This morning ACN received an urgent message from Patriarch Louis Sako in Baghdad. Overnight the largest Christian town and surrounding villages on the Niniveh Plains fell to ISIS (now Islamic State) and, as we speak, up to one hundred thousand Christians are evacuating on foot, leaving everything behind them. The Patriarch calls it ‘an exodus, a real via crucis’.

He says, “The ISIS militants attacked with mortars most of the villages of the plain of Niniveh, during the night of 6th-7th August and now they are controlling the area. The Christians, about one hundred thousand, horrified and panicked, fled their villages and houses [with] nothing but… the clothes on their backs. An exodus, a real via crucis, Christians are walking on foot in Iraq’s searing summer heat towards the Kurdish cities of Erbil, Duhok and Soulaymiyia, the sick, the elderly, infants and pregnant women among them. They are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide. They need water, food, shelter…”

“Regarding the churches and church properties in the villages now being occupied by the ISIS militants, we have reports of destruction and desecration. The old manuscripts and documents are being burnt.”

In desperation he concludes, “We appeal with sadness and pain to the conscience of all and all people of good will and the United Nations and the European Union, to save these innocent persons from death. We hope it is not too late!”

At this moment in history when Christianity in Iraq stands on the brink of extinction, ACN needs your help. Your prayers and your efforts WILL make a difference.

This weekend, Aid to the Church in Need, is calling for personal and parish prayer for the Church in Iraq. Please download our Prayer for Peace in Iraq  and Solidarity Poster from our website and Like and Share them via Facebook.

If we work together and share information with our networks we can create a groundswell of prayerful solidarity for the Christians of Iraq and all those caught up in this disaster. Please help.

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to all of our ACN benefactors who so generously and loyally offer support when they can. If, at this moment, you feel you are in a position to reach out to the stricken community in Iraq, a gift – no matter how small – will be an act of love and compassion and helps us to provide emergency aid. 

This weekend, let us stand by our brothers and sisters by saying ‘I am Iraqi, I am Christian.’

Thank you and God Bless.