Assyrian Christian leader calls for prayer and fasting in solidarity with persecuted Christians

The head of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Patriarch Khaninia Dinkha IV, has called for a three day fast in solidarity with the suffering of Assyrian Christians of Iraq and Syria, who have become refugees in their own land. Approximately, 200,000 Assyrians have fled their homes because of demands by the Islamic State to either convert to Islam or face death. Refugees are now living on church grounds, refugee camps, as well as abandoned buildings and under the open sky in places such as Ankawa, ISIS and are now living in church courtyards, refugees camps, abandoned and unfinished buildings, open fields and sidewalks -- in Ankawa, Dohuk and elsewhere. Patrirach Khaniniia called for a special observance of the Rogation of the Ninevites.
 
It was because of very poor health that the Patriarch was not able to join five other Patriarchs from the Mideast when they visited Arbel on August 20 to show supported for the beleaguered people of northern Iraq. They used the occasion to call attention to the cultural genocide that is being committed against Assyrianst by the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS).
 
The Patriarch's statement reads:
 
To all the people of our sacred church and our Assyrian nation: Please accept our prayers and blessings.
 
As you always hear us say, "We do not have the power and we have no helper only God the Father, who every time we call on him and ask him in our prayers, he responds to us with His mercy and intercession and saves us from all difficulties and tragedies.
 
Today, as you can see and hear about the Middle East, all the people in that region have fallen under abnormal conditions, including our Assyrian people in Iraq and Syria.
 
Here we ask all of you, just as your fathers did in Nineveh, to fast the Baautha (Rogation of the Ninevites), starting next Monday, September 01, 2014, for a period of three days, and in the evening of the last day of the Baautha, corresponding to Wednesday, all the priests in all our churches will perform sanctification of Eucharist to God the Father. We ask you all to attend this Mass to pray to God the Father, and to bless and send his paternal mercy, and bestow peace and security in the whole region, so all the people can live together in love and peace.
 
The grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all forever and ever.
 
Khaninia Dinkha IV 
With Grace, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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