Mosul now emptied of Christians, says Archbishop

Vatican Radio
12 June 2014

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Chaldean Archbishop Amel Nona, said he thought Mosul’s last remaining Christians had left now a city which until 2003 was home to 35,000 faithful.

The Christians are among 500,000 thought to have fled Mosul whose overthrow yesterday is now followed by news today (Wed, 11 June) of militant attacks on the Iraqi city of Tikrit 95 miles north of the capital, Baghdad.

Describing reports of attacks to four churches and a monastery in Mosul, the archbishop, 46, said: “We received threats… [and] now all the faithful have fled the city. I wonder if they will ever return there.”

The archbishop, who in the ensuing crisis sought sanctuary in Tal Kayf, a village two miles from Mosul, described how the local community were doing their best to provide for crowds of people flooding out of the city and into the surrounding Nineveh plains, where there are a number of ancient Christian villages.

“Up at 5am yesterday [Tuesday, 10 June] morning we welcomed families on the run and we have tried to find accommodation in schools, classrooms and empty houses.”

He said: “We have never seen anything like this – a large city such as Mosul attacked and in chaos.”…



The article continues at Vatican Radio.



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…While hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are affected by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s takeover of key cities including the Ninawa (Nineveh) provincial capital, Mosul, minority Christians – some of whom trace their origins to the earliest years of Christianity – are among those with the most to lose.

In previous years, Christians fleeting violence in Baghdad or elsewhere in the south often headed for the Mosul area. The Nineveh Plain formed the historic homeland of Assyrians, an ancient non-Arab ethnic group in Iraq. Main Christian denominations include Chaldean Catholic, Assyrian, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian and evangelicals…



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