Due to the false videos, false rumors of destroyed churches, false rumors of invasion that cause great fear among an already frightened people, the Archbishop of Mosul (Syriac Catholic Church), published the following open letter.
Open Letter of His Excellency Youhanna Boutros (John Peter) Moshe,
Syriac Catholic Archeparch of Mosul and Qaraqosh
To All Priests, to all Monks and Nuns, to all Deacons, and to all those who have faith in Jesus Christ:
May the peace and love of God come upon you, your homes, and your families, and upon all those who have come to protect you, and upon all those who have come to you for protection!
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
The Gospel according to Saint John, 16:33
With these words, Jesus strengthened the determination of his Apostles, who asked for the perseverance that would confirm the victory of good, and the defeat of evil.
The line of lies is a short one. And evil -- regardless of its gaining strength, regardless of the fact that it lasts for a long time -- does not prevail. Our appeal to you, dearly beloved, is so that your determination will not be weakened, and that you will not be frightened by the false propaganda and the rumors that have no other goals than to take away your dignity and make you abandon your homes and churches.
Therefore, be patient and persevere, because one who is patient wins in the end. And know that the responsibility of those who spread the rumor about the crime is not smaller than the responsibility of those who commit the crime themselves.
No one can stop those who wish to emigrate, because emigration has its own causes, and one who considers emigration evaluates one's own situation and takes one's own decisions. But why leave a country that is ours, and whose land we have inherited from our own fathers? We have not taken it by force or by invasion, and an inheritance is [something] precious and respected, even it is small.
Have some faith, first in God, then in our Mother the Virgin Mary, who with her kindness protects our villages that have not fallen in the hands of the enemy, and will not fall, by the grace of God. So much so that there are people who are convinced that their fate is linked to our own, who have allowed the coming together of our fates, and who have come exclusively to protect us, who have sacrificed their blood and their rest to protect us. We should be taking up arms and standing at their side to repel the enemy and keep evil away from us, rather than thinking about fleeing and losing. In this event, we could not be proud and have trust in ourselves.
And we are the children of forefathers who were not afraid of death, and who were not terrorized by persecution, because they wanted to preserve their religions and their values, both social and moral, and to protect their sacred places, and their monasteries, and their churches.
Well then, be not afraid, and preserve your heritage and your land. Stand strong in your faith as you are in love and in hope, and bring to each one the faith to face the challenges, filled with courage against the obstacles on the path of your life.
May God, the keeper of peace and security, be with you. "For whoever is not against us is for us" (Mk 9:40), Jesus Christ said; and, "if God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rm 8:31), as the Apostle Paul confirms. [Source: French version]
Rorate note: We have read with great sorrow words even by people who, with the best of hearts, have defended the Christians of Iraq saying that Christians, "will not return to Mosul and the nearby monasteries," or words to that effect. This is also even more reflected on the ground, as false rumors transmitted by social media terrify the Christians of the region. While the offer of the French government of granting asylum to persecuted Christians was immensely generous, and must be highly praised, it is not the best of solutions -- the best solution is for the Christians in the nearby Nineveh Plains to live in peace, and those who had to leave Mosul to return, hopefully sooner rather than later. It is their land, they are the descendants of thousands of years of Assyrians and Chaldeans, they have the utmost right to stay, if they want to stay. We do believe that this will happen, and the spirit present in the beautiful letter above assures us that this will happen. With God's help, the powerful intercessions of the Mother of God, and Christian perseverance, they will return.
Remember in particular that tomorrow, August 1st, is the worldwide Day of Prayer and Adoration for the Christians of Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East. Even if you cannot be in an act inside a church, save a portion of your day to pray for these most persecuted of our brethren.