By Catholic Universe
In a pastoral visit to Iraq, the Syriac Catholic patriarch celebrated
Mass at the damaged Qaraqosh cathedral and praised Catholics for
keeping the faith during more than three years of displacement.
“We will remain faithful to our Christian call, and we will remain
lovers of our church despite all the horrors that have afflicted us,”
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan told the faithful in
his homily during Palm Sunday Mass on 25th March at the Cathedral of the
Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh.
The interior of the cathedral is still blackened by damage from Daesh
militants and, the patriarch said, “this magnificent church attests to
the criminal acts of those criminals and terrorists.”
Qaraqosh was considered the centre of Christianity in Iraq. But in a
single night during the summer of 2014, the town’s entire population of
some 50,000 Christians was forcibly displaced by the Islamic State. In
all, more than 100,000 Christians were evicted from the Ninevah Plain
and Mosul that summer during Daesh’s campaign of terror in Iraq, and
those uprooted fled to the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
“The forced displacement imposed on you is not easy,” the patriarch said in his homily, commending people for enduring in Iraq.