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SPECIAL REPORT: Catholic Archbishop Kidnapped by Armed Extremists in Iraq
Catholic online ^ | 3/1/2008 | Deacon Keith Fournier

Posted on 03/01/2008 7:19:25 AM PST by tcg

The assault against Catholics in Iraq has continued, and sadly, is escalating....We call on President Bush and the current American administration to do everything within their power to secure the release of Archbishop Rahho.

(Excerpt) Read more at catholic.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: archbishop; catholics; catholicsiniraq; chaldean; hostages; iraq; iraqichristians; martyrs
Archbishop Faraj Rahho is deeply loved by the faithful.

He is known to be a holy man, whose devotion to the Lord and his beloved Chaldean Catholic faith is matched only by his dedication to the faithful who are suffering increasing persecution in Iraq.

Chaldean (also referred to as Assyrian) Catholics are the majority Christian representation in Iraq. Most estimate their numbers to be around 550,000 strong. They have also become the focus of a growing wave of anti-Christian violence in that war ravaged country, which is their homeland.

These deeply devout Eastern Catholic Christians are also living in the United Sates and elsewhere throughout the world. Their largest communities in America are in Detroit, Detroit, Michigan and El Cajon, California.

In fact, their numbers are growing and the vibrancy of their catholic faith is a model to many Catholics right when the Pew Foundation reports of the results of lukewarm Christianity in declining Church membership and vocations.

Just this month in California, Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo, announced at St. Peter Cathedral in California, that he intends to open a Diocesan Seminary to train the growing number of young men who are presenting themselves for discernment for a priestly vocation.

Perhaps the proudest day in the recent difficult history of Chaldean Catholics throughout the world was November 24, 2007. On that day, Patriarch, Mar Emmanuel III Delly, was made a Cardinal at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

The consistory installed 22 other Bishops from around the world as Cardinals. However, it marked the first time in history that a Chaldean Patriarch was elevated to that office. The action was one more in a series of signs since his elevation to the Chair of Peter, of Pope Benedicts’ particular pastoral solicitude and high regard for this part of the global Catholic Church.

Chaldean Catholics, including those in the United States, are the proud descendents of the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia, what is called Iraq today. They are Catholics who, like millions of other “Eastern” Catholic Christians, are in full communion with the Chair of Peter, the Papacy. However, they retain their beautiful Liturgical and cultural identity in the midst of the legitimate diversity, within the bounds of orthodoxy and orthopraxy which is Catholic Christianity.

While some Catholics in America are falling into serious theological error, as was evidenced by the recent need for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith to put a stop to the heretical practice of changing the ancient Baptismal formula, Chaldean Catholics cherish the faith ever ancient and ever new.

In fact, they are dying for it.

They also have a proud heritage which they keep alive. For example, they speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ. Their Liturgy maintains the practices and rubrics which connect them with that rich and proud heritage.

The Chaldean Catholic Church has been in union with Rome since the 16th century, when some of the bishops of the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East chose to come back into full communion with Rome by again acknowledging the primacy of the Pope among Bishops.

Now Cardinal Delly became the Chaldean Patriarch of the Baghdad, Iraq-based Chaldean Catholic Church when he was elected by a synod of Chaldean bishops who met in Rome in Rome in December 2003.

In spite of the escalating anti-Catholic violence in their Nation, the Cardinal chose to stay in Baghdad in order to care for the faithful. He told his brother Bishop Ibrahim, 'If I leave, I have to be the last to leave.'"

Many of Cardinal Delly's flock, which is estimated at million worldwide, have been fleeing Iraq, not only to escape the larger war but also growing intolerance among some Muslims in that war torn Nation.

Last year, Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria, who cares for the approximately 60,000 Iraqi Christian refugees in Syria, opined in a Nov. 28 interview that war in Iraq might cause the “end of Christianity in the country”.

He noted that hundreds of thousands of Christians have had to leave their homes in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. He went on to say that most were still afraid to return, telling the Catholic News service "They love their country, but at the same time it is impossible for them to go back to this situation."

The situation is dire....and increasingly deadly.

Last year, on the Feast of Pentecost, armed Muslims confronted Father Ragheed Ganni, a Chaldean Catholic priest, along with three of his sub-deacons, Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed.. The priest and his deacons had just left the Sunday celebration of Holy Mass at their Parish Church in Mosul, Iraq. That parish is dedicated to the Holy Spirit.

These Islamic extremists forcibly insisted that these three Chaldean Catholic Clergymen convert to Islam or face death. The brave priest and three clerics chose fidelity to Christ instead. So, the armed extremists became executioners, killing them all after leading the sub-deacon Bidawed’s wife away.

