Baghdad Patriarch calls for prayer of peace one year after Nineveh’s fall
by Louis Raphael I Sako*
Overnight on 6-7 August 2014, Islamic State terrorists seized Christian the villages in the Nineveh Plain and forced out hundreds of thousands of people. A year later, Mar Sako addresses a prayer to the pope and the bishops of the world "to join with us in this sad anniversary."

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - May the Lord give the Christians of Iraq peace and security "before it is too late" and the strength to "stand fast in this violent storm," says the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Mar Raphael Louis Sako, in a prayer he wrote to mark the first anniversary of the storming of the Nineveh Plain by Islamic State terrorists.

Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave behind everything overnight on 6-7 August and walk toward Iraqi Kurdistan, where, along with other Christian refugees in the country, they completely depend on others for their needs.

In order not to forget this tragedy and his fellow Christians, the patriarch addressed a prayer to Pope Francis and the bishops of the world. The full text follows.

I am calling on all Christians all over the world to join us in praying for peace and stability in Iraq on the first anniversary of the conquest by ISIS of the Christian villages of the Nineveh Plain on August 7, 2014, less than a month after that of Mosul.

LORD Jesus Christ,

You taught us to pray to the Father in your name,

and you assured us that whatever we asked for, we would receive.

Therefore, we come to you with complete confidence

asking you to give us the strength to stand fast in this violent storm,

to reach peace and security before it is too late.

This is our prayer, and although it seems difficult for us,

we trust you to give us all we need for our survival and our future.

Help us, Father, to continue working together,

to be free, responsible and loving,

to fulfill your will, joyfully, carefully, and courageously.

At Cana, Jesus’ Mother was the first to notice there was no wine.

Through her intercession, we ask you, Father,

To change our situation – as your son changed water into wine – from death into life.


* Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Iraq