During the occupation of the city by the Islamic State, the prelate helped displaced people from the Nineveh Plain. He saved part of Mosul’s Christian and non-Christian cultural heritage from destruction. For the Chaldean Patriarch, he will have to focus on “reconciliation and trust”.
Mosul (AsiaNews) – Mgr Najib Mikhael Moussa (pictured) yesterday issued a message of “coexistence, love, and peace” on the occasion of his inauguration as the new archbishop of Mosul. In it, he calls for an end to the extremist ideology of Daesh (Islamic State group).
The ceremony was held in Mosul’s St. Paul Catholic Church in the presence of numerous Catholic leaders, local officials, faithful and residents of the region.
Born in Mosul in 1955, Mgr Moussa became a Dominican priest when he was 31. For years, he served the Catholic community at the Al-Saa (Our Lady of the Hour) Church where he was also in charge of conservation of about 850 ancient manuscripts in Aramaic, Arabic and other languages, as well as 300-year-old letters and about 50,000 books.
During the years of occupation by the Islamic State group, the priest helped displaced people from the city and the Nineveh Plain.
Thanks to his training as an archivist, he was able to preserve part of Mosul’s Christian and non-Christian cultural heritage that extremists wanted to destroy.
On the eve of his ordination on 18 January in Baghdad’s Cathedral of St Joseph, the Chaldean Patriarch Card Louis Raphael Sako emphasised the significance of the appointment, which described as a "source of hope" for the whole local community.
For the patriarch, "The two factors which he must insist on are reconciliation and trust among the people of the city, lost due to the violence of ISIS and fundamentalist ideology.”
Indeed, “The new bishop has the task of restarting the dialogue and of encouraging Muslims themselves towards reconciliation and reconstruction – reconciliation and trust – from a perspective of lasting peace."
Finally, he will have to help Christians "reconnect the threads of history in Mosul, revive churches and places of worship, some of which are among the oldest and most important for the Chaldean Church. They are part of the life and history of the city."