CWN - Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad visited a Christian religious community on Christmas Day.

Accompanied by his wife, Assad traveled to the Greek Orthodox monastery of Our Lady of Saydnaya, about an hour north of Damascus. He conveyed his Christmas greetings to the nuns living in the convent there.

Our Lady of Saydnaya monastery—an ancient strucure that was reporetedly built by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century—was damaged by shelling during the Syrian civil war. Assad’s visit there came on the same day that Christians in Aleppo celebrated openly for the first time since the city was captured by the Islamic State.