Iraqi Christians' Flee Violence, Fear End of Long History
Categories: Articles:Peacemaking |
Published: 10/07/2014 |
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. "The next days will be very bad. If the situation does not change, Christians will be left with just a symbolic presence in Iraq," said Sako, who is based in Baghdad. "If they leave, their history is finished." Alert Net, 09/07/14
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