They then filled the vehicle the holy men were about to enter with explosives, placing them around their dead bodies.This was intended to either prevent the faithful from rescuing their bodies in order to honor their martyrdom, or to cause more carnage. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful.

Later that evening, the police in Mosul were able to defuse the explosives and collect the bodies.The funeral was a profoundly beautiful moment in the history of this proud part of the Catholic Church.

Chaldean Catholics in Iraq and in the Diaspora throughout the world immediately proclaimed, with the sense of the faithful, that Father Raghhed and his sub-deacons were holy martyrs. They were joined in this act by their brother and sister Catholics throughout the entire Catholic Church, which is present in every Nation.

Pope Benedict XVI prayed for these holy martyrs and has repeatedly praised them as an example of modern martyrdom. Father Ragheed is increasingly held up as a model for not only Chaldean Catholics, but for other Catholics who are suffering increasing hostility and persecution for fidelity to the ancient Christian faith.

“Asia News” recorded the last words of the holy priest- martyr "Without Sunday, without the Eucharist the Christians in Iraq cannot survive" and honored him with these words “

This report continued: “After having fed his faithful with the Body and Blood of Christ, he (Father Ragheed) gave his own blood, his own life for Iraq, for the future of his Church. This young priest had willingly, knowingly chosen to remain by the side of his parishioners from Holy Spirit parish in Mosul, judged the most dangerous city after Baghdad.

His reasoning was simple: without him, without its pastor, his flock would have been lost. In the barbarity of suicide attacks and bombings, one thing at least was clear, and gave him the strength to resist: "Christ”, Ragheed would say, “challenges evil with his infinite love, he keeps us united and through the Eucharist he gifts us life, which the terrorists are trying to take away".

The assault against Catholics in Iraq has continued, and sadly, is escalating. On Friday, February 29, 2008 armed extremists kidnapped the archbishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. They killed three of his assistants.

Archbishop Faraj Rahho, like Father Ragheed, was doing what all holy priests do, ministering to the faithful on behalf of the Lord. He had just concluded the “Way of the Cross” wherein the faithful are led in a commemoration of the last steps of Jesus Christ as he lovingly chose to give His life for the life of the world on the Mountain of Golgotha.

Once again, The Archbishop’s story, like Father Ragheed and countless others, makes the truth of the Christian claim real and palpable to a world which is losing a sense of the reality of God’s presence.

That is what saints do. There actions are fueled by living faith and will never be extinguished by the enemies of the Gospel.

It was the early Church Father and historian Tertullian who wrote these words at the dawn of the Christian faith : "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."

Pope Benedict XVI immediately deplored this recent kidnapping as a "despicable" crime and called all of the faithful throughout the world to engage in concentrated “fervent” prayer.

Witnesses report that Archbishop Rahho had just left the very same Church where Father Ragheed pastored, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul. His car was ambushed by armed men who sprayed it with bullets, killing two men who were travelling with him and the driver. The terrorists then kidnapped the Bishop at gunpoint.

The Bishop of Irbil, a neighboring City, Bishop Rabban al-Qas, told reporters that Archbishop Rahho is "in the hands of terrorists". Speaking to the Rome-based Catholic news service, AsiaNews he continued with these disturbing words: “... we don't know what physical condition [he is in]....It's a terrible time for our church - pray for us."

Latest reports from reliable sources indicate that the kidnappers have communicated demands, but that the specifics of those demands have not been revealed to the public.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, spoke to President George Bush last year concerning his deep concerns for the Christian faithful in Iraq in the continuing insurgency.

He told the President "...Particularly in Iraq, Christian families and communities are feeling increasing pressure from insecurity, aggression and a sense of abandonment".

We call on President Bush and the current American administration to do everything within their power to secure the release of Archbishop Rahho, so that we do not have to mourn one more Christian martyr in what is becoming a new missionary age.

We pledge our prayer and solidarity with our Chaldean Catholic brothers and sisters in Iraq, in America and throughout the world.

We ask all of the candidates currently running for the Presidency to specifically speak out in an effort to secure the freedom of the Archbishop and to then address the growing violence against Catholic Christians in Iraq.

And, finally, we commit ourselves to reporting on this story and all of the other stories which show an aspect of the difficult situation in Iraq which is not being covered by the American Press.

Archbishop Faraj Rahho

Born on: November 20, 1942 Place of Birth: Mosul, Iraq Ordained Priest: June 10, 1965 Ordained Bishop: February 16, 2001 Status: Working in the Chaldean Diocese in Mosul Address: Mosul, Iraq

1 posted on 03/01/2008 7:19:27 AM PST by tcg
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To: Allegra

ping


2 posted on 03/01/2008 7:21:06 AM PST by pax_et_bonum (That midget hates it when I do that.)
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To: tcg

Prayers going up!


