Theblaze.com reports: "She was destroyed two years ago during an Islamist rebel onslaught. Now, residents of an ancient... town in Syria have once again erected a large statue of the Virgin Mary. The new 10-foot statue was placed Saturday on a cliff which overlooks the... town of Maalula where another depiction of the Virgin Mary once stood before fighting erupted between the Nusra Front – Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate – and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. “I made the statue as a message of peace for the ancient and unparalleled town of Maalula,” sculptor Buhaij al-Khoury told Agence France-Presse. In April, Assad’s forces retook the town from the rebels, allowing the... community to bring back religious artifacts including historical bells and various icons decorated with Jesus and other Christian images. Agence France-Presse spoke to residents of Maalula during the ceremony positioning the new Mary statue. “The statue was a symbol of protection for me, and when it was gone I felt a huge loss,” a pharmacist told AFP. Maalula is... where residents speak Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, and is home to convents and pilgrimage sites..."
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