Loading
New Archbishop of Mosul calls persecuted Iraqi Christians to hope
Archbishop Amil Shamaaoun Nona
Archbishop Amil Shamaaoun Nona

.- The new Archbishop of Mosul, replacing his kidnapped predecessor who died in captivity, says his mission is to give “hope and confidence” to persecuted Iraqi Christians who face bombings, killings and other pressures to leave the city, an ancient center of Christianity. The 42-year-old Archbishop Amil Shamaaoun Nona replaces Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who was kidnapped outside his cathedral nearly two years ago and died ten days later. The new archbishop, formerly a priest of the nearby Alqosh diocese, was installed in his cathedral on Jan. 22, about two weeks after his episcopal ordination.

In a statement to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Archbishop Nona responded to the ongoing killings, abductions and bombings targeted at churches and other Christian centers across Mosul.

“My new mission is to provide hope and confidence to the Christians in Mosul, making them aware of the presence of a father and a minister beside them in their present plight.”

Since anti-Christian violence and intimidation surged upward in 2003, he told ACN that the Chaldean-rite Catholic community in Mosul has dwindled by two-thirds and now numbers as few as 5,000 people.

The decline in numbers may force Christianity in Mosul into obscurity.

“When all the wealthy people who own businesses, investments and factories leave the city, those who remain will have an effect that is negligible,” the archbishop wrote.

Christians have fled in response to increasing victimization. They are considered easy targets in clashes between the city’s Kurds and Arabs. There is also growing evidence of Al Qaeda and other extremist activity in the region.

Archbishop Nona pled that Christians be left in peace and left out of the political struggle in the region.

“We need to carry our cause as Christians to the influential countries so as to exert pressure on the conflicting political powers in Iraq not to use us to gain some political benefits,” he told ACN. “That is what is happening now.”

ACN described this comment as an “oblique reference” to the upcoming general elections in March.

There are reports that attacking Christians is a tactic of radical groups seeking to attract international attention, according to the charity.

“What is required is an international pressure on the strong and influential parties in Iraq to keep us away from their struggle for power,” Archbishop Nona said.

He stressed that police protection was in place at every church and priests’ house.

A surge of anti-Christian violence and killings has happened in Mosul, especially over Christmas.

Bombs have exploded at several churches, including a blast at the 1,200-year-old St. Thomas’ Church (Mar Toma) on the day before Christmas Eve. Two people were killed and five injured in that attack, ACN reports.

The Latin-rite Archbishop of Baghdad Jean Sleiman has decried a “media silence” about persecution of the Church in Iraq.

“Let us break the wall of silence that surrounds the killing of Christians in Mosul and in Iraq,” he told SIR news agency in a recent interview.

“Christians are killed in Mosul, while the State does nothing. The forces of order serving in the places of the attacks and killings don’t see, don’t hear, don’t speak.”

Archbishop Nona told ACN that the Church was the only source of hope for many Christians in Mosul.

“The only thing that the faithful are still adhering to is the Church,” he wrote. “For this reason, the Church, represented in the person of the bishop, has to care for its followers and help them feel secure through its presence in them and among them.”

Mosul is on the Tigris River and has been linked to the biblical Nineveh. It is seen as the historical heartland of Christianity in Iraq and traditionally has had the largest number of Iraqi Christians.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
18

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Gospel
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Homily
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: