The village and the historic monastery of St. Thecla in Maaloula, Syria has recently been attacked by militants in the course of the civil war. The anciet abbey is under the threat of complete disappearance.
This is one of the top three living Christian shrines in the country, dating from the early Christian centuries, where the grave of St. Thecla, the first woman martyr of Christianity, pupil of the Apostle Paul is situated.
The monastery with fifteen nuns and abbess nun Pelagia has an enormous intellectual and social contribution to the region. Pilgrims come here from all over the world, Christians as well as Muslims.
The monastery hosts an orphanage with about 30 orphan girls, aged 4 to 18 years, as well as school, which at the moment is in great danger.