NINEVEH PLAINS, Iraq — The Syriac Orthodox Church and the Syriac Catholic Church in Iraq celebrated the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on Thursday.
Across Beth Nahrain (Mesopotamia), churches reverberated with jubilant celebrations, commemorating the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a tradition going back to 326 AD when the Romans discovered pieces of the Cross in Jerusalem.
The Syriac Orthodox celebrations were held at the Umm al-Nour Church in Ankawa and led by Bishop Mor Nicodemus David Matta Sharaf, who presides over the Syriac Orthodox Diocese of Mosul, Kerkeslokh (Kirkuk), and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).
A choir, accompanied by devoted church deacons and priests, played a pivotal role in setting the joyous atmosphere for the attending Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian public. The highlight of the event was the ceremonial lighting of the Holy Cross’s flame, a cherished tradition that signifies the enduring spirit of faith.
Meanwhile, in the Mar Joseph Church in Baghdad, the Syriac Catholic Patriarch Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan presided over festivities.
During an address to the gathered crowd, Patriarch Younan emphasized the profound significance of this celebration. He also expressed his immense joy at witnessing a considerable number of deacons dutifully serving the Church, reaffirming the enduring bonds of faith and unity within the Christian Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian community.