October 2, 2023

The House of Saint Ananias in Damascus

The House of Saint Ananias is an ancient underground structure in Damascus, Syria, that is said to be the remains of the home of Ananias of Damascus, where Ananias baptized Saul (who became Paul the Apostle). he building is at the end of the Street Called Straight (al-Share' al-Taweel) near the Bab Sharqi (Eastern Gate).

Ananias, the first Bishop in Damascus, believed in Christ, and made his house a safe place to spread Christianity.

Saint Ananias Chapel consists of two small underground rooms, laid with stone, with two holes in its roofs to allow light into the place. Though currently underground, it is believed this was the level ground in Roman times.

Archaeological excavations in 1921 found the remains of a Byzantine church from the 5th or 6th century AD, adding physical evidence to support local tradition that the chapel has an early Christian origin.

Legend records that Ananias was arrested on the orders of the Governor, Licinius Mucianus, and sentenced to death for being the leader of the local Christian community.  It is thought that he was stoned to death outside the city. Over his tomb, a memorial was constructed, and later a monastery.

The monastery was frequently mentioned by Arabic writers of the medieval period. In 1820, the Franciscan Holy Land Custody reclaimed the site and rebuilt the house, adapting it into a chapel. Further changes were made in 1893 and 1973, giving the underground chapel its present form.


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