Symbol of the faith of Eastern Christians beyond the persecutions and the coronavirus epidemic which threatens the region, an emblematic Catholic church in Mosul, destroyed by the Islamic State (IS) organization in 2014, will rise from the ashes. Unesco confirmed in mid-February 2020 that reconstruction work will start soon.
Al-Tahera Church, a Syriac Catholic rite, was built in 1862 in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, a bastion of Shiism. After the Islamists took the city and the surrounding region, the jihadists gave Christians a choice: conversion to Islam, payment of the “infidel tax,” or death.
Thousands of Christians have been killed, and about a million faithful have had to flee the city, according to figures from the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate.
Al-Tahera Church, like twenty-eight other religious buildings in Mosul, has borne the brunt of the fighting: the arcade, the outer wall, and the ceiling must be rebuilt. The ground of the monument was full of anti-personnel mines.
The first announcement of the reconstruction project – the result of collaboration between Unesco and the United Arab Emirates – took place in October 2019. As early as February 13, 2020, the UN agency confirmed the imminence of the works.
If the coronavirus epidemic does not upset the region’s already fragile balance too much, Al-Tahera Church will be able to rise from the ashes. But it is likely to appear very empty: since the liberation of the city, only about forty Christians have returned. There were fifteen thousand in 2014.
(Sources : Unesco/Catholic News Agency – FSSPX.Actualités – 17/04/2020)