Help us give a church back to the Christians of Mosul
Underneath the ruins of West Mossoul is the church of Al Tahira, of great patrimonial significance but above all, a symbol for the Syrian catholic community. At Bishop Petros Mouche’s request, Fraternity in Iraq is about to renovate this church. We need you! Here is some insight into the project.
When His Grace Petros Mouche, Syrian catholic bishop of Mosul and Qaraqosh, was finally able to go to West Mossoul and estimate the damage in the neighbourhood of the bishop’s house’s, what he saw was far beyond what he had feared. This part of the city, last shelter of ISIS’s jihadists, is now just a large, devastated battleground, and the buildings owned by the Syrian catholic community were not spared by the violent battles. “I was astonished, I couldn’t believe my eyes, His Grace Petros Mouche said. It has obviously been a shock and a great disappointment. I thought we would find the buildings in a better state, which would have given us the courage to come back home and start rebuilding our churches.”
The bishop’s house and the “new” cathedral of Al Tahira (Immaculate Conception) look irremediably destroyed. The “old” cathedral of Al Tahira, whose origins date back between the 7th and 8th centuries, located in the same small block, is also very damaged. Somehow, parts of its structure of patrimonial significance have been preserved, as it was built partly underground – which is also proof of its great age.
The « new » church, destoyed
This is why, for His Grace Petros Mouche, “we have to do our best to restore the old church, which is the masterpiece, because it will remind us of the presence of Christians in this city that has been Christian from the very beginning of Christianity.”
At His Grace’s request, Fraternity in Iraq has decided to rebuild the old church of Al Tahira. Faraj Benoit Camurat, General Manager of Fraternity in Iraq, explains: “Through this project, we want to preserve the traces of a very ancient Christianism in the city of Mosul. We also want, as his Grace Petros Mouche’s wishes, to give courage and pride to the Syrian catholic community of Mosul because we know it’s a condition for them to come back and relive there.”
Guillaume, Fraternity in Iraq’s architect, who is leading the reconstruction of Mar Behnam’s sanctuary, adds: “If no one does it, [the church] will probably end up in the rubble of the general clearance of the city, and it would be an invaluable loss. It would also be a strong sign for the other Moslawi communities, especially the Muslims: after the follies of the Islamic State, a good part of them would see in such a presence a pre-requisite for things to back to normal.”
Today, we are calling upon your generosity to make this reconstruction possible. That reconstruction project takes place in a complex environment and context, and will require hundreds of thousands of euros. The association trusts in its ability to take up the challenge, thanks to its experience with the rebuilding of Mar Behnam’s mausoleum, which had been blasted by Isis.
Any help is welcome. We hope to get numerous donations, but beyond generosity you would help us a lot by spreading the word!
Together, let’s give a church back to the Christians of Mossul!