Monday, July 14, 2014

Christians Disappearing From Iraq, Bishops Lament

Chaldean Archbishops of Erbil and Kirkuk, Bashar Warda and Yousif Mirkis (photo: Aid to the Church in Need).

The following excerpts are from

Two Iraqi archbishops are seeking "faith and hope" in Iraq, while bewailing the continuing exodus of Christians from the country amid continued violence.
Archbishop Yousif Mirkis heads the Chaldean Archdiocese of Kirkuk, in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.

He said that he "quite definitely" fears the end of Christianity in Iraq.

"We are in the process of disappearing, just as the Christians in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and North Africa have disappeared. And even in Lebanon they now constitute only a minority," he told the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need July 8.

Archbishop Mirkis said he is not resigned to defeat, but "trying to be realistic."

"There is still the hope that faith brings," he said. While he himself will not leave Iraq, he said he understands why young Christians are leaving in the wake of so many violent deaths.

"In the past ten years we have lost a bishop and six priests. In addition there are about a thousand of the faithful who have died in attacks."

"Not everybody shares the faith and the hope."

The Christian population in Iraq has plummeted to 400,000, down from about 1.5 million before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

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Christians Disappearing From Iraq, Bishops Lament

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