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Patriarch, in Washington, denounces ‘mass cleansing’ of Mosul’s Christians

Catholic World News - July 30, 2014

Following the expulsion of Christians from Mosul, Iraq’s 2nd-largest city, the head of the Syrian Catholic Church traveled to Washington to seek support for Iraq’s beleaguered Christians.

“It is a shame that in the 21st century, you have such kind of behavior,” said Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, according to a Catholic News Service report. “It’s mass cleansing based on religion, not only for Christians, the Christian minority, but for other minorities.”

“It’s tragic because it’s the largest Christian city in Iraq; it was what you call the nucleus of Christian presence for many centuries,” he added. “And we have at least 25 churches in that city. All are abandoned. No more prayers, no services, no more Masses on Sundays in Mosul because no clergy, no people there that are Christian.”

The patriarch said that the number of Christians in Iraq has fallen from 1.4 million at the beginning of the Iraq War (2003) to under 300,000 today.

The Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, has eparchies (dioceses) in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and the United States.

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