Mosul, Iraq, Dec 19, 2019 / 03:01 am
The Great Al-Tahira Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Bakhdida remains charred black inside, five years after the Islamic State plundered and set it aflame; however, in 2020 the Syriac Catholic cathedral will be restored as Iraq's largest Christian community fights to rebuild and regain what was lost.
"It is a very significant church because it was built from the donations of local people, agriculture workers," Fr. Georges Jahola, a parish priest from Bakhdida, told CNA.
Bakhdida, also known as Qaraqosh, is located 20 miles southeast of Mosul. Fr Jahola said that the local Christians hope that in the future their town will be referred to as as Bakhdida, the Aramaic and more historic name of their town, rather than Qaraqosh, a Turkish name that came from the Ottoman Empire.
The cathedral in Iraq's Nineveh Plains was constructed from 1932-1948 as Catholic farmers donated each year from their harvest, the priest explained. The Great Al-Tahira served a growing Christian community, until the Islamic State turned the cathedral into an indoor shooting range from 2014-2016.