Wikipedia Long a center of Christian pilgrimage, pilgrims from all over the world seek Saidnaya for renewal of faith and for healing. Renowned for its faithfulness to Christianity, tradition holds that the Convent of Our Lady of Saidnaya was constructed by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in 547 AD, after he had two visions of Mary, one that indicated where to build the church and the other outlining its design. Justinian dedicated the finished project to the feast of Mary's Nativity, and annually thereafter on September 8, and through to the present day, both Muslim and Christian pilgrims have come to commemorate the feast day of Our Lady of Saidnaya. Also located in the convent of Saidnaya is an icon of the Holy Mother and Child known as the Shaghurah and reputed to have been painted by Luke the Evangelist which is believed to protect its owners from harm in times of danger.
Due in no small measure to its protected mountainous location, Saidnaya enjoyed religious peace throughout its history, even during times of war, such as during the Crusades.Local Muslims visit the convent sanctuary on the day of Friday prayers and share in the legends regarding this holy place.Christians and Muslims from the region and from far away places seek the shrine for healing. Numerous accounts of miraculous healings have been reported, some which are documented in writing by those who experienced them throughout history.
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.Text by Steve Smith.