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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Islamic State Destroys Oldest Christian Monastery in Iraq

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Jan 20
  • Comments

The Islamic State has destroyed St. Elijah’s Monastery of Mosul, the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq.


The monastery stood as a testament to Christianity in the region for 1,400 years, according to the Huffpost Religion.


Satellite photos of the monastery obtained by The Associated Press reveal that the monastery was probably destroyed between August 27 and September 28, 2014. 


Many recalled memories of worshipping in the ancient monastery and mourned its destruction.


"I can't describe my sadness," said the Rev. Paul Thabit Habib who is in exile in Irbil, Iraq. "Our Christian history in Mosul is being barbarically leveled. We see it as an attempt to expel us from Iraq, eliminating and finishing our existence in this land."


“A big part of tangible history has been destroyed," said Rev. Manuel Yousif Boji, a Chaldean Catholic pastor in Southfield, Michigan who remembers attending Mass at St. Elijah’s nearly 60 years ago while in seminary in Mosul.


"These persecutions have happened to our church more than once, but we believe in the power of truth, the power of God," Boji added.


News of the Islamic State’s destruction of the St. Elijah Monastery follows news of their continued violence and destruction in the region.


It is reported that, following the U.S. invasion in 2003, Iraq’s Christian population has dropped drastically from 1.3 million to only 300,000 thousand. 


Many have also warned that Christianity is in danger of going extinct in the region and have called for intervention from the West.



Publication date: January 20, 2016