Chaldean Archbishop Kidnapped in Northern Iraq

From Fox News:

Chaldean Archbishop Kidnapped in Northern Iraq

Friday , February 29, 2008

AP

BAGHDAD —  Gunmen on Friday kidnapped Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police and the church said.

The gunmen also killed three people who were with Rahho, 65, at the time of the kidnapping, which occurred after he ended a Mass in a nearby church, said Iraqi Brig. Gen. Khalid Abdul-Sattar, a spokesman for the Ninevah province police.

An aide to Iraq’s Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, leader of the church, said he did not know who was behind the kidnapping.

"We pray for his release as soon as possible," said Archbishop Andreos Abouna. "This act of abduction against a Christian clergy member will increase our fears and worries about the situation of Christians in Iraq."

Last year’s International Religious Freedom Report from the U.S. State Department noted that Chaldean Catholics comprise a tiny minority of the Iraqi population, but are the largest group among the less than 1 million Christians in Iraq.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraqi Christians have been targeted by Islamic extremists who label them "crusaders" loyal to U.S. troops.

Churches, priests and business owned by Christians have been attacked by Islamic militants and many have fled the country.

Last June, Pope Benedict XVI expressed deep concern about the plight of Christians caught in the deadly sectarian crossfire in Iraq and pressed U.S. President George W. Bush in a meeting to keep their safety in mind.

"Particularly in Iraq, Christian families and communities are feeling increasing pressure from insecurity, aggression and a sense of abandonment," Benedict said at the time.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged last fall to protect and support the Christian minority.

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6 Responses to Chaldean Archbishop Kidnapped in Northern Iraq

  1. Brendon says:

    Let us pray for His Excellency and for an end to Christian persecution in Iraq.

  2. Kim D'Souza says:

    Isn’t Mosul the same city where Fr Ragheed Gani and his three subdeacons were murdered last summer? Around the time of Fr Gani’s martyrdom, I happened to meet Mosul’s Syrian Catholic Archbishop Basile Casmoussa, who was himself kidnapped in 2005 and freed a day later. Mgr Casmoussa urged prayers and also asked that we Christians in the West never forget about our persecuted brothers and sisters in Iraq.

    On that occasion, I also spoke with another Iraqi Catholic, who pointed out at the even though Shi’a and Sunni muslims frequently attack and kill each other, Christians never attack anybody. So, when we are praying for the the persecuted Christians of Iraq, let us also remember to pray that their testimony of love will convert many Muslims to Christ.

  3. I have inserted this petition into the Divine Liturgy since the takeover of Kosovo, the new Irag, and will certainly pray for His Grace the Archbishop and all the Christian flock in Irag and Kosovo.

    “Again we pray for all those who commit injustice against their neighbors, whether by causing sorrow to orphans or spilling innocent blood or by returning hatred for hatred, that God will grant them repentance, enlighten their minds and hearts and illumine their souls with the light of love even towards their enemies.

  4. Mark says:

    V. Pro afflictis et captivis.
    R. Libera eos, Deus Israel, ex omnibus tribulationibus suis.
    V. Mitte eis, Domine, auxilium de sancto.
    R. Et de Sion tuere eos.

  5. Fr. A says:

    Kim:

    Yes. I believe it was at the same church too.

  6. Melody says:

    Our pastor remembered this during Intercessions today.