Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Please stand in Solidarity with Christians in Iraq

The other day I received this e-message from Aid to the Church in Need, and I am sharing it with readers.

URGENT PLEA FOR PRAYER – as more Christians in the Middle East face exodus and exile, join with Iraqi Christians outside the Houses of Parliament this Saturday (26 July), at 12 midday.

We at ACN appeal for your prayers and solidarity, particularly for our brothers and sisters in Mosul, Iraq. The Islamic State (formerly ISIS), which seized the city of Mosul, ordered Christians to convert to Islam or pay the 'jizya' Islamic tax. They were told failure to comply would mean "death by the sword". 

More than 1,500 people have fled in the last few days – having left almost all their possessions behind. For the first time in 1,600 years, there have been no Masses or Liturgies in Mosul, and reports have come in that an 1,800-year-old Syriac Catholic Church was desecrated and burnt to the ground. Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need UK, said "This is an exodus in anguish as Christians flee terror into exile from their ancient homelands – where for centuries they have built understanding and trust between different communities. Just as in Biblical times, we cry with them 'by the waters of Babylon' in tears and prayer."

Please join us in front of the Houses of Parliament this Saturday (26 July) at 12 noon and take part in a demonstration with Iraqi Christian communities, in support of those suffering so much at this time. Neville writes: "If you cannot join us in person then please join us in prayer at 12 midday by saying the Angelus or the Rosary for all those who are suffering in the Middle East."

In a message to all people of goodwill, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, Iraq’s most senior Catholic leader, said: "It is truly unjust to treat Christians by rejecting them and throwing them away, considering them as nothing."
As a Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, Aid to the Church in Need invites you to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. ACN is already offering emergency support – food, shelter and medicine – to Christians in Nineveh who fled Mosul in the days that followed the capture of the city and stands ready to do more. We are in regular contact with both Patriarch Sako and Archbishop Amel Nona of Mosul. 

People led out of the city

Archbishop leads Christian Iraqis

"It is truly unjust to treat Christians by rejecting them and throwing them away, considering them as nothing. Another war would mean the end, especially for us Christians"

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako

For more information go to

In addition here is a link to a post from Rorate Caeli about the situation Chaldean Patriarch to Christians of Mosul: "We your shepherds will stay with you to the end." "Our suffering will be salvation to us and others."

The FSSP have announced a day of intercession for Iraqi Christians on August 1st as can be seen in this post from NLM Urgent Appeal -- August 1st Day of Prayer, Adoration, and Solidarity for Persecuted Christians

This is an important issue which should command our attention and prayer. It is not commanding that much attention from the political leaders or the media of the West, as has been pointed out by Le Figaro in France as can be seen at  MAJOR NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL BREAKS MEDIA SILENCE: Why the Global Conspiracy of Silence on Persecution of Christians in Iraq?

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