by Kylie Handler, editor
Ancient Christian ruins dating back to the first centuries under the Roman Empire have been discovered in Syria — and were discovered because the area was occupied by ISIS forces.
ISIS forces were clueless to the tip of an old gate that led to an empty mount of land in Syria where they dumped trash. Had they known of what laid several feet into the ground below, they most likely would have destroyed it. When post-ISIS clean-up began, what researchers discovered was amazing.
Several versions of crosses etched into columns and the walls were among the breathtaking artifacts found in the newly discovered, ancient Christian site.
Sponsored: Why I Will Never Drink Alkaline Water Again
“I was so excited, I can’t describe it. I was holding everything in my hands,” Abdulwahab Sheko, head of the Exploration Committee at the Ruins Council in Manbij, told Fox News, as he led a reporter on a recent tour of the ruins.
The centuries old space has very narrow tunnels that are complete with grooved shelves that offer light. The tunnel offers myriad escape routes that has large stones that researched believe may have served as hidden doors.
Also visible to researchers is a set of three jagged steps that leads up to what some believe to be an altar.
“This place is so special. Here is where I think the security guard would stand at the gate watching for any movement outside,” Sheko explained. “He could warn the others to exit through the other passage if they needed to flee.”
Sponsored: Hollywood’s Best-Kept Secret Exposed!
According to a lead American archaeologist, this ancient church is likely an important find for Christianity.
“They indicate that there was a significant Christian population in the area which felt they needed to hide their activities,” said John Wineland, professor of history and archaeology at Southeastern University. “This is probably an indication of the persecution by the Roman government, which was common in the period.”
During much of the Roman Empire, Christianity was illegal. It was not until the worship was decriminalized by Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D. that Christians were free to practice their religion.
During Roman time, Christians “met in secret, underground, to avoid trouble. But the Romans were fearful of any group that met in secret,” said Wineland.
“The Romans misunderstood many Christian practices and would often charge them with crimes, such as cannibalism,” Wineland added.
Romans did not understand the Christian practice of eating Christ’s body and drinking his blood during communion — hence where the charges stemmed from.
According to Fox News, Sheko is still unsure what this ancient Church is. He explained that the response from international archaeologists and organizations to aid his team in clean up and the identification of artifacts has been that it is too dangerous at this time to send teams out to a war-torn country.
Fortunately for Sheko the site was unnoticed by ISIS forces. After U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces drove out the hostile group, there were several mines and booby traps to be cleaned up and dug out of the site.
Pain-free living TODAY [sponsored]
The excavation of the ancient site produced enough by March for Sheko to host a festival for visitors to come and visit.
According to Fox News, the festival produced enough locals that it led way to a discovery of a “second location.”
“Within this location, down 11 jagged stone steps and into a cave that opens up into a multitude of rooms, overt Christian symbols are everywhere, etched into the stone walls and across the arched ceilings,” explained Fox News.
“We think this place after Christianity was no longer a secret anymore,” explained Sheko, gesturing to the symbols.
The cleanup of this second location began in September 2017, and Sheko explains that there are most likely several more ruins waiting to be discovered.
Wineland explained that the recent discovery of these ruins has reminded him of the recent persecutions of Christians in modern-day Syria and Iraq. “This has led to a significant decline of Christians in the region. Some have been killed, others have fled, and still others have been coerced into converting to Islam.”
Sheko wants to make clear that even with Syria’s trouble past and present with Christianity he has a goal in mind to unearth and protect these ancient ruins.
“We are Muslim, but we are not like ISIS Muslims,” he said. “We take care of these Christian ruins. We respect them. We respect humanity.”
–Kylie Handler is a news editor for The Horn News