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    » 03/31/2005, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Easter in Mosul, Christians overcome fear and throng churches



    Churches full of the faithful are a sign of the resurrection, says Chaldean priest.

    Mosul (AsiaNews) – Faithful 'thirsty' of prayers and willing to brave the threat of violence thronged churches to celebrate Easter in Mosul, a city in northern Iraq that has seen many terrorist attacks.

    Priests were 'forced' to celebrate services with solemnity and in their full lenght despite pledges to keep things short to reduce the risks of attacks.

    Fr Ragheed Ganni, secretary to the Chaldean Bishop of Mosul, Mgr Paulos Faraj Rahho, told AsiaNews that in his church about 1,200 people took part in the Good Friday liturgy.

    "The church [. . .] was packed with a lot of people standing, even more than last year," he said. But "I didn't keep my promise in keeping the celebrations short. The big turnout was so encouraging that I arranged for it to last longer", he added. "For us priests, we felt obliged to perform regular services for the faithful who had come out braving possible violence".

    Father Ragheed also explained that on Easter Eve he baptised ten children, whilst on Easter Sunday he and a Dominican Father celebrated mass together for two and a half hours before a congregation thirsty of prayers.

    The 33-year-old clergyman said the same happened "in many other churches in Iraq", not only in Mosul. "For us, Christians of Iraq, this was the real meaning of the Resurrection," he stressed.

    Father Ragheed was present when, on December 17 2004, the Bishop's residence was destroyed in a terrorist attack that horrified the local Christian community. (MA)

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    See also

    23/03/2005 IRAQ
    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.

    21/03/2005 IRAQ
    Baghdad Christians celebrate Palm Sunday without fear
    Christian political leader abducted in January is freed.

    04/04/2007 IRAQ
    Mosul: despite bombs and gunfire near churches the faithful have not forsaken Holy Week
    Attacks and threats against the often targeted Chaldean parish of the Holy Spirit continue. “We offer our suffering as a token of love for Jesus,” parishioners say. Holy Week rites take place in an underground hall to avoid explosions. Greetings are sent to the Pope, “who always holds the Iraqi people in his heart.”

    24/03/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Easter, a time of crowded churches and terrorist threats


    22/03/2005 JORDAN
    Easter, the 'Light of Christ', from Jerusalem to the Jordan




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