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Synod thankful for return of displaced Christians

DAHUK (CNS): The Chaldean Catholic Church its August 7 to 13 synod in Baghdad, Iraq, offering thanks to God for the return of numerous displaced Christians to their hometowns in the Ninevah Plain and for pastoral achievements in their dioceses.
 

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Nineveh’s Christians renew their future

KARAMLES (AsiaNews): Four years ago, when the Islamic State (IS) rolled through Iraq, the “great exodus began,” with refugees fleeing towards Kurdistan to escape jihadi militias. For Father Paul Thabit Mekko, head of the Christian community in Karamles in the Niniveh Plain, “the return and the presence” of Christians stands in contrast, as they their attention towards the future with “new eyes and spirit.”
 

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Patriarch praises Iraqi Christians

QARAQOSH (CNS): During a pastoral visit to Iraq, Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, the Syriac Catholic patriarch, celebrated Passion Sunday Mass at the damaged Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, 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,” the patriarch said on March 25.
 

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Mideast patriarchs express hope in the midst of uncertainty

BEIRUT (CNS): In their Christmas messages, the Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East—with hope, despite uncertainty in the region—called for peace, security, prayer and solidarity. 
 
From Baghdad, Iraq, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, expressed his hope for a new phase for the country and that the recent triumph over the Islamic State, along with the termination of terrorist control of Mosul and other cities, will marked a step toward security and stability. 
 

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Christmas Mass celebrated in a liberated Mosul

MOSUL (CNS): In a display of unity, both Christians and Muslims attended the first Christmas Mass to be celebrated in Mosul in three-and-a-half years at St. Paul Cathedral, following the city’s liberation from Islamic State militants.
 
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, from Baghdad, urged the faithful to pray for “peace and stability to reign in Mosul, Iraq and the world.”
 

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A Mass of hope in Iraq

ERBIL (AsiaNews): Even a thick layer of soot covering the walls of the church was not enough to obliterate graffiti proclaiming Islamic State scrawled across the remains of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Qaraqosh, Iraq, from sight, as Archbishop Petros Mouche prepared to offer the first Mass in the remains of the once stately building in two years on October 30.

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Good Muslims obstacle to Islamic State

Dhaka and Baghdad (Agencies): Christian leaders in Bangladesh condemned the July 7 terrorist attack on the country’s largest Eid al-Fitr prayer gathering in Kishoreganj, UCA News reported.

Four people were killed and 30 injured when a group of Islamic extremists threw bombs and shot at police outside the venue where around 300,000 people had gathered to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. 

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Crazed violence in Pakistan and Iraq

HONG KONG (SE): In claiming responsibility for a bomb that exploded around 6.30pm in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park in the city of Lahore in Pakistan on Easter Sunday, March 27, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar said it had intentionally targeted the Christian community at Easter.

It is believed that a suicide bomber was responsible for the carnage from the same group that claimed responsibility for attacks on two churches in Lahore in March last year, when 15 people died and 70 were injured.

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Iraqi diocese finished

JERUSALEM (SE): “We are in great danger, our diocese is at an end,” the Syrian Catholic bishop of Mosul in Iraq, Archbishop Youhanna Boutros, told a preparation symposium for the World Day of the Sick in Jerusalem on February 16.

“The Islamic State no longer recognises any dignity of the human being, because for them, the value of life is zero, comparable to that of a cow or a pack of cigarettes,” Archbishop Boutros said.

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Oldest monastery in Iraq destroyed

HONG KONG (SE): Satellite pictures obtained by The Associated Press on January 20 have confirmed that the Islamic State has destroyed the ruins Iraq’s oldest monastery, built in the sixth century.

The destruction of Dair Mar Elia (St. Elijah’s Monastery) in Mosul in all probability took place in the late summer of 2014.

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