Sednaya, 17 miles north of Damascus, is an ancient centre of Christian pilgrimage. Local lore holds that Abel's grave lies on this spot. Abel being the brother who Cain slew, if you were following the story in Sunday school.

Constructed in 547 AD by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, it is claimed that Luke the Evangelist had a role to play in painting Shaghurah, an icon of Mary and Jesus.

Through times of strife, it has remained intact; countless proclamations of miracles have occurred throughout its long history.

Today it is a holy site for both Christians and Muslims, including orthodox and Syriac Christians.

The thought that it more than survived the Crusades — and now plays witness to the Arab Spring — is almost enough to make one believe in the divine.


Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app