After three years of western backed destruction by Islamist rebels the Christian districts of Homs old city in Syria were declared liberated in early May. The district had been home to 80,000 Christians of which all but a handful fled or were forced to leave by armed rebels who systematically looted and destroyed the district. All the churches in the district were left in partial or total ruin. Most important among them was the Syriac Orthodox Church of Um al Zinnar (St. Mary’s Shrine of the Belt) which is built upon an ancient crypt cave with signs of Christian worship dating back to 59 A.D. The Church housed a much treasured relic reputed to be a belt or girdle that had belonged to the Virgin Mary. Luckily this object had been removed, 3 years ago from the church and taken to a secret place of safe keeping and so unlike many of the ancient treasures that were looted this important symbol of the old city’s ancient Christian faith remained secure. On Thursday the 15th of August for the occasion of the Dormition (Assumption of The Virgin Mary) the relic returned in procession to its home church. Carried by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and accompanied by the governor of Homs province there was a large crowd in attendance to celebrate the occasion.