“Many of the documents in Michaeel’s collection are written in ancient languages including Aramaic, Latin and Ottoman Turkish. They date back centuries, if not more. The oldest is at least 1,100 years old,” said Father Najeeb Michaeel. “Michaeel’s collection isn’t limited to Christian texts. There are works on ancient astrology, geography and history, as well as manuscripts belonging to other religions including Yazidis and Muslims.” Read the rest on the OP/[Dominicans]’s website, and see this video of Father Michaeel looking at and reading from some of the priceless manuscripts.
The Lord continues to provide for his faithful in the midst of adversity, through the generosity of his disciples.
“Two years after being forced out of their homes, Christians taking refuge in the Erbil in northern Iraqi have a new church….
The new church was funded with the offerings of the faithful, according to Independent Catholic News. Besides providing a spiritual home for the refugees it will also be a center for their pastoral care, the report said.”
As we approach Corpus Christi Sunday may we recognize that the presence of Christ powerfully comforts those Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have lost everything; however they have the one gift no one can take away: their faith in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. May our profession of faith this Sunday be in solidarity with them at the altar.
“Iraqi Christian leaders are pleading with western countries to accept their people along with their priests, so that these Christians can rebuild their lives and save their culture. Thus far, the West’s response has been craven and cruel…” Read the rest at http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/02/isis-genocide-and-us
“Christianity in Mosul dates to the time of the Apostles. Initially, the faith was centered on the side of the Tigris opposite present day Mosul, in the ruins of the famed Assyrian capital Nineveh….”
Read the rest and see some stunning photos. The Christian-Muslim Symbiosis of Mosul Now Coming to an End
As the debate about Iraqi and Syrian immigration continues may our conscience not be deadened and our hearts hardened to the plight of persecuted minorities. This short film enlivens my conscience to to stand in wonder at their courage in face of such persecution.
The winter is setting in and so life will be even more difficult for those in refugee camps during this Christmas season. Consider a Christmas gift to assist those in need either through Juliana Taimoorazy’s outreach or the Knights of Columbus. The following video also demonstrates the courage of these Iraqis and Syrians who hold fast to their faith.
Servais Pinckaers, OP, offers a reflection on persecution in his book The Pursuit of Happiness – God’s Way, Living the Beatitudes.
“Saint Thomas Aquinas connects martyrdom with the virtue of fortitude or courage. According to the teaching of the philosophers of his time the proper and characteristic act of courage was confrontation with death especially in war. From a theological perspective martyrdom seen as the acceptance of death for the sake of Christ would be the specific act of Christian courage. Its motivation, faith and love, distinguishes Christian martyrdom from merely human courage in the face of death. The witness of martyrdom is totally centered in the person of Christ. Many martyrs have expressed the belief it that was Christ himself who suffered and bore witness in them, who relived his passion with them. Christian courage certainly includes whatever human courage we may possess; but surpasses it, while gathering to itself, through the power of grace, even our weaknesses and fears in the face of death. The martyrs were not heroes. They were above all believers who bore witness to love.”
Pray the Rosary every day, for the persecuted.
As we discuss immigration we must not lose our humanity for refugees. Fear must not rob us of our virtue. Juliana Taimoorazy notes that winter is coming and that this year again IraqiChristianRelief.org will try to provide relief for over 100,000 Iraqi Christians forced from their homes for their faith in Christ. You can help them by contributing to
Iraqi Christian Relief Council
P.O. Box 3021
Glenview, IL 60025
This is one good way to help.
The ongoing debate about Syrian and Iraqi refugees continues to escalate; however even if the US decided to open its doors to these refugees it would not have any effect in relieving the suffering of persecuted minorities.
The Obama administration simply echoes the Bush administration’s attitude to the Christians.
“It has been one year since Islamic State began its conquest of a third of Iraq and its destruction of that country’s ancient Christian civilization…. And there’s no reason to think that America would shape its defense policy to specifically help Iraqi Christians. This was true even during the Bush administration. When I asked about a safe haven for Christians in 2007, when mounting kidnappings and terrorism were directed against the Christians of Baghdad’s Dora neighborhood, the State Department’s coordinator for Iraq policy told me that it is “against U.S. policy to further sectarianism.” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed that this was “the policy,” arguing that reducing violence would help all Iraqis, even though the U.S. helped empower, in turn, Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419582/iraqs-christians-need-sanctuary-and-west-should-provide-it-nina-shea
Since the Civil War erupted in Syria in 2011 only 3% of the 2184 Syrian refugees resettled in the United States have been persecuted religious minorities, therefore Christians and all people of good will who wish to respond to this crisis can respond to the invitation of such organizations as the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
We can share in their mission of assisting persecuted religious minorities and can encourage others to relieve human suffering.
See: Embracing the Cross – Christians in the Middle East
UPDATE to this post: in a positive development, that part of the law has been retracted. More details here: http://dzehnle.blogspot.com/2015/11/iraq-will-not-require-christian.html .
Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad said that the legislation, part of a new national identity card law approved by the Iraqi parliament on Oct. 27, would “oblige children under 18 to automatically embrace the Muslim religion,” even if only one parent decides to convert to Islam.