The Mariamiya Cathedral stands on the site of one of the earliest churches in Damascus. For in the 1st century, a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built on this site. Later on and during the Byzantine period, a huge cathedral was built around this chapel. However, the Byzantine cathedral sustained heavy damage by the events of 1860 during the Ottoman period, and was re-built soon after that. The Mariamiya cathedral is today the seat of the Roman Orthodox Church in the Orient and, consequently, is the centre of the largest Christian group in the whole of the Orient.