°E / 33.50944; 36.31139Coordinates: 33°30′34″N 36°18′41″E / 33.50944°N 36.31139°E / 33.50944; 36.31139


A first church was built during the 4th century AD or probably earlier.[1] After the Muslim conquest of Damascus the church was closed until 706 AD when al-Walid ordered that it be returned to the Christians as a compensation for the Church of John the Baptist which was turned into the Umayyad Mosque.[1]

The church was destroyed and rebuilt several times in later years.[1] It was described by Ibn Jubayr as:

Inside the town there is a church which is very important to the Romans. It is known as the Church of Mary. Its importance comes after the Church of Jerusalem. It is a beautiful building includes miraculous pictures which appeal to mind and eyes. It is in the hands of the Romans and nobody objects to them at it.[2]

In 1342, the Patriarchal See of Antioch was transferred from Antioch to Damascus and the church served as the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church in the East.[1]

The church was burned down by mobs, along with most of the Christian quarter, when the 1860 Druze-Christian conflict in Lebanon spilt over into Damascus, and was rebuilt three years later. It was last renovated in 1953.[1]


Church of MaryEdit

The Church of Mary is the main church building, and dates back to the late 4th century.[3]

Chapel of Saint TeklaEdit

The chapel was added to the complex after the restoration of the cathedral in 1840. It comprises the patriarchal seat of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.[3]

Chapel of CatherineEdit

The chapel was added after restoration works. It contains a small museum dedicated to the history of the church.[3]


External linksEdit

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  1. ^ a b c d e f Daniel Demeter: Damaskus – al-Mariyamiyeh Church. Syria Photo Guide, 16 July 2014.
  2. ^ The Travels of Ibn Jubayr. Ed. William Wright. 2nd edn, revised by M. J. de Goeje, Leiden/London 1907, E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Series 5. Chapter about Damascus online.
  3. ^ a b c الكنيسة المريمية - تاريخ الكنيسة ‎ (Mariamite Church – Church History) Archived February 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine