30 May 2016
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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 05/29/2012, 00.00

    FRANCE - IRAQ

    Iraq Church is apostolic because it is a martyr Church, says Kirkuk archbishop

    Louis Sako*

    Aid to the Church in Need organised a prayer meeting attended by various Catholic figures from regions of anti-Christian persecution, including Card Zen and Paul Bhatti. For Mgr Louis Sako, faith is not the same as ideology; it is rather a sense of friendship and connection with the person of Christ. Christians must bear witness amid suffering by following the example of the first apostles.

    Paris (AsiaNews) - We publish an address by Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk (northern Iraq), which he delivered at a prayer meeting organised by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The event took place last Friday in Paris (France) in a church overflowing with faithful who had come to hear important representatives of the universal Church from regions where Christians are persecuted for their religious beliefs.

    Among the speakers, there were Card Joseph Zen, who spoke about the Church in China; Paul Bhatti, brother of the late Shahbaz Bhatti who was killed by Muslim fundamentalists on 2 March 2011 and now special national harmony adviser to the prime minister of his country; the Coptic bishop of Assiut in Egypt, Mgr. Kirrolos William Simaan; and of course Mgr Sako of Iraq.

    During the ACN meeting, the names of last year's Christian martyrs as well as those of the first part of this year were read out, with candles lighted in front of their pictures. The vigil was preceded by a Mass celebrated by the apostolic nuncio to France and co-celebrated by the cardinals and bishops.

    Here is the address by Mgr Louis Sako sent to AsiaNews, which we gladly publish:

    Our Church is apostolic because it is a martyr Church. Faith is not an ideological issue or a utopia but rather a personal tie, sometimes existential, with the person of Christ, whom we love and to whom we give our entire life. For Him, we must always go farther, including sacrifice. Such is the absolute expression of loyalty to this love. In Iraq today more than ever before, we are conscious that believing is love and love is giving.

    In the Gospel, before and after the Resurrection, Jesus reassured his disciples many times when he told them, "Do not be afraid!" When Jesus says the same today, he does so on the basis of the Father's love for us and his love for Him. For us, it is possible to respond to such love, which is connected to our faith. Love and faith are one and the same. They go together. Such boundless love gives life its meaning and its eternal dimension for those who love each other know that their love transcends them. Such is a true mystery. Love is the logical consequence of life and the resurrection.

    For us, Christians of Iraq, as a minority that is constantly facing difficulties and sacrifices, we know what it means to be persecuted, kidnapped and killed. We know how it feels to be powerless. We are aware of the dangers, but our faith gives us the courage to continue to hope and love. Our Church is apostolic not only because it was founded by the apostles, but also because it is a martyr Church as was the Church of the apostles. Like the Iraqi martyrs whom we cannot forget, we find the strength to persevere, hoping for a change in men's heart, in which a divine seed grows. I cannot forget Fadi, a choirboy killed in our church Our Lady of Kirkuk. Nor can I forget Deacon Wayil, or the sisters Marguerite and Fadila, who came to mass every evening. I certainly cannot forget Mgr Faraj Rahho and Fr Raghid Ganni. I am convinced that the sacrifice of 973 Christians and of thousands more Muslims in Iraq will not be in vain. One day, it will help us realise that love means life.

    Today, Christians around the world need to "renew" their vow to follow Christ in light of the Christians martyred and persecuted in Iraq and elsewhere. The prayers, solidarity and support of our Christian sisters and brothers in the West and elsewhere encourage us to remain in our homeland and stand in our churches. This long-distance union with every Christian helps us live here, side by side and in peace with our Muslims neighbours, so that we continue our presence and witness of love and forgiveness.

    *Archbishop of Kirkuk

     

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    See also

    19/04/2011 MIDDLE EAST – IRAQ
    Arab spring possible only if all citizens have equal rights, says Mgr Sako
    The archbishop of Kirkuk warns against the rise of fundamentalist movements and the growth of ethnic and religious sectarianism. For him, Christians can play an active and fundamental role in creating new forms of government. “In this Holy Week of Easter, let us must pray and hope that such changes can be achieved peacefully,” he says.

    28/04/2016 21:51:00 IRAQ
    Patriarch Sako: Amoris Laetitia, a source of mercy and learning for Christians and Muslims

    The Apostolic Exhortation contains essential elements for Christian families. It has also elicited “positive thoughts” among Muslims. For the Chaldean Patriarch, Islam too is waiting for something different on the family and spousal relations. Despite the war, few families have broken down, which is not the case for those who emigrated. Married priests could be a model for the whole Church.



    12/10/2010 IRAQ
    Synod, an opportunity to stop the Christian exodus from Iraq
    Iraq’s Christian community could disappear if the international community does not intervene to guarantee its presence in this land. Emigration should be discouraged and Christian-Muslim reconciliation should be encouraged.

    19/06/2007 IRAQ
    Nineveh Plains project to destroy dialogue, only path for peace
    Kirkuk’s Chaldean archbishop explains why he is against the plan to create a Christian “canton” on the Nineveh Plains. The area lacks the necessary infrastructure to host thousands of families and would deny Iraq its only way out, a culture of pluralism and dialogue. He appeals to local Church leaders to take a clear stance on the issue for the sake of the future of the country’s Christians.

    10/04/2007 IRAQ
    Imams in Kirkuk send Easter greetings to Pope
    Many Muslims pay their respect to the city’s bishop, talking about brotherhood between the faithful of the two religions. Mgr Sako stresses the responsibility every clergyman has to spread “good words.” Lebanese-Iraqi friendship group shares in Holy Week celebrations.



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