3 posted on 03/01/2008 7:23:17 AM PST by GenXFreedomFighter
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To: tcg
If a Muslim cleric had been kidnapped in the US - the leftie pretend clergy would be stampeding over themselves to get to a microphone to decry such “hate and intolerance.”

Any outcry from CAIR on this?

Heck, anything from the US Episcopals on this?

4 posted on 03/01/2008 7:25:57 AM PST by Fido969 ("The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax." - Albert Einstein)
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To: tcg; narses

Prayers up for Archbishop Rahho.


5 posted on 03/01/2008 7:30:45 AM PST by gpapa (Kill the terrorists, protect the borders, punch the hippies)
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To: tcg

prayers up


6 posted on 03/01/2008 7:31:24 AM PST by proudmilitarymrs (It's not immigration, it's an invasion!)
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To: tcg

Prayers that he will be freed sound and safe.


7 posted on 03/01/2008 7:32:49 AM PST by SolidWood (All conservative effort into retaking Congress!)
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To: narses; NYer; Coleus; Salvation

Catholic Bump!
Prayer Bump!


8 posted on 03/01/2008 7:49:41 AM PST by sockmonkey
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To: SolidWood

...& will all the muslim religious leaders protest this outrage????????


9 posted on 03/01/2008 8:02:02 AM PST by FES0844 (FES0844)
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To: tcg; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; V V Camp Enari 67-68; ..
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

10 posted on 03/01/2008 11:24:09 AM PST by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: tcg

Such has been the fate of many in our faith throughout the centuries. May God help him and all who suffer under the brutality of ISLAM.


11 posted on 03/01/2008 11:32:32 AM PST by rbosque ("An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." - Sir Winston Churchill)
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To: tcg; nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...
Catholic News Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic News Ping List.

Prayers for this archbishop!

12 posted on 03/01/2008 1:11:20 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: tcg

“The assault against Catholics in Iraq has continued, and sadly, is escalating.”

Its the Eastern bookend of the Bush legacy, Kosovo and the smoking ruins of Orthodox Churches and monasteries being the western one. In both instances and everywhere in between, we could have done something, in neither did we. You see, that might have identified the United States with Christianity and that is absolutely the last thing a man like Bush, who has spent his presidency groveling before the Saudis, would want. Supporting Latins and Orthodox and other sorts of Eastern Christians probably wouldn’t go over too well with the bring your own snake crowd in “the base” either.


13 posted on 03/01/2008 1:23:49 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
You see, that might have identified the United States with Christianity and that is absolutely the last thing a man like Bush, who has spent his presidency groveling before the Saudis, would want...

That is absolutely what it is, but I'm not even sure it's because he's groveling to the Saudis. I think he has this insane desire to be more PC than the most PC and prove that the US doesn't particularly support Christians, even though (or because) Bush is one. It's a demented approach that has strenghthened Islam enormously all over the world and makes me think that it will probably take over here within the next 20 years. Bush essentially threw open the doors and invited it in, all to prove how "fair" he was.

14 posted on 03/01/2008 1:31:13 PM PST by livius
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To: livius

“...prove that the US doesn’t particularly support Christians, even though (or because) Bush is one.”

I used to think so. I don’t anymore. He’s either an atheist whose only god is global capital or he’s apostasized to Mohammedanism.


15 posted on 03/01/2008 1:34:32 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis

I think he’s probably become a liberal Protestant, basically; they’re non-Trinitarian and very little different from deists deep down inside (I don’t even think they’re theists, really).

Of course, since Islam is also a syncretist cult that is a mixture of OT ritual law, paganism, and non-Trinitarian Arian Christianity (Jesus is essentially just a prophet), it’s very easy for people like Bush and all liberal Protestants to be sympathetic to it and even perhaps accept it ultimately.


16 posted on 03/01/2008 2:45:43 PM PST by livius
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To: Salvation

Prayers.


17 posted on 03/01/2008 3:01:00 PM PST by Twink
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To: livius

“Of course, since Islam is also a syncretist cult that is a mixture of OT ritual law, paganism, and non-Trinitarian Arian Christianity (Jesus is essentially just a prophet), it’s very easy for people like Bush and all liberal Protestants to be sympathetic to it and even perhaps accept it ultimately.”

I should think it would have a particular affinity for unrestrained globalist capitalism too. After all, everything and everyman has its/his price and the only thing with value is more money in this New World Order the political elites have given us. When the Mohammedans do come in force, the apostasy on the one hand and the slaughter of those who don’t know what to do on the other will be extraordinary.


