By Trudy Rubin
6th November 2012
The old town of Antakya, where I am staying, is the site of ancient Antioch, on the Orontes River, once a crossroads of cultures and religions and a great center of Christian theology. “If your aim in travelling is to get acquainted with different cultures and lifestlyles,” wrote the Roman philosopher and historian Libanius, “it is enough to visit Antioch.”
That was then. Today, only 1300 Christians live here, 90 per cent of them Greek Orthodox, with a few Roman Catholics and Armenians (and 40 elderly Jews). Greek Orthodox priests in Antakya look on with pain as their co-religionists in Aleppo (only recently home to 20,000 Greek Orthodox, among other Christian sects), suffer through civil war and destruction.
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