Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
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Saturday, 14 June 2014

U.S. Iraqi Christians Fearful for Communities Back Home - New America Media

Arab American News, News Report, Natasha Dado, Posted: Jun 13, 2014

DETROIT — There is not much local Iraqis can do to help the victims of violence in their homeland except pray for their safety. And that is exactly what several did this week.

This past week, members of the Iraqi Christian community gathered at St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield and St. George Chaldean Catholic Church in Shelby Township to pray for the hundreds of thousands in Iraq who were displaced from their homes after militants seized control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

In an effort to maximize help for Christians in Iraq, the charitable organization Adopt A Refugee created the Mosul Relief Effort this week. It will provide immediate financial assistance for basic human needs including food, water and shelter.

The region’s Iraqi Chaldean, Syriac and Assyrian Christian communities are worried that the recent violence in Iraq will diminish their population in the war-torn country even more.

A majority of Iraq’s Christians were forced to flee the country because of persecution after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion; and now only about 300,000 to 500,000 remain in a country with a population of roughly 36 million. Iraqi Christians have a deep-rooted history in the northern part of the country, where militants have recently seized control.

A petition circulating online entitled, “Save Iraqi Christians” was created in the wake of recent fighting and managed to gain 6,288 signatures by Thursday. If the petition receives enough signatures it will be delivered to members of Congress, the U.S. Senate and President Obama.

A message explaining the petition’s mission reads, “The imperative protection and preservation of the Iraqi Chaldo-Assyrian-Syriac communities in the North, the indigenous peoples of Mesopotamia.”

The Rev. Najeeb Michaeel, a priest from Mosul, sent a special request asking for prayers, which was shared and read by several local Iraqis.

“I write you in a situation of violence in Mosul that is very critical and even apocalyptic,” Rev. Michaeel wrote. “Most of the inhabitants of the city have already abandoned their houses and fled into the villages and are sleeping in the open without anything to eat or drink.”

In the letter, he also noted that children and adults have been assassinated, and that bodies have been left in the streets and in houses by the hundreds, without pity. He says that the army has fled the city, along with the governor, and that checkpoints and the Kurdish forces are blocking refugees from entering Kurdistan.

“I believe it is better for me to stay with my own population, in my own country,” he added. “I want to be there to help people—especially the handicapped, the homeless, and families who are in trouble—not just with material things but also to help give them direction, power, and faith. We are there supporting each other, walking together, falling together. We take the cross, we take the church, and we hold them. We suffer and die as martyrs. The situation is bad. But we have hope."

U.S. Iraqi Christians Fearful for Communities Back Home - New America Media
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