Catching Our Eye
Maiduguri trauma centre for Boko Haram victims
An Anglican church in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in northern Nigeria, is building a clinic and trauma centre for the victims of Boko Haram attacks.
The Bishop of the Maiduguri Diocese, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Mani, said the trauma centre will be open to people of all faiths.
“What [the government] told us is not to restrict the hospital to the church only, but to make it open to other faith [sic], aside [from] the IDPs [internally displaced people], so that all communities will benefit from the gesture,” he said, as reported by Premium Times.
“This is a diocesan hospital for all of us. We are going to use our doctors, nurses, and all health workers – both retired and serving – to render services for the community, and we hope [these] services would be free of charge.”
As World Watch Monitor reported in September 2015, Maiduguri has borne the brunt of Boko Haram’s attacks, but an improvement to the city’s security last summer allowed visitors in for the first time in about two years.
Nigeria’s military then said it had recaptured villages and rescued 90 people in a process that involved the “continuous elimination” of the group from Nigerian territory.
However, after two months without an attack, a 20 Sept. bomb blast left at least 54 dead and 90 injured, and an audio message purportedly from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau called the Nigerian army “liars” for saying troops had regained territory.
Aleppo church helped ‘almost 2000 Muslim refugees’
A church in the beleaguered Syrian city of Aleppo has opened its doors to Muslims as well as Christians fleeing the war.
Nearly 2,000 Muslims have benefited from the help offered by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, including by the Church of Elias the Prophet, reported Ruptly.tv, an affiliate of Russia Today (RT).
Engaged in community service for decades, the recent war in Syria (2011-present) has focused the Archdiocese’s efforts through a refugees' aid centre entirely operated by volunteers.
"We have been brought up by the church to help others irrespective of their ethnic or religious affiliation, or where their situation might have placed them," a volunteer said.
Fighting between government and rebel forces has escalated in recent weeks in Aleppo, leaving hundreds dead.
Aleppo enjoyed a mosaic of Christian communities, including Greek Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenians, Evangelicals and Maronites, with its Christian population historically bolstered by survivors of earlier genocides, including the massacres of Armenians in the early 1900s.
During the latest war, many Christians have been displaced, significantly reducing the pre-war figure of 10% of the overall population.
Meanwhile, Syrian government planes have attacked parts of the north-eastern Syrian city of Hassake, which are held by the Kurdish militia - for the first time since the civil war started. Hassake is where the Archbishoprics of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Syriac Catholic Church were headquartered. The Kurds have focused on fighting Islamic State control, while the government has fought rebels elsewhere; these clashes intensify the battle for control of the north-east of Syria, as well as Aleppo in the north-west. After IS advances in Spring 2015, many Assyrian Christians fled to Hassake.
Syria ranks fifth in Open Doors' 2016 World Watch List, a list of 50 countries where Christians come under the most pressure.
Frontier town sees first communion despite IS
A Christian town some 50km north of the Islamic State’s Iraq stronghold of Mosul has celebrated its first communion Mass, completing the initiation of a hundred boys and girls in the faith.
In what was described as a "historic moment", Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako presided over the ceremony in Alqosh attended by "all the priests of the city, the nuns and more than 700 people," Asia News reported.
Alqosh is a historic town in the Nineveh Plains, north Iraq. It constitutes one of the main centres of the Assyrian-Chaldean Christian tradition.
Since the Islamic jihadists’ onslaught spearheaded by the ‘Islamic State’ two years ago, Alqosh received tens of Christian refugees.
Despite recent successes in reclaiming lands from IS, many Christians have expressed doubts about returning to the Plains, their last foothold in the country.
Still, Patriarch Sako urged the children to stay and preserve the Christian heritage of their lands.
Iraq, together with neighbouring Syria where IS is equally active, rank as second and fifth respectively according to Open Doors' 2016 World Watch List, a list of 50 countries where Christians come under the most pressure.