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» 04/14/2009
IRAQ
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)


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See also
01/10/2008 IRAQ
Archbishop of Kirkuk says bombs will not kill hope or stop dialogue
03/01/2010 IRAQ
Iraqi Christians demonstrate, fast against killings and the Nineveh “ghetto”
03/23/2005 IRAQ
Christians of Mosul, the light of the Resurrection in the Calvary of war
by Marta Allevato
03/31/2005 IRAQ
Easter in Mosul, Christians overcome fear and throng churches
06/26/2007 IRAQ
In Iraq Christians want to rebuild the nation together with their “Muslim brothers”
by Saad Hanna Sirop*
BANGLADESH
Easter under heavy security for Catholics of Bangladesh
SRI LANKA
Bishops of Sri Lanka: Prayers to the risen Christ for peace and unity in the country
INDIA
Easter, truth is the road to peace among peoples, says Mgr Menamparampil
VIETNAM
Easter solidarity in a Vietnam where poverty and marginalisation are at home
INDIA
Bishop of Orissa: fear surrounds Easter because of tension over elections
VATICAN
Pope: the Risen One continues seeking people to help him to establish justice, truth, and love
VATICAN
Pope: with the Resurrection, the light of God spreads through the world and history
VATICAN
Let us contemplate the face that changed the world, that answered hatred with love, says Pope
VATICAN
Via Crucis: Jesus continues to suffer and die today
PAKISTAN
Easter in Pakistan: from full churches to prison missions
HONG KONG – CHINA
Card Zen’s last pastoral letter to the Church of Hong Kong and China
THAILAND
Thailand, 283 converts to receive baptism at Easter
PHILIPPINES
Easter in Manila, kissing the cross of Jesus
TURKEY
Easter among the Muslims, in the land of Saint Paul
VIETNAM
2,000 young people of the diocese of Saigon prepare to become Catholics at Easter

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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