IRAQ: Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Mosul opens new headquarter

MOSUL, Iraq — With the contribution of many humanitarian organizations and from several countries, the headquarters of the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Mosul was opened near Mor Boulus Church after being rehabilitated following acts of vandalism by the Islamic State (ISIS).

Mor Boulus Church was the first church to hold Mass after the liberation of the city, and the diocese nearby is also the first diocese to open in Mosul after its liberation from ISIS.

The Chaldean Diocese of Mosul is headquartered in the Shifa area, which was destroyed in 2004. The diocese headquarters were then moved to the police district. After it too was subjected to attack and vandalism, the diocese was relocated again to the town of Karamlesh, Nineveh Plains.

In the lobby of the new headquarters sits a monument to the mausoleum of Bishop Mor Boulus Faraj Rahho who was martyred in Mosul in 2008 after being kidnapped by gunmen. The street leading to the church was renamed in his honor.

Bishop Najib Mikhail, Head of Chaldean Catholics in Mosul and Patriarchal Deputy of the Chaldean Diocese of Duhok, explained that the return of the diocese to Mosul will contribute to the provision of services to parishioners. He urged them to return to the city and to build bridges of love and coexistence with people of other faiths there. The doors of Mosul are open to all its sons and daughters, he said.

Bishop Mikhail is the first Syriac bishop to return to Mosul seven years after Christians fled the city.