MOSUL, Iraq, NOV. 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- An attack on a Catholic Church in Mosul have Christians throughout Iraq worried for their safety, says the Catholic archbishop of Mosul of the Chaldeans.
Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona said this to the Italian bishops’ SIR news agency after a bomb destroyed the Catholic Church of St. Ephrem and damaged the motherhouse of the Dominican sisters of St. Catherine last Thursday. There were no reports of deaths or injuries.
“They wished to hit a symbol of the Iraqi Christian and Catholic presence and not only of Mosul,” the archbishop said. “Fear rises again and the flight of Christians.”
“They have destroyed the walls, the stones of the church,” he added. “Now we have to rebuild those persons who are afraid and are losing confidence and hope.
“We need prayers, help and moral and material support.”
Agence France-Presse reported Friday that some 40 Christians have died in Mosul as a result of attacks during the last year. In addition, some 12,000 Christians have fled.
Benedict XVI confirmed the election of Archbishop Nona, 42, as the archbishop of Mosul of the Chaldeans on Nov. 13.
The See of Mosul had been vacant since Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was kidnapped February 2008 outside of a church where he had led the Way of the Cross on a Lenten Friday. During the kidnapping, his three companions were killed.
For days there was no news from the archbishop or his kidnappers. Finally, after a phone call from the assailants, the prelate’s body was found March 13 in a shallow grave. He was 65.