Christians in northern Iraq are slowly rebuilding their communities ruined during the ISIS occupation. Mosul was liberated in 2017, three years after ISIS took control of the Christian region.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) began the rehabilitation and restoration of churches and church-owned properties in support of local Christian groups, reports Catholic news website, Aleteia. ACN has spent $26M in support of displaced Christians in Iraq, including food and the repair of more than 2,000 houses.
For us, [the Great Al-Tahira] Church is a symbol. For this reason, we want this symbol to remain as a Christian symbol to encourage the people, especially the locals of Baghdeda, to stay here. —Syriac Catholic Archbishop Petros Much of Mosul
One of the biggest projects the charity has embarked on was the restoration of the Great Al-Tahira Church, the largest church in Iraq located in Qaraqosh (Baghdeda), the largest Christian town in the Nineveh Plains. ISIS militants desecrated the church before burning it.
Syriac Catholic Archbishop Petros Much of Mosul said the church was built by the villagers in 1932. “For us, [the Great Al-Tahira] Church is a symbol. For this reason, we want this symbol to remain as a Christian symbol to encourage the people, especially the locals of Baghdeda, to stay here.”
Despite the church’s destruction, Christians still flock to the Great Al-Tahira Church to worship and create some sort of normalcy in their lives. Since ISIS’ invasion in 2014, 120,000 Christians fled the Nineveh Plains, and experts said more than 45,000 of them have returned.
Meantime, a Bible translation charity revealed that there is an increase in demand for Bibles in the Middle East.
Wycliffe Associates said many were requesting that they set up covert Bible printing stations in Christian communities in the Middle East. The charity’s Print on Demand Systems (PODs) could print Bibles discretely, protecting underground Christians from being detected, reports Premier.
“Mother-tongue translators must be able to print the Scriptures themselves, in the heart language of the people they’re reaching,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “Our Print On Demand equipment gives national Bible translators the ability to print Bibles each day-and do it quietly.”
Smith added that, “Day after day, more and more people ask for Bibles. The teams run the printing equipment nonstop, producing as many Bibles as the printers can handle.”