Pope Francis is expected to bless the statue of Our Lady during a stadium Mass in Erbil on March 7.
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Dating back to sometime between the 14th and 15th century, the book contains liturgical prayers in Aramaic for the season of Easter in the Syriac tradition.
The cathedral that the pope will visit in Bakhdida, served a growing Christian community, until the Islamic State turned the cathedral into an indoor shooting range from 2014-2016.
Pope Francis called Bishop Lisboa on Aug. 19 after the Islamic State declared that it had taken two military bases near Cabo Delgado’s port city Mocimboa da Praia.
Fr. Hamel was killed while celebrating Mass July 26, 2016 after two armed gunmen stormed his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy.
Father Jacques Mourad, kidnapped by the Islamic State in 2015 and detained for several months, tells how prayer erased his fear of death and gave him the strength to never give up on dialogue with his jailers.
DECADE IN REVIEW: The continent, home to the world’s largest Christian population and considered the Church’s ‘beacon of hope,’ faces a growing threat of religious hostility.
After Bakhdida's liberation from the Islamic State in 2016, Masses resumed in the damaged cathedral as Christians returned to rebuild their community.
Syriac Catholic Coadjutor Archbishop Nathanael Nizar Semaan told the Register, ‘Qaraqosh and all these Christian villages are giving a big witness of their faith, how strong it is. We are here.’
The founder of a charity for persecuted Christians says the beleaguered populace needs more political representation and aid as a Shiite group try to force them out of their ancient lands.