Urgent Iraq Update – a newsletter from ACN

“There is still hope for the Christians in Iraq, but only if we act now”

Refugees gathering at Erbil's Syriac-Catholic Mrtshmony Shrine.

Refugees gathering at Erbil’s Syriac-Catholic Mrtshmony Shrine.

My dear friend

Thank you for all your prayers – for all you are doing for our brothers and sisters in the midst of their terrible plight and suffering. We are simply a channel for your love and for the compassion of all our friends in Christ.

We are receiving constant updates from Iraq – and a small team from Aid to the Church in Need has been in northern Iraq, at the invitation of the Patriarch of Babylon.

Please view the short video filmed by my colleague, Maria, a few days ago in northern Iraq. You will find an important message from the Chaldean Patriarch, Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako, who added: “There is still hope for the Christians in Iraq, but only if we act now.”

Thank you for showing solidarity with the region’s suffering Christians and all the refugees, many of whom are surviving in primitive conditions. There are now more than 100,000 displaced Christians – thousands taking refuge in Ankawa, the Christian quarter of Erbil, and the villages north of Dohuk and Zakho.

Returning from Iraq, the International President of Aid to the Church in Need, Baron Johannes Heereman, made a plea calling on the world’s governments to act immediately to keep Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq: “If we do not want to be silent witnesses to the last chapter of the history of Christendom in Iraq, the international community must respond decisively now. This cannot remain simply the concern of the Church in Iraq. The destruction is now reaching the scale of a disaster of civilisation. One can certainly speak of an impending genocide. The situation is dramatic. We met bishops, priests, nuns and volunteers who are working day and night to provide elementary aid. Temperatures are around 44 degrees [Celsius]. The people need a roof over their heads and medical care. There is still much to be done.” (See here for full story.)

ACN has provided more than a quarter of a million US dollars (£160,000) for the Church’s emergency aid in the country.

When I met Iraqi refugees who had fled from Mosul to Lebanon, just a few weeks ago, I learnt of their terror and fear for family and friends left behind. Yet, the Sisters caring for the refugees emphasised that your prayers and abundant kindness are appreciated more than you will ever know – and you too are remembered in their prayers and at Mass.

St Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12:12 & 26: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body…” and “If one member suffers, all suffer together…”

This is the reality of our common humanity and of our faith – and we cannot cut ourselves off from the needs of others. For as St Paul says in his next most famous of chapters – 1 Corinthians 13: “Love bears all things…hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

And your love reaches out across the world to those who are persecuted, oppressed and suffering at this time. Thank you.

May God bless you and sustain you in faith, hope and charity –

Neville Kyrke-Smith

National Director, Aid to the Church in Need UK

“We do not want to be silent witnesses to the last chapter of the history of Christendom in Iraq… “

International President of Aid to the Church in Need

For more information go to

Pray our ‘Prayer for Peace in Iraq’ prayer with us

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