A full survey of the Church of St. Helena for the purpose of further restoration was carried out by Russian archaeologists in the Syrian city of Aleppo. This is reported by the publication Global Orthodox with reference to the press service of the Institute of History and Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The Church of St. Helena in Aleppo is one of the oldest churches of the early Christian era. Its construction dates back to the fifth century AD. Now the building is in a deplorable condition. Russian scientists study every meter of the architectural ensemble in detail.
Initially, as the head of the Department of Conservation Archaeology of the IIMC RAS, Candidate of Historical Sciences Natalia Solovieva, said, there was a Roman square on the site of the religious building, then a church appeared, and even later the Arabs came and built a madrasah around it. At the same time, even during the dark and militant Middle Ages, the building was not destroyed. However, in our times, the terrorists have not spared the historical heritage.
As well as the church, most of the old town is almost destroyed. It will take years to recover, and there is no money in the war-depleted country right now. That is why Natalia Solovyova, an archaeologist of the Russian Academy of Sciences, raised the issue of helping Syria to preserve early Christian churches. "For us, Orthodox Christians of Russia, it is the destruction of early Christian monuments that causes particular pain, because in every Russian church there is an element of an early Christian temple, a Byzantine one, which is full on the territory of Syria," explained an employee of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Archaeologists face a daunting task - to create 3D models of all early Christian monuments. Special labels are applied to the walls, and with the help of them a solid, three-dimensional picture of an architectural project is created.
Digital models in the future will help those who will be engaged in the restoration of monuments. Now the country is in the process of recovery, but not yet up to history. Therefore, with their work, Russian scientists hope to attract the attention of the international community to the problem of destroyed early Christian churches.
"When we finish the 3D models, we will put them all on the website, and it will be available to anyone who wants to see, walk around the same Shakra or Palmyra, or Bosra. And, at the same time, specialists will be able to see the condition and, God forbid, make efforts to preserve them," Solovyova shared her plans.
The expedition of Russian scientists works not only in Aleppo. Scientists have already visited the ancient city of Bosra, built in the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. Conducted research on early Christian temples in Shakra. Experts gathered information to prepare 3D models of the church of the V-VI century in the village of Deir al-Salib in the province of Hama and the Basilica of Qasr ibn Vardan, also known as the Temple of the Four Elements. All the materials that our archaeologists will be able to collect will be stored not only in the Russian Academy of Sciences: copies will be handed over to the Syrian government, which will begin full restoration after the onset of peace throughout the country.