iraqi Christians

Iraq Christians’ status more stable but still precarious

The ruins of the Chaldean Catholic cathedral are seen Aug. 3 in Kirkuk, Iraq. Iraq was home to about 1.5 million Christians at the start of the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003; some estimates put the current total at 175,000 Christians.

WASHINGTON — Although life in Iraq for Christians has stabilized since the routing of Islamic State from the country, their numbers are down from 2014, when the militant group began its insurgency, with their towns largely wrecked and infrastructure in shambles.

This was the assessment of panelists at a Nov. 28 roundtable in Washington sponsored by the Knights of Columbus in recognition of a week of "Solidarity in Suffering" declared by the U.S. Catholic Church that began Nov. 26 to raise awareness of the situation of persecuted Christians throughout the world.

In visit to Kurdistan, Bp. Cantu hears priorities of Iraqi Christians

An Iraqi soldier stood guard during Christmas celebrations at the al-Tahira al-Kubra church in al-Hamdaniya, east of Mosul. Bishop Oscar Cantu, the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said after a visit with Iraqi Christians that he would advocate for a rebuilt Iraq that allows people of many religions and ethnicities to live side by side.

AMMAN, Jordan — After meeting with Church leaders in northern Iraq, a U.S. bishop said he will advocate differently for Iraqi religious minorities.

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., said that the Iraqi Catholic clergy do not want to see a safe corridor set up for Christians, as some in Washington have suggested.

Despite distance, Iraqi Christians keep the spirit of Christmas alive

ISTANBUL — Sami Dankha, his three brothers and their families used to kick off Christmas celebrations by attending a packed Christmas Eve Mass at St. Thomas Church in Baghdad. Wearing brand new clothes and sporting fresh haircuts, they spent the night chatting, singing and eating pacha, a dish made from sheep's head that Iraqis consider a delicacy and a staple of Christmas.

Winter challenges Iraqi Christians who fled militants

Blankets lined a fence where Iraqi Christians are sheltered by Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena outside a youth sport center in Ainkawa, Iraq. An early wintery deluge drove out families, adding to the woes for those who recently ran for their lives from the brutal Islamic State militant takeover of Iraq’s historic Christian heartland.

AINKAWA, Iraq -- Sister Habiba's kindly face is etched with sadness as she surveyed the muddy field where dozens of tents sheltering displaced Iraqi Christians once stood.

Cold, punishing rains and blustery wind swept through the encampment Oct. 20, earlier than expected for winter, crashing down the tents in the dead of night. Shoes, slippers and toys were strewn about, stuck in the muddy mess, signaling the mad dash for safety.

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