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» 07/08/2011
IRAQ
New ‘Three Fountains Church’ near Kirkuk, a sign of hope
by Joseph Mahmoud
A new Chaldean church is inaugurated in the village of Sikanayan, some 10 kilometres from Kirkuk. Representatives of different religious and ethnic groups took part in the ceremony. During the function, Archbishop Louis Sako encouraged Christians to stay in the country and bear witness to their faith with confidence and courage.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – A new Chaldean parish church was inaugurated yesterday in Sikanayan, a village some 10 kilometres from Kirkuk. It bears the name of Saint Paul the Apostle because the village’s Kurdish name means ‘Three Fountains’, like the Three Fountains Church in Rome built on the site where the apostle was martyred. The small settlement has about 200 homes, some still under construction. Residents were given a free land grant.

The church was opened to the public on Monday with a Mass officiated by Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk. In his homily, the prelate encouraged Christians to remain in the country to bear witness to their faith with confidence and courage.

Provincial leaders as well as sheikhs and imams attended yesterday’s official inauguration.

The choir sang hymns and psalms. A joint prayer was red by an Arab Muslim sheikh, a Kurd and a Turkmen

An imam followed this with an unrehearsed well-wishing prayer to ensure that the site will always be holy and that Christians may continue to pray and praise the Lord.

“A church, like a mosque, is a special place to worship God in spirit and truth,” the archbishop said in his speech. “To the extent that such places reflect God’s beauty, truth, love, mercy and forgiveness, they are holy.”

“For us, this is its vertical dimension. A Church is the ‘House of God’, but that is not enough. There is also a horizontal dimension. A church’s role is also to instil great and noble values in the hearts of the faithful, values like goodness, love, charity, honesty, generosity and cooperation, and to keep away evil, hatred and violence. In this case, a church is also a ‘House of the People’.”

“Let us give thanks to God today in this holy place, where we worship the one God and glorify him, not only in words, but also in deeds and daily relations,” Mgr Sako said.

“We need one another and cannot be isolated from one another, living alone, because isolation is a slow death. Openness is a sign of renewed life and growth,” he said. “Let us hope to continue our Christian presence among our brothers, Muslims and others, in stability, security and dignity.”

“On this occasion,” the archbishop noted, “I would like to thank all those who contributed not only to this church, but also to this microcosm and to the mosaic of Kirkuk. The people of Kirkuk must remain united and work together for better times.”

In his address, the president of the municipal council, a Turkmen, stressed the role played by Christians in Iraq’s civilisation, noting their open spirit, morality and loyalty towards Iraq.

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See also
06/19/2007 IRAQ
Nineveh Plains project to destroy dialogue, only path for peace
by Louis Sako*
08/06/2014 IRAQ

Baghdad: Iraqi Christians and Muslims pray together for peace and religious freedom
by Joseph Mahmoud

07/31/2008 IRAQ
Christians and Muslims show solidarity for Kirkuk attack victims
12/04/2012 IRAQ
Advent in Kirkuk: young people help poor Christian and Muslim children
by Tomaso Mammo*
03/29/2012 IRAQ
Mgr Sako urges Christians "not to fear" celebrating Easter
by Louis Sako *

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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