On August 14 in the Chaldean church of Mar Eliya al Hiri in Baghdad there was a great celebration for the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The Holy Mass, however, as explained to Baghdadhope by the parish priest, Father Douglas Al Bazi, was not only dedicated to the Virgin Mary but to the Syrian people suffering because of the ongoing civil war.
"We prayed," said Father Al Bazi, "for all our Syrian brothers because as Iraqis we know what it means living in war, suffering, fearing for the future."
"With our prayers we expressed our solidarity and closeness."
Solidarity and closeness which move considering how much the Iraqis are still suffering because of the instability of the country and for which gratitude to the church of Mar Eliya al Hiri was expressed through three messages sent by the Syrian Bishop John Battah, the Maronite Diocese of Alep and Father Joseph Tobji from Alep too.
Questioned if any of the families of his parish who fled to Syria in recent years because of the dangerous situation in Iraq has returned to Baghdad Father Al Bazi said he has no news about it but also reiterated that it is likely that many are not going back to Iraq for the fear of losing their hard-won place in the lists of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for their relocation from Syria to third countries.
A sobering decision: If the Iraqis, and in this case the Iraqi Christians, agree to remain in the current situation in Syria not to lose their chance to emigrate to the West means that everything, absolutely everything, it is better than to return to Iraq from which they fled. A sad evidence that the time of sorrow for them is not finished.