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 displaced Christian.
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.