Iraq: ISIS desecrates ancient monastery

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Iraq: ISIS desecrates ancient monastery | Monastery of Mar Behnam, Qaraqosh,Fr Charbel Issa,Fr Nizar Semaan
Militiamen from the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic Caliphate’ have removed the crosses and burned ancient manuscripts in the historic Monastery of Mar Behnam, ten minutes from the city of Qaraqosh, that they have occupied since last July.

Confirmation of the desecration came from a former village chief who lives near the monastery. He told Syriac Catholic priest Fr Charbel Issa, who was in charge of the Monastery until three years ago.

“Anything can happen with the terrorists of the Islamic State. They will destroy everything, if not stopped”, said Syriac Catholic priest Fr Nizar Semaan in a conversation with Fides. As reported by the website, the walls of the monastery now carry the inscription: ‘property of the Islamic State’.

ISIS threatened to kill, and then threw out the monks last July 20. Families living at the Monastery were also expelled.

The ancient Monastery, dating from the fourth century is dedicated to Assyrian Martyr Prince Behnam and his sister Sarah. Many ancient books and artefacts were kept there. It is one of the oldest and most venerated places of worship of the Syriac Christianity.T he monastery was renovated in 1986, and until the war, was visited by thousands of Christian and Muslim pilgrims each year.

Source: Fides