Update: Aleppo’s Forty Martyrs Church Compound Suffers Damage, Church Unharmed

Contrary to earlier reports, the church itself has not been destroyed.

ALEPPO, Syria (A.W.)—The Armenian Forty Martyrs Church compound in Judayda, Aleppo, suffered widespread damage on April 28. The church itself, however, escaped major harm.

Based on news sources from Aleppo, the Armenian Weekly reported last week that the church had been destroyed. Yet, sources in Aleppo have since confirmed that the major damage was to the compound only; a hall, parts of the wall, the courtyard, and the gate were damaged.

Aleppo's Armenian Church of Forty Martyrs destroyed (photo: iNews)
Aleppo’s Armenian Church of Forty Martyrs compound destroyed (Photo: iNews)

The Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern U.S. confirmed the attack on the church to the Armenian Weekly on April 28.

There were some reports on April 29 that the church had been bombed with explosives placed underneath the structure through underground tunnels; others claimed the destruction was due to shelling.

The Forty Martyrs Church dates back to the 15th century. The first mention of the church appeared in the second edition of the 1476 book, The Exploit of the Holy Bible, by Father Melikseth. The bell tower was built in 1912. The church housed khatchkars, relics, and icons, including “The Last Judgment,” a painting that dates back to 1703.

The church has been at the center of Armenian community life in Aleppo for centuries.

The attack on the Forty Martyrs Church came about four months after terrorists bombed the Armenian Catholic Cathedral Our Lady of Pity (also known as St. Rita), located next to the Armenian Catholic Archeparchy of Aleppo, leaving the church partly destroyed. In September 2014, terrorists destroyed the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor, Syria—considered the Auschwitz of the Armenian Genocide.

Before the start of the Syrian crisis in spring 2011, between 60,000-70,000 Armenians called Syria home, constituting less than 0.5 percent of the country’s total population. More than half of them lived in Aleppo, with the other half scattered in such cities as Latakia, Homs, Qamishli, Hasakeh, Yaqubiye, Raqqa, Kessab, and the capital Damascus.

A photograph of the Forty Martyrs Armenian Church in Aleppo taken in 2006 (photo: Hovic, CC BY-SA 2.0)
A photograph of the Forty Martyrs Armenian Church in Aleppo taken in 2006 (Photo: Hovic, CC BY-SA 2.0)



  1. Meghk! This is genocide continued! These terrorists are committing genocide not only of Armenians and Christians but of humanity. Absolutely pathetic.

  2. It is time that the Armenian government act against the people who have committed these acts of religious terrorism against our people and our religious institutions and buildings.

    • I Why President Obama? After all it was President. Bush,who started this hellfire in the Mideast and opening Pandora’s box!

  3. I have visited this church as an Armenian young man growing up between Aleppo, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. I have been living in Gainesville, Florida, USA since I was 19 yrs old in 1986 when I came to Gainesville. I have visited this church and prayed in it every single time I traveled back to Syria for a visit during the last 28 yrs. What an immoral and teroristic act to plant bombs under a church. May God punish the perpetraitors of such a sinful act.
    I was married in Aleppo, Syria, in 2007, at another Armenian Church there and I hope and pray that the rest of the Aremnian churches don’t undergo such a terrible event and a big blow to Christianity. I will say this though. They can take our churches and destroy them, but the Armenian Christian flame will stay lit in our hearts and souls.
    Avo Oymayan
    Gainesville, Florida

    • Don’t blame the POTUS. Many a times as stated by Pres Obama in The Atlantic, they are totally against some of the atrocities committed by Imperialist US.
      It’s our lifestyle, society, the greed, our view of the world as shaped by corporate America that needs to change.
      Homo homini lupus. We are all being led towards suicide and we are fighting among ourselves to get there first.

  4. May God have pity on our people everywhere in the world. I believe that our just and faithful God will judge the culprits for their inhuman and savage activities.

  5. These radical Moslems will not stop until all Christians in the Middle East Countries are eliminated. Armenians in Syria, Iraq, & other Arab Countries must wake up to reality and take whatever wealth they have and move to Armenia before anymore destruction or killing of our Armenians take place.

  6. The situation is desperate.Unless the western powers get their act together the history of the battle of gallipoli will be rpaeated.Turkey,s cicory was caused by political suicide of the european poers especially Germany.Russia,s wish to have a warm warw=er route to the meditrttran.

  7. Անհաւատալի Իրականութիւն :Ամէն մի հայու սրտին մէջ խոր վէրքեր կը բացուի որպէս թէ այդ վէրքերուն պակասն ունենար հայը : Մեր սրտերուն մէջ պիտի մնան այդ յոյժ գեղեցիկ քանդակները :Անկրկնելի Երեւոյթ իսկապէս:

  8. This is Turkey’s answer to the successful centennial commemorations around the world. Unfortunately, this church was beyond our means to defend and protect. It was done by the same cowards who like to slit throats while the victim’s hands are tied. Once the convenience has wore out, the Islamists will eventually cross over into Anatolia to enlarge their Caliphate over the Umah. Turkey will burn by the hands of the same people they collaborate with today.

