The patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad has called the current situation in his country 'perhaps the darkest and most difficult period in (the Church’s) recent history,' reports the CNS in The Catholic Herald.
In a telephone interview with Catholic News Service, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako also reiterated his appeal for the safe release of two nuns and three orphans believed to have been kidnapped in the militant-held area of northern Iraq late last month.
He told CNS that there has been no word about the group’s whereabouts or who may have abducted them, despite assurances of help from many quarters.
Patriarch Sako also said the city of Mosul 'is almost empty of Christians.'
'There are only about 200 (Christian) individuals that may be left there,' he said. 'The churches are closed. There was no Mass on Sunday. There are no priests.'
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) militants have reportedly occupied Mosul’s Chaldean Catholic and Syriac Orthodox cathedrals, removing the crosses at the front of the buildings and replacing them with the Islamic State’s black flag.
Patriarch Sako compared the current situation for the Church in his country to the biblical tale of when Jesus slept in the boat while the storm raged and his disciples were terrified, as recorded in the Gospel of St Mark. 'Despite everything, we do not despair,' he said. 'We are invited and pressed to awaken Christ, to take advantage of our faith and continue in a calm sea.'
‘Church in Iraq in perhaps its darkest period,’ says patriarch (The Catholic Herald)
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