The Chaldean Church of St Joseph in Mosul has been turned into a mosque by IS/ Daish. The Chaldean church dedicated to St Ephrem has also been converted. The jihadists have been established in the city since last June. turning it into the capital of their self-declared Islamic Caliphate.
Some pictures of the place of worship show that the dome has been painted black, and the church – situated in the district of Maidan, in the historic city – has been stripped of all crosses and Christian symbols and images. The mosque seems to have been named after Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, an Iraqi commander of Daesh killed by Iraqi police.
The church of St Joseph was a historic church in Mosul, but in recent years, due to the decrease of priests and faithful recorded after the US-led military intervention, Mass iwas celebrated only once a month and pilgrimages took place during the feast days of St Joseph.
After the conquest of Mosul by jihadists, all the Christians in the city were forced to flee and many of them live as refugees in Ankawa, a suburb in Erbil.
Mgr Amel Shamon Nona, already Chaldean Archbishop of the metropolis in Iraq, was transferred to lead the Chaldean eparchy in Australia. No successor has been appointed yet.
Fr Paul Mekko, a Chaldean priest from Mosul, said the Christians still hope they may be able to return to their homes one day.
Meanwhile, the Chaldean Patriarchate has decided to sell some vehicles owned by the archdiocese which are lying unused in garages. The proceeds from the sale – amounting to almost 60 thousand dollars – was paid into the bank account of the archdiocese, in the hope of using it when better moments arrive, and the parishes of Mosul can start afresh.’