18 posted on 03/01/2008 3:03:19 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: tcg

Many Rosaries being offered for the Archbishop’s safe return. May God hold him safe in the palm of his hand.


19 posted on 03/01/2008 3:07:57 PM PST by Malacoda (A day without a pi$$ed-off muslim is like a day without sunshine.)
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: tcg

Prayers for the safe return of this holy man. It looks like ‘Ransom the Captive’ was removed too soon from the Corporal Works of Mercy. (it was replaced by ‘Visit the Imprisoned.’)


21 posted on 03/01/2008 3:17:21 PM PST by informavoracious (Proud Obamaphobe)
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To: tcg
I pray that Jesus will help and bless Archbishop Rahho. I pray that he will be released now.
22 posted on 03/01/2008 3:47:24 PM PST by GinaLolaB (=^..^=)
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To: tcg

Prayer bump


23 posted on 03/01/2008 6:51:16 PM PST by Tribune7 (How is inflicting pain and death on an innocent, helpless human being for profit, moral?)
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To: tcg

Prayer bump


24 posted on 03/01/2008 6:51:22 PM PST by Tribune7 (How is inflicting pain and death on an innocent, helpless human being for profit, moral?)
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To: tcg
He's a dead man.

Lord, give him the strength to accept martyrdom.

25 posted on 03/01/2008 6:58:20 PM PST by Jim Noble (I've got a home in Glory Land that outshines the sun)
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To: tcg

Prayers for the good Archbishop.


26 posted on 03/01/2008 7:01:49 PM PST by syriacus (Democrats who prefer to fight wars from a position of weakness can't be trusted with our military.)
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To: Salvation

Prayers said.


27 posted on 03/01/2008 7:23:29 PM PST by Sun (Duncan Hunter endorsed Mike Huckabee, cuz Mike understands the Red China threat!)
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To: livius; Kolokotronis

With the Kosovo debacle, the agression against Russia at time when re-Christianization and stabilization moves steadily forward there, and the submission to the Saudis and Turkey’s agression, it looks like the hope of the West has moved Eastward. But the US will try and surround Russia with enemies: neo-con puppets, Islamic crazies, missile bases, etc.

Who would have thought, the communist ex-KGB agent is more Christian than our own reborn -“Jesus is my political philosopher” - president.

Masonic infuence.


28 posted on 03/01/2008 7:32:56 PM PST by eleni121 (+ En Touto Nika! By this sign conquer! + Constantine the Great)
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To: humblegunner
Have they stopped shagging kids.. that's all I wanna know.

You might ask the same question of Protestant ministers, since the percentages are similar to those of Catholic priests abusing kids, though you'd never know it from listening to the media. Where there are humans, there is the potential for evil, because God gave each of us free will.

29 posted on 03/01/2008 8:44:28 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: SuziQ

Could we PLEASE leave the dirty talk out of a thread devoted to prayers for a holy man?

Personally I am more convinced every day that these are the end times. I will light a candle today.


30 posted on 03/02/2008 4:40:14 AM PST by Appleby
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To: tcg

Thanks for the post. Prayers are offered for the Bishop and his companions.

I can’t find any additional news on this story from any news outlet. It seems that it doesn’t even exist.


31 posted on 03/02/2008 4:50:44 AM PST by incredulous joe (Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio.)
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To: tcg

Prayers for this fine man
Islam is the sneakiest most “religion” on the planet.
If he is killed then 100 mosques should be leveled


32 posted on 03/02/2008 4:54:33 AM PST by dennisw (Never bet on a false prophet! <<<||>>> Never bet on Islam!)
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To: eleni121
Who would have thought, the communist ex-KGB agent is more Christian than our own reborn -“Jesus is my political philosopher” - president.

Putin? He isn't more Christian. Everyday he is scheming with the Muslims in Iran

33 posted on 03/02/2008 4:56:54 AM PST by dennisw (Never bet on a false prophet! <<<||>>> Never bet on Islam!)
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To: dennisw

Everyday he is scheming with the Muslims in Iran


Not at all. Russians have fought many wars with Persia over hundreds of years.

Things are clearly visible for those who see. We maintain and support the main terrorists in the world: the Saudis/Turks/Albanians/etc. OTOH Russians beat back Chechnyan terrorists...and elevate Christianity to the stste level.


34 posted on 03/02/2008 10:13:21 AM PST by eleni121 (+ En Touto Nika! By this sign conquer! + Constantine the Great)
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To: tcg

Prayers sent.


