14 photos of a Syrian wedding show just how resilient love can be.

The explosions. I couldn't help but notice them as I walked about the streets in downtown Damascus in August 2015.

Life would be proceeding normally — shopkeepers selling food, honking cars, couples holding hands, kids running around — and then I would hear a boom.


I had come to Syria to find out what life was like for the Christian communities — about 10% of the population before the war.

Christians have lived in Syria for over 2,000 years — Jesus walked, preached, and taught on this land according to the Bible — but the ongoing conflict has been so brutal that I wondered if that history might come to an end.

A few days after my arrival, I was standing outside my hotel when I saw a wedding party heading to the al-Zaitoun Greek Catholic Church, only a few steps away.

All images by Flavius Mihaies.

The cheerful celebration against the background of a war formed a striking contrast. I grabbed my camera and followed them.

I thought I could pass for one of the wedding photographers if I kept taking pictures.

All of a sudden I could have been at a wedding anywhere, away from the fear and violence.

What are the plans for the future of this young couple, I wondered.

Have they given any thought to emigrating as so many Syrians are doing?

Do they still feel welcome here, a land they've inhabited for over two millennia?

“It's not our country anymore," one wedding guest told me. “Islamists terrorize us to make us leave," his friend added.

I heard a similarly somber assessment from a priest: “There is no side [in this war] interested in the future of Christians. We are the sacrifice of the war."

“The war has made life dangerous and expensive," observed a father of teenager and a young daughter. “Every day when we go out of home, we don't know if we come back."

But with the conflict in its fifth year, some parents are beginning to think there is no future for their children or it is too dark. “Children stopped going to school or are terrified if they still go," one parent said.

“We are thinking of leaving because we are very tired, but no one gives us visas," complained one guest, a retired economist.

I asked if there was anything the West could do to help. “Stop supporting the opposition, stop supporting armed groups in Syria," was a recurring answer.

At the end of the night, minibuses — Damascus's ubiquitous mode of public transportation — picked up some guests.

The newlyweds left last.

During my time in Syria, I saw just how deep Christianity's roots ran. My hotel was on the same street where the apostle Paul was baptized. In one village I visited, Sadad, the people still speak Aramaic, the language of Christ.

While this long history is threatened, the spirit of these people helps me believe that it may still survive the violent challenges it faces now.

More

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended