» 04/14/2009, 00.00
Almost calm Easter celebrations in Baghdad, Mosul and Basra
After years of difficulties this is the first Easter and Holy Week that is fully celebrated. In Baghdad Patriarch Delly urges the faithful not to let attacks stop them. In Mosul about 80 per cent of the Christian community is back in town. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani releases a message of best wishes for the occasion.
Baghdad (AsiaNews) – After years of terror and fear, Easter and Holy Week were celebrated again in Iraq in relative calm. In general, parish churches were full of people, confident that the security situation would hold.
In Baghdad the anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein was marked on 9 April. Several explosions were recorded across the city with several deaths. However, this did not prevent Christians from taking part in Easter services. Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel Delly actually invited Catholics to overcome their fears and trust the police which ensured security outside churches.
In Mosul the situation appeared more relaxed as well. In the last few years priests, bishops and ordinary Christians had been targeted by terrorist groups and criminal gangs, killed, kidnapped and dispossessed of their property, pushing most to flee. This time, according to a priest, at least 80 per cent of the Christian community was back in town for Easter celebrations, confident that promises by the Iraqi government and the US army would hold.
In Basra Easter Eve was celebrated again on Holy Saturday after many years. In the recent past because of the war and anti-Christian attacks services had been cut down to a minimum or celebrated in the early afternoon. This time meetings between Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants were also held.
Before Easter Iraq President Jalal Talabani released a letter of best wishes to the Christian community, calling on the faithful to follow Jesus Christ and sow in Iraqi society the principles of tolerance, brotherhood, peace and justice, which are needed to build a democratic Iraq in which everyone’s rights are respected. He also thanked Iraqi Christians for their contribution to the development of Iraqi civilisation over the past two thousand years. (SM)
Archbishop of Kirkuk says bombs will not kill hope or stop dialogue
Following yesterday’s two attacks against the Chaldean cathedral and a Syro-Orthodox Church, Msgr. Sako speaks of a “political message aimed at Christians” and guarantees that “our commitment to building peaceful coexistence will not stop”. Appeal to the faithful of the world: we will not give in but we need your prayers.
Iraqi Christians demonstrate, fast against killings and the Nineveh “ghetto”
People gather, pray and fast across Iraq against “targeted killings.” The archbishop of Mosul asks for security and an investigation into those who are responsible for the slaughter. For the archbishop of Kirkuk, the Muslim community must react and take concrete actions. The auxiliary bishop of Baghdad warns that Christians risk a holocaust at a fundamental moment.
Christians of Mosul, the light of the Resurrection in the Calvary of war
Mosul Archbishop's Easter message: "Let us learn from Jesus; let us work so that the last word is not left to terrorism and death." Local priest tells of Easter preparations: packed churches, youth attending Mass despite parents' orders. Liturgy shortened during Holy Week to limit the risk of attacks.
Easter in Mosul, Christians overcome fear and throng churches
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In Iraq Christians want to rebuild the nation together with their “Muslim brothers”
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CHINA – VATICAN
Global Times: the pope should accept the independence of the Chinese Church
After 24 hours of silence, China’s media today published excerpts, comments and editorials about Pope Francis’ interview with Asia Times. Although the pope did not address religious issues or Church problems, many saw the interview as an attempt to improve diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican, and advised Francis to accept Mao Zedong’s "three principles of independence" (theology, administration, jurisdiction), which would leave the power to appoint bishops in the hands of the Party. The People's Daily’s Global Times publishes an editorial on the issue.
INDIA – PHILIPPINES
Archbishop of Guwahati: In Asia religion is not dying, the faithful take strength from the Eucharist
Mgr Menamparampil is among the speakers at the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines. He was also a conflict mediator between various ethnic groups. He told AsiaNews about the value of the Congress for the Catholic Church in Asia and how people can bear witness the Gospel today, even amid tensions and violence of those who "hate us." "with the same pain in our hearts that we descend to our depths during a Eucharistic adoration."
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