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    » 02/12/2014, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Governor of Basra: We will help the Iraqi Christians to return to their homeland

    Joseph Mahmoud

    Majid Al- Nasrawi met the Chaldean Patriarch and the new Bishop Habib Hormuz Al-Nofal. Governor promises land and work for those who return to the city. Mar Sako confirms Churches’ attention for the south of the country. The prelate promises commitment to peace and coexistence in the city and the region.

    Baghdad ( AsiaNews) - We will help Christians to return to the province, giving them a piece of land to cultivate and creating job opportunities and development for those who have fled in the past because of violence and insecurity. This was underlined by the Shiite leader Majid Al- Nasrawi, Governor of Basra (in southern Iraq , on the border with Kuwait) since June 2013, during his meeting with His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church as the local leaders. The summit (pictured) took place last week, in conjunction with the celebrations for the arrival of the new bishop (Hormuz Habib Al- Nofaly ) to the Diocese of Iraq. It was a moment of joy and celebration for the whole Christian community, who welcomed the new pastor during a Eucharistic celebration.

    The Governor of Basra decided to organize a festive dinner to pay tribute to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Christian delegation that accompanied him.  Those present - in addition to the delegates of the provincial council - included the new bishop of the city, the apostolic nuncio in Iraq Msgr. Giorgio Lingua, the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad Shlemon Warduni, some Chaldean Sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary and other prelates.

    During the meeting, Al- Majid Nasrawi expressed his "joy" at visit of the Christian leadership, confirming the strong bond that unites the province with its Christian citizens, he also urged the bishops to "persuade families to stay and encourage those who fled to return".

    The Chaldean Patriarch confirmed the Iraqi Churches particular concern for the south of the country, and in particular the city of Basra, a witness of the first steps of Christianity in the area with the arrival of St. Thomas the Apostle. The appointment of a new bishop, after 10 years of vacant see, confirms a renewed commitment to the local Christian community. Mar Sako and the bishops were also welcomed by delegations from Nasiriyah, from the city of Ur, tribal leaders and foreign diplomatic missions, including representatives of the U.S., Iranian and Turkish missions.

    As part of the visit, the Chaldean leaders celebrated a solemn Mass in the Church of Mar Afram, praying "for the good of Basra and its new bishop", and calling on all to contribute to the common effort to bring peace, love and harmony to the region. During the liturgy Mar Sako repeatedly pointed out the need for a "peaceful coexistence" between the different souls of the city and the nation. Msgr. Habib Hormuz Al-Nofaly focused his attention on the need for Bible studies, and hoped that Basra could become a "model" for other dioceses in the country.

    The diocese is home to more than 200 Chaldean Christian families, as well as small representation of Catholics, Armenian Catholic and Syrian Orthodox. For some time the Iraqi Church has been attempting to counter the exodus of the Christian community, which in ten years has more than halved. Before the U.S. invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein, there were more than one million faithful but today, according to recent estimates, there are only about 300 thousand left.

     

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    See also

    27/04/2012 IRAQ
    Kirkuk, thanks to the Iraqi Church, which promotes "Bridges for Peace"
    50 political and religious leaders gathered yesterday at the Archbishop’s residence signed a seven-point document for the harmony and coexistence. An appeal to the central government and the governor of Kurdistan, to solve problems "rather than complicate them." Mgr Sako: the value of diversity the foundation of coexistence.

    10/08/2010 IRAQ
    Mgr. Sako’s Message for Ramadan in Kirkuk
    The Chaldean archbishop asks Muslims that this sacred month be a time of prayer and reconciliation. He calls on Christians to observe the Muslim fast, not to eat in public and to dress modestly. In recent years in Mosul and Baghdad bombings occurred even during Ramadan. Fears for the population and Christians.

    08/10/2013 IRAQ - MIDDLE EAST
    Assyrian Church andChaldean Patriarchate: " dialogue and unity" in defense of Christians in the Middle East
    Mar Dinkha IV responds to call for dialogue launched by Mar Sako and urges "joint action" of "sister churches ." The idea of a "Joint Committee " to pursue the project of unity. Chaldean Patriarch: "urgent" need to overcome the difficulties and ensure "our future presence".

    11/06/2007 IRAQ
    Kirkuk: Muslims and Christians united for dialogue, only way to save Iraq
    Sunnis and Shiites, tribal leaders, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians meet at luncheon organised by the city Chaldean archdiocese to fight those who would like to destroy peaceful coexistence between religions. Prime Minister al-Maliki’s spokesman says the government is opposed to the Nineveh Plains plan and the country’s division in ghettoes. Ayatollah al-Sistani receives Christian leaders and expressed his solidarity towards them.

    06/04/2010 IRAQ
    Baghdad under attack, 35 dead and 140 wounded. Easter for Christians of peace in Iraq
    A series of explosions targeted several parts of the capital, causing the collapse of some buildings. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a downtown restaurant. In Kirkuk, government leaders and Muslim religious leaders attended the Easter vigil. The faithful pray for national reconciliation. Archbishop Sako: the risen Christ reminds us of the value of forgiveness.



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