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Prayers held marking first anniversary of

  arrival of Iraqi refugees in Jordan  




One year after their forced displacement, the Christians of Iraq residing in various parts of Jordan converged to reminisce about their exodus from their townships, as they left behind everything except their faith, while maintaining in their hearts the joy of the Lord Jesus.

Caritas Jordan organised an ecumenical prayer, held at the Latin Church in Fuheis on Saturday, August 8, with the participation of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon Louis Raphael I Sako, Secretary General of the Italian Bishops’ Conference Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, a large number of bishops and representatives of various churches, diplomatic and public figures, as well as parishioners from various parts of the Kingdom.

Patriarch Sako started the event with liturgical prayers which was followed by Archbishop Nunzio Galantino's reading out Pope Francis' message that had been sent earlier to Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Archbishop Maroun Lahham marking the first anniversary of the arrival of the displaced Iraqi Christians in Jordan. Then Patriarch Twal welcomed the participants in the event.

Following readings from the Holy Bible, Patriarch Sako made an address in which he thanked the Jordanian King, government, people and Church for hosting thousands of displaced Iraqis and for providing them with the necessary aid. He also thanked the humanitarian and Church-affiliated organisations, including Caritas, urging them to continue to provide moral and financial assistance.

Then, Patriarch Sako reviewed the current situation in Iraq and the condition of the Church and the Christian Iraqis since the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) organisation overran Mosul and its environs whereby it was stripped for the first time of its indigenous residents. Patriarch Sako also mentioned plans that help combat terrorism in order to end the suffering of the Christians of Iraq and eliminate the threats jeopardising their existence.

At the end of the prayers, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of the Holy Land Grigorios Malki addressed the Iraqi faithful thanking them for their Christian testimony during the past period, and drew attention to the suffering inflicted on Christians throughout history. He asserted that through their adherence to their faith, Christians managed to surmount their ordeals all the time.
From his part, Archbishop Galantino stressed the Church's support for the displaced Christian Iraqis by all means, noting that the Vatican Nunciature in Amman, through the Italian Bishops’ Conference and Caritas, will provide free education for the children of all the displaced for the next scholastic year and this support will be implemented in cooperation with the Catholic Church and Caritas Jordan. This matter was further elaborated by Director General of Caritas Jordan Wael Suleiman.

The event concluded with an address made by the Iraqi ambassador in Amman in which he reviewed the efforts exerted by the Iraqi government to tackle the prevailing situation in the country. In the meantime, A Christian Iraqi family presented a rosary as a gift to Pope Francis which was handed to Archbishop Galantino.



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