The twisted terror group today released a video showing its barbaric militants razing the ancient Mar Elian monastery to the ground, even digging up and desecrating the bones of a Christian saint. There were reports that fighters had also kidnapped the monastery’s abbot, Father Jacques Mouraud and a church volunteer, Botros Hanna, who are both now feared dead. Earlier this month ISIS abducted up to 250 Christians from the monastery and its surrounding villages, many of whom were women and children. In the sick video the terrorists can be seen gleefully removing the remains of Saint Elian, after whom the monastery was named, from their ancient stone sarcophagus. The church is said to have been built on the spot where Saint Elian died after he was killed by his father, a Roman officer, for refusing to denounce his faith. It was a popular pilgrim site with Christians throughout the Middle East and housed Roman frescos which were amongst the oldest paintings in the region. The monastery, near the Syrian city of Homs, had been renovated several times in recent years, including by Italian priest Paolo Dall’Oglio who was executed in Raqqa by ISIS forces in July 2013.ISIS said that it bulldozed the church because it was dedicated to a God other than Allah. The group has routinely kidnapped and executed Christians living in the Middle East as part of its ideological drive to create an Islamist caliphate.
Following the raid on Mr Elian in early August one Christian, called Kino, said: “It’s like living in this horrifying drama that never ends. People are completely afraid”.”It [an ISIS attack] always happens so suddenly and the Church is never prepared. People are running around searching for their loved ones, and children…these are innocent people, not part of this war.”He [the bishop] is crying – what is he supposed to do? All those clergy to last these three years in Syria and Iraq, my God are they heroes.” ISIS has routinely destroyed and desecrated ancient monuments in lands it has captured in the Middle East. The Islamist fanatics see many historical sites as blasphemous to their cause. Earlier this year the extremists blew up the ancient city of Nimrud, in Iraq, whilst they also released a video of fighters smashing ancient statues in Mosul museum.