For the "Year of Mercy" proclaimed by the Pope, a "Holy Door" will also be established in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo in December.
As Bishop Georges Abou Khazen told the Italian Catholic press service SIR (Thursday), the "Holy Door" will be opened on 13. December opened in the badly damaged Church of St. Francis. According to Khazen, the place of worship recently suffered a shell hit by insurgents during a service; the roof collapsed and seven worshippers were seriously injured.
"Sign of conversion"
Passing through a Holy Door is one of the devotional exercises during a so-called Holy Year of the Catholic Church. It is a sign of conversion for Catholics and is connected with special promises of grace. Classically, this act takes place in the four papal basilicas in Rome. Pope Francis had extended the regulations in question to allow as many Catholic Christians as possible to make the gesture.
"Protection of God"
According to Bishop Khazen, of about 30 active churches in Aleppo, about half are destroyed or inaccessible as a result of the fighting since 2012. Francis served as the Holy Door in the Church of St. Francis, a door that was otherwise open only at Easter. "For the small Catholic community, it symbolizes protection from the evil that attacks us and the protection of God and His providence," Khazen said.
According to his information, there should be more Holy Gates in Damascus and Latakia. The Holy Year proclaimed by Francis begins on 8. December.