  9. Terrorists continue what the Turks began in the late 19th century, culminating in the Armenian Genocide in 1915.

  10. On Sunday, August 13, 1916, my father, George B. Kooshian, attended the Divine Liturgy in this church. That same day he was arrested and sent into the desert to die with a caravan of 2,000 Armenians. This is his record of that final Mass:

    Sunday dawned on the 13th of August, a day not so dissimilar to former Sundays. Of
    course the day was pregnant, but I had no particular inkling of it. As usual I gath-
    ered my flock of pupils together and led them to the church next door to attend the
    morning Mass. During the worship hour I felt that the age-old mysticism of the holy
    atmosphere, enhanced by the pervasive aroma of the burning incense, and the delightful melodies of ancient hymns, chants, and prayers, did elevate my mind, spirit, and soul to Heaven, the felicific abode of the phalanges of light-robed angels. The vibrating, thrilling, throbbing, living descants of sharagans were, after contacting the sacred
    dome above, falling in myriad particles on my heart like manna.

    My mind left the holy place for a moment and strayed away to the tortuous months
    of misery and agony of the recent past; then it went to the deserts and slaughter-places where tens of thousands were perishing daily; and then my mind came back to the few fortunate pitiable survivors who had somehow managed to filter back to the courtyard outside, more than half naked, sore, emaciated, ill, and haunted by gruesome tales.

    I did recall walking among them once in a while, handing out a covering, a dish of
    food, or a piece of bread to some sprawled on the cold marble pavement. Oblivious
    of everything sacred around me, my tortured mind strayed to dwell on those still in the desert vastness, writhing under the searing sun and chilling night winds covering their starved ghost-like bodies, not to rise again in the morrow. Do they have a priest to sustain them with a prayer or a word of spiritual comfort?

    At this point the congregation’s lusty participation in the Nicene Creed—
    We believe in one God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and
    earth, of things visible and invisible…
    roused me out of my reverie. Without joining in the “I believe…” I let a fervent prayer stream out of my grateful heart, praising Him for keeping our little family intact and unharmed thus far, while worthier ones were perishing the same hour in countless numbers.

    “Oh Father,” I added, “please put an end to this holocaust visited on Thy people.
    Make the light of Thy face to shine upon us in our darkest days, and let us go back to our own churches to worship Thee in peace…”

  11. Turkey did it again. They destroy… but we Armenians are alive and we’ll build it again.

  12. These people are simply animals. Fifteen to 20% of them are Turks — what do you expect.
    The Genocide continues.

  13. Shame, shame, shame! ISIS not only wants to kill off the remaining Christian populations of Syria and Iraq, they want to wipe out History, and it’s non-Muslim architectural treasures. So sad!

  14. Barry funnels US taxpayer $ to ISIS. Turkey is recruiting center for ISIS ISIS working to reestablish the Caliphate and expunge all traces of Christianity off the face of the earth. Let no Armenian fail to see this. Let no Armenian fail to aid our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let no Hye hesitate to stand up and speak out.

  15. Բոլոր մեր Հայորդիներուն,
    Ս. Քառասուն Մանկանց մայր եկեղեցիի կառոցը կայուն է, բայց մտահոգիչ վիճակի մէջ է:
    Այն ինչ որ կը ներկայացուի լրիվ սխալ է: Փլած վայրը ետեւի Մարոնիներուն տպարանն է: Իսկ Քառասուն Մանուկին դուռը վնասուած է և Բերիոյ Թեմի Առաջնորդարանի Աղբալեան սրահին բակը փլած է: Այս է ճիշդ պատկերը:

  16. Time to face reality and put nostalgia to bed. Get out of Aleppo it is doomed and will be for the foreseeable future. Go to Armenia or Artsakh, will not be easy but will be better for all GUARANTEED!!!

  17. The madness continues against the Armenians and all Chrstians. I am so saddened and so worried about my relatives who are in Aleppo. I hope they get this message and know we will do any and every thing we can to help them. My thoughts and prayers are ever with them. Sam, I hope you see this message. Much Love, Mariam

  18. Well, I’m happy to hear that the church itself still stands, but, the attack on the church’s surrounding compound is inexcusable and shameful!

  19. For the past three weeks, I have been unable to reach my cousins and am very worried about them. They are the Azarigian family members and wish I could contact them and receive word that they are okay. It is truly devasting what has happend in Aleppo and I fear for all their lives.

  20. The American media insist on calling this endless destruction a ‘civil war’, but that lie should stop. This is the US and it’s buddies, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, all working in concert to destroy Syria and Assad, as part of their ongoing war on Iran. As we all know, Syria was doing just fine for a very long time before this campaign of regime change started. Very sad indeed and every Armenian in the US should be speaking out on this issue.

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