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Feast of the Holy Cross

Eastern, Oriental and Catholic Churches all mark this Feast Day on 14 September 

The NCCA would like to share with you, the  article 'Christians from Nineveh Plains celebrate popular Holy Cross Feast ' from La Croix International, 15 September 2020

The article in full below:

Celebration seen as a concrete manifestation of the resumption of community life after years in which most of the region had emptied due to the Islamic State occupation

 Below: Christians in the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq. (Photo by AMMAR SALIH/EPA) 
 

Christian refugees who returned to the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq following years of Islamic State persecution, ongoing jihadist activities and the coronavirus pandemic celebrated the Feast of the Holy Cross, a liturgical solemnity dear to Christian communities in that region. 

Christians from Teleskof (Tesqopa), 19 miles north of Mosul gathered at the Chaldean church of Mar Gewargis (St. George), to celebrate Mass and then take part in the procession with candles and torches through the streets of the city up to the so-called "Bishop's Hill", September 13, FIDES reported.

At the end of the procession, in front of "Bishop's Hill", torches were placed to illuminate the hill.

Dozens of Christian families from Talkaif, Batnaya, Baqofah and Mosul who had fled due to the Islamic State occupation also took part in the celebration for the first time in many years.

The region is also under COVID-19 preventive measures put in place to ensure that the celebration of the Holy Cross could take place safely. Before entering the church, body temperature was measured and the use of a mask and hand sanitation was necessary.

The celebration of the special feast is seen as a concrete manifestation of the resumption of community life, after the years in which most of the cities and villages of the Nineveh Plains, once inhabited mainly by Chaldean, Syrian and Assyrian Christians, had emptied due to the occupation of the Islamic State.

Only 45% of the original Christian community has returned to the Nineveh Plains.

There were 102,000 Christians living there in 2014. But their number has dwindled to 36,000 and is expected to plummet even further by 2024 due to political instability and lack of security, as well as family and economic reasons.

Islamic State occupied the Nineveh Plains for two years, but was gradually driven out beginning in 2016. Now various militias, often linked to foreign powers, have taken over much of the area.

Source: La Croix International, 15 September 2020

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