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ISIS erases 'symbol of Christian presence in Iraq'
"It is the sons of the devil who do such work. We can only pray for them. God alone can help us."
By Oliver Maksan
NEW YORK—Confirmation that Iraq's oldest Christian monastery has been completely destroyed by ISIS has caused widespread distress in Iraq. "St. Elijah’s monastery in Mosul was a symbol of the Christian presence in Iraq. The fact that it has been destroyed is terrible," Father Dankha Issa told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church.
Father Dankha is a Chaldean monk belonging to the Antonian Order of Saint Ormizda. Until he was forced to flee from ISIS in the summer of 2014, he had lived in Saint George's monastery in Mosul. "St. Elijah’s monastery was over 1400 years old. It had stood abandoned for a long time. But it meant a lot to us Christians. It was an expression of our extremely long history in Iraq,” he said
Father Dankha said that what affected him in particular was the fact that clearly no one was able to stop the terrorists. He said: "It is the sons of the devil who do such work. We can only pray for them. God alone can help us.
On Jan. 20,
the Associated Press confirmed that ISIS had razed St. Elijah’s
monastery to the ground. An analysis of satellite pictures of the site conducted
on behalf of the agency revealed that the monastery had already been largely destroyed
between August and September 2014.