» 10/13/2009, 00.00
Archbishop of Kirkuk: for 1600 years, Iraq has been a "country of martyrs"
Diocese remembers the massacre of Christians in 409 AD, in which hundreds of people were beheaded for their faith. Program includes a fast for peace, prayers, masses and a conference. Archbishop Sako: the persecutions have not stopped "the story and the journey" of Christians, strong in the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist.
Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - For 1600 years, Iraq has been "a country of martyrs", which finds in the “Holy Spirit and the Eucharist" the strength to bear witness to the faith “despite persecution”. So says Mgr. Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, on the eve of a week of celebrations to mark 1600 years since the massacre of Iraqi martyrs. A long series of past and present violence, but one which has not stopped "the sacred history of the Christians ... and their journey."
In 409 AD hundreds of Christians were beheaded for their faith. "Among them - said Msgr. Sako - a widow named Scirin-Miskenta, with two children, and general Tahmazgerd, who carried out the decree of the king, who ordered the massacre. "Seeing their faith, serenity and the trust of the widow - continued the prelate - Tahmzgerd converted to Christianity" and as a result was "beheaded later." Around 470, to commemorate the massacre of Christians, the bishop of Kirkuk Maruta "built a sanctuary” on the hill where "the martyrs were buried”. The "Red Church", as it is called, junits Christians and Muslims and is now "the graveyard of the Chaldeans"; the relics of martyrs, custodied on the main altar, have always been a destination for the processions of the faithful.
To celebrate the anniversary of the martyrdom, the diocese has organized a series of events: on Wednesday, a day of fasting for peace; Thursday, hymns of the martyrs and a conference at the recently restored Sanctuary; on Friday Mass will be celebrated; on Saturday a play, staged by the choir of the cathedral and the church of St. Joseph. Under the slogan "true to our fathers in faith," Christians in Kirkuk want to "bear witness to the faith, love, trust and openness."
The history of violence and persecution against Christians has continued uninterrupted. Abductions, kidnappings, assassinations, fleeing families are the dramatic testimony of a "chain of martyrs - underlines Msgr. Sako - that continues. Our country is dotted with shrines to martyrs that people constantly visit, it is a spirituality of martyrdom". Christians find the strength to "remain faithful" in the "Holy Spirit, but also in the liturgy, especially the Eucharist." "In every Mass - added the archbishop of Kirkuk – we are called upon to make the sacrifice of Christ in our life, in his words; take, break, give ... Do this in memory of me: this is the sacred history of Christians and ... their journey”.
Iraq moving towards division, says bishop of Kirkuk
Mgr Louis Sako voices his concerns over the growing split between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. A divided Iraq will not have peace but may confine Christians in their own ghetto.
Kirkuk Christians and Muslims unite in prayer to Our Lady for Peace in Iraq
The initiative, launched by Archbishop Mgr. Sako, saw the participation of political and religious leaders and many faithful who packed the cathedral. Also present were the families of victims of attacks. The prelate speaks of the "value" of the meeting, at a time of "suffering." He adds, Christians work for reconciliation, but do not want ghettos or diasporas.
25/05/2011 IRAQ - GERMANY
Archbishop of Kirkuk awarded for his struggle for human rights
Archbishop Louis Sako has been recognized by the Stephanus Foundation, in Germany. It is the third prize for the Iraqi archbishop, after the Defensor Fidei in 2008 and Pax Christi in 2010. In his acceptance speech he stresses the importance of Christian-Muslim dialogue and calles for greater commitment to peace.
16/08/2016 17:33:00 IRAQ
Alqosh, despite the Islamic State, the Church celebrates the first communion of one hundred children
On the feast day of the Assumption the whole community attended the function, celebrated by Mar Sako. For the patriarchal vicar, this is an historic moment for the frontier town long threatened by jihadists. The Chaldean primate calls on children to "contribute to the community." In Kirkuk His Beatitude opened a grotto dedicated to Our Lady.
In Kirkuk Christian and Muslim leaders for dialogue and reconciliation
At the invitation of Msgr. Sako, 50 religious leaders are meeting during Ramadan to launch an appeal to political leaders for an end to conflicts and divisions. "We are all brothers, sons of the same God we must respect and cooperate for the good of the people and our country."
Pope tells young people to remember the past, to have courage in the present and hope for the future
The Message for the 32nd World Youth Day was issued today centred on “The ‘great things’ that the Almighty accomplished’.” In her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary becomes a model. The pontiff calls on young people to avoid being couch potatoes, safe and cosy, urges them to rediscover the relationship with seniors. The Church experience is not a flash mob. The future should be experienced in a constructive way, and “the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission” should not be devalued.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.