Iraqi Christians' flee violence, fear end of long history

Here are a couple of extracts from the article.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The violence in Iraq is hastening the end of nearly 2,000 years of Christianity there as the few remaining faithful flee Islamic State militants, archbishops from Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk said on Wednesday.

War and sectarian conflict have shrunk Iraq’s Christian population to about 400,000 from 1.5 million before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, and now even those who stayed are leaving for Turkey, Lebanon and western Europe, the prelates said on a visit to Brussels seeking European Union help to protect their flocks.

The three - Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Yohanna Petros Mouche and Kirkuk’s Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Youssif Mirkis - are all Eastern Catholics whose churches have their own traditional liturgy but are loyal to the pope in Rome.
Christianity in Iraq dates back to the first century, when it was said the Apostles Thomas and Thaddeus brought the Gospel to the fertile flood plains of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.

Iraq is traditionally home to many different Eastern Rite churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, and their presence was once a sign of Iraq’s ethnic and religious diversity.

This is so terrible what is happening in the Middle East…and it makes me wonder if this is a sign of the times we are living in.

I am in a peaceful place but do not know how long. I am working to prepare that the Lord can take me any day and to be ready and keep Him before me at all times…it is real work to do so.

We are so helpless, Fr Mitch Pacwa told some Iraqis in his audience that the Church does not have an army.

But I do think of the Blessed Virgin, and how she will crush the head of Satan, and he attacks her heel…those devoted to her and work with her in defeating him through the rosary and penance and making our entire daily life a sacrifice of love for the Lord.

We then offer our daily offering for the perseverance of the just and trust that some day the Lord will bring great good out of this terrible and most unjust tragedy against our fellow people of faith.

Kathleen: I agree with your description of the Blue Army of Our Lady but I also wonder if there is something more we can do to help Iraqi Christians. I too can feel helpless at times but I know there are real things we can do to help.

Can someone offer ideas so we are not so helpless? How about host or sponsor a family?

I do not know…There is a Maronite church in town and they are doing all they can.

Yes, prayer without action is not good…but we are dealing with something demonic on a large scale, I think.

There is a Christian organization that is helping air lift the Christians out of danger zones to safer places. It’s called Barnabas Aid and we have been giving to them for months. You may go to their website and find the Project Number to specify your donation go directly to the effort of removing them from harm. They also provide medical attention and food to the refugees. They are not a Catholic organization, but no fear. They do not pass our contraceptives or provide abortion referrals that any of my research has found.

Thank you, Tigg.

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