» 12/31/2010, 00.00
Mgr Sako: Martyrdom, the gift of the Iraqi Church to the world. More blood in Baghdad
Yesterday in the capital, six bombs near Christian homes left two dead and 12 wounded. The exodus of the faithful to Kurdistan continues, in a hampered by winter. For the archbishop of Kirkuk, the martyrdom of Iraqi Christians is a gift for awakening the faith of Christians of the West. At the same time, their friendship and solidarity, helping the Iraqis to continue their faithful witness.
Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - "For us Christians of Iraq, martyrdom is the charism of our Church, in its 2000 year history. As a minority, we are constantly faced with difficulties and sacrifices, but we are aware that bearing witness to Christ can mean martyrdom. In the Arabic language they have the same root: Shahid wa shahiid!. "
These the words of the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr. Louis Sako, AsiaNews, summarizing what the past year for Iraqi Christians. Yesterday in Baghdad, six bomb explosions in front of Christian homes left two dead and 12 wounded. The bombs exploded in the Ghadir quarter, where there is a significant Christian presence in Yarmuk, Khadra, Dora, and Saidiya Karrada, near the church of Our Lady of Salvation, where last October 31 terrorists killed more than 50 Christians.
"These acts - points out one faithful - have created a climate of panic and disappointment among us The government is not doing anything. Attacking Christians has become a normal phenomenon in Iraq. We are a convenient target. Christians continue to flee to Kurdistan, and every day brings new families. 700 families have arrived in Erbil; 116 families in Soulaymaniyia. What future awaits them this winter? Where are our religious authorities, while they kill us for our faith? We Christians have not celebrated Christmas, we will not even celebrate the New Year. "
Archbishop Sako, who has welcomed many refugee families to his diocese, underlines their faith. "Here in Iraq we understand that faith is not an ideological or theological speculation, but a mystical reality. Faith is a personal encounter with someone who knows us, loves us and to whom we give ourselves totally. For faith, one must always be willing to go beyond, even to sacrifice. Martyrdom is an expression of loyalty to that love. On 31 October, Fr Wassim, the young priest from the Syriac Catholic cathedral turned to the terrorists and cried: Kill me and free the faithful. He knew what he was saying, this was his commitment of love for Christ and for his flock. "
"Christians around the world - continues Bishop. Sako - can renew their faith and their commitment to being in contact with Iraq's persecuted Christians. At the same time, the friendship, solidarity and support of our brothers and sisters of the West gives us the courage to resist and remain in our land and in our churches, continuing our presence and Christian witness. Knowing that you stand by us, urges us to cultivate a common life, in peace and harmony with our Muslim brothers. "
Five Christians killed as Kirkuk archbishop questions US withdrawal
Monsignor Sako warns that US troop pullout is likely to plunge the country in a “civil war.” Between 31 March and 4 April five Christians are murdered in Kirkuk, Baghdad and Mosul. The prelate calls on the faithful to pray during Holy Week so “that the blood of our martyrs may restore peace.”
Christmas in Iraq’s fortressed churches
In Kirkuk and Soulaymanyia Christians crowd parishes while outside soldiers and police provide security. The wife of President Talabani distributes gifts to children.
Shia pilgrims slaughtered, 27 die and many more are wounded in Mosul and Baghdad
In Mosul a bomb explodes as worshippers leave a mosque after traditional Friday’s prayers; 21 are killed and 70 wounded. In Baghdad minibuses carrying pilgrims returning from Karbala are hit. A million Shiites celebrate the birth of the last imam in the holy city.
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.
Bomb attacks on Churches in Baghdad and Kirkuk
Three dead and nine wounded . The Patriarch of Baghdad : "We live in fear". They are the first attacks against Christian Churches since December's elections.
Liu Xiaobo: a torch that enlightens human civilization
The testimony of the great nonviolent dissident is the highest contribution to humanity in the last (sterile) 500 years of Chinese history. A priest from North China offers an elegy in memory of Liu (and his wife).
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.