35 posted on 03/03/2008 7:38:37 AM PST by Bigg Red (Position Wanted: Experienced Republican voter looking for a party that is actually conservative.)
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To: tcg

There will be much worse with regards to militant Islam and Bishops of the Church, especially towards Peter.

Also, a forecaster predicted a Catholic bishop would be kidnapped by terrorists this very month.


36 posted on 03/03/2008 8:13:21 PM PST by rjp2005 (Lord have mercy on us)
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To: tcg

Day 4 ~ Haven’t seen a word of this in print or in any media other than the original source.

Continued prayers for Bishop Rahlo!


37 posted on 03/03/2008 11:21:43 PM PST by incredulous joe (Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio.)
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To: tcg
Vultus Christi

March 13, 2008

"They Have Killed Our Shepherd"

rahho_6.jpg

At the end of Holy Mass today at the Monastery of the Glorious, we sang the antiphons In Paradisum and Chorus Angelorum for the repose of the soul of His Grace, Archbishop Paulos Fraj Rahho.

Adapted from the official Chaldean Community Website:

Mosul, IRAQ – The Chaldean community around the world stands numb and in disbelief at news of the death of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul.

Outcry from world leaders held no sway as fanatical terrorists proved once more that women, children, medical providers, and now spiritual leaders are not safe from their killing spree. “These are innocent people that want to help bring peace. They kill them, because they are filled with hate. These barbarians have no faith in anything, but their own rise to power,” said Omar Touma, a recent refugee and Chaldean parishioner of the Good Shepherd Chaldean Church in Canada.

Mournful cries and prayers spread quickly as e-mail and phone messaging communicated the sorrowful news. "Our Bishop is dead," said one message, accompanied by images of weeping families huddled together, comforting one another.

Church official say that the kidnappers had been demanding a heavy ransom. When requests were made to speak to the Archbishop, the kidnappers replied that the Archbishop was dead and gave instructions on how the Archbishop's body could be recovered.

The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul had been dead for at least five days before his body was found this morning by members of the Church, following information provided by the kidnappers themselves. This timeline was provided by the autopsy conducted on the body of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. The Archbishop's body was found in an abandoned area outside of the city, which is in part used as a trash dump.

Archbishop Rahho was seized outside the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Mosul after conducting a Stations of the Cross service on Friday, February 29th. Three parishioners were killed by the gunmen who abducted the archbishop.

In the days after the kidnapping, Church leaders pleaded in vain for some clear evidence that Archbishop Rahho was alive and well. The Archbishop, who was 69, suffered from a serious heart condition and needed daily medication.

The identity of the kidnappers remains unknown. Although Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki had ordered an all-out effort to locate the archbishop and secure his release, troops were unsuccessful in their search around Mosul, a city dominated by insurgents and terrorists.

While the kidnappers did ask for a large money ransom, they were evidently not motivated solely by the desire for financial gain. Church spokesmen said that their demands included political conditions: an indication that the Archbishop's abduction was arranged by a terrorist group rather than simply a criminal gang.

Mosul is the most dangerous city for the Christian community, the presence of which has dropped by over 75% since 2003. Christians remain the soft target for insurgents, terrorists, and criminal gangs looking to raise money and fund their ongoing operations.

After the Iraqi government and coalition forces systematically began turning off funding sources for these militant and criminal groups, their focus turned towards Christians. Iraqi Christians tend to be educated professionals and considered wealthy. A pro-Islamic police force pursue crimes against Christians less aggressively since the victims have a dhimmi status under Islamic law.

The attacks have created a brain-drain in Iraq as Christian professionals flee the country in large numbers. Professors, doctors, scientists, and engineers have fled into neighboring regions or across the ocean seeking a haven of safety.

After Father Ragheed Ganni was murdered on 3 June 2007, intelligence revealed that the terrorists were politically motivated to drive Christians out of Iraq. The latest wave of violence against the Church occurred on 6-17 January 2008, when a series of explosions struck the Chaldean Church of Mary Immaculate, the Chaldean Church of St Paul, which was almost destroyed, the entryway to the orphanage run by the Chaldean Sisters in al Nour, a Nestorian church, and the convent of the Dominican sisters of Mosul Jadida.

“Our faith is in Jesus who died for the sins of humanity. He will find favour in our Chaldean Martyr who offered nothing but peace, hope, and love,” says Chaldean Catholic Omar Touma. “May Archbishop Raho rest in the arms of Our Lord and may God show mercy on those who continue to hate. They will not scatter the Chaldean flock because they have killed our shepherd. Our faith will now grow even stronger.”


38 posted on 03/13/2008 7:29:55 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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