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» 06/04/2007
IRAQ
The Chaldean Church mourns Fr. Ragheed Ganni and his martyrs
Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly together with all of the Chaldean bishops condemn this barbarous murder of the priest and his three deacons, massacred yesterday in Mosul after Sunday Mass: “A horrible crime against God and humanity , may these martyrs find eternal rest”. This afternoon the funerals will be held in Karamles. New information comes to light surrounding the murders.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – With “a heart full of bitterness and mourning”, the Chaldean Church is today lamenting its martyrs.  This is how, in a joint statement the Chaldean Patriarch and his bishops remember Fr Ragheed Ganni (in the photo) and his three sub-deacons - Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, Gassan Isam Bidawed – murdered in cold blood yesterday, as they left the Parist Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul after Sunday Mass.  This afternoon at 15.00 (local time) their funerals will be held in Karamles, Fr. Ragheed’s home town; celebrated by Msgr. Faraj Rahho, the bishop of Mosul.

Emmanuel III Delly’s condemnation on behalf of the nation’s bishops came just hours after the assassination.  “It is a most heinous crime that any person of proper conscience would reject.  The authors carried out a most horrible act against God, against humanity, against their own brothers who were peace loving citizens, as well as men of religion who always offered their prayers to God the Almighty for security and stability in Iraq”, the text reads.

Msgr. Rabban al Qas, bishop of Amadiyah and Erbil, reflected on the figure of Fr. Ragheed with AsiaNews: “He had such great courage, united with a loving calm.  He was a spiritual man, loved by his people, Catholic and Muslim”.

Meanwhile new information surrounding the nature of the attack has come to light.  After celebrating Sunday mass, Fr Ragheed and his three aides were leaving the Parish by car, accompanied by the wife of one of the sub-deacons,, Gassan Isam Bidawed. In recent days the three insisted on accompanying Fr Ragheed to protect him.  “They were young men alive with faith, who accompanied their parish priests every more, risking their lives for their belief in Christ”, their friends tell.  Suddenly, at the corner of the road, their car is blocked by unknown armed men militants who order the woman to distance herself from the others and then, in cold blood, shoot the remaining passengers, repeatedly.  The aggressor’s then booby trapped the car with explosives; with the aim of further carnage should anyone near the car to recover the bodies.  In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the bodies remained, abandoned on the city street, because no one dared to approach.  It was only towards ten pm (Local time) that security forces finally defused the explosives allowing corpses to be recovered.  They now lie in repose in the Church of the Holy Spirit.

The Chaldean bishops who are currently gathered for their patriarchal Synod “ask the Lord to grant mercy to the souls of these martyrs, and extend their deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased, to the bishop of the city Msgr. Faraj Rahho, to the brother priests of the victims and the Chaldean faithful throughout the world, that they may be given the necessary strength to face such an arduous situation”. The bishops conclude by recalling the persecution of Iraqi Christians, their forced emigration, their being pushed to renounce their faith asking “Iraqi leaders and international organisations to intervene to put a concrete end to these criminal acts”.

 Yesterday card. Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state revealed that the war in Iraq will be on the agenda for talks with US President George Bush in his upcoming visit to Rome June 8th.

Fr. Ragheed is the first Catholic priest to have been killed in Iraq since 2003.  Before him, last year it was the turn of a Syro- Orthodox priest Fr. Paul Iskandar.

A dear friend of AsiaNews, Fr Ragheed Ganni was born in Mosul in 1972. A graduate in engineering form the local university, he studied theology from 1996 to 2003 at the Pontifical Irish College and the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas the "Angelicum", where he received a licence in Ecumenical Theology.

 


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See also
10/16/2006 IRAQ
Patriarch Delly: World has forgotten Iraqi Christians
by Yousef Hourany
01/10/2008 IRAQ
Archbishop of Kirkuk says bombs will not kill hope or stop dialogue
10/14/2008 IRAQ - VATICAN
Cardinal Delly: the situation in Iraq is disastrous, tragic, and worse by the day
10/07/2008 IRAQ
Mosul, another "targeted murder" against the Christian community
05/22/2007 IRAQ
Free, but “deeply marked” the Chaldean priest kidnapped in Baghdad

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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