Syria and Iraq share an ancient Christian heritage that the Islamic State (ISIS) is trying to obliterate from human memory. In Iraq ISIS has razed the nation’s oldest Christian monastery, a structure built between 582 and 590 A.C. This monastery was the home of Chaldean Catholic monks who would tuck candles in the niches of the stone walls. See this AP story for more.
Meanwhile, in Syria, ISIS is busy looting and destroying Christian artifacts. This America Magazine article discusses these developments and offers an interesting story about the fate of an ancient Christian Church dating from about the year 250.
While ISIS destroys, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) builds up, providing assistance to the more than 600,000 refugees fleeing the war in Syria. CRS has partnered with other agencies to build 21 schools in Jordan to educate children. Read the story of Ashaa and her five children in this brief CRS article.