Sharing Hope With The ‘War Kids’ Of Syria At Christmas

Meet Rafael*, a 21-year-old doing everything he can to share hope with the ‘war kids’ of Syria.

Rafael*, 21-year-old Christian from Syria.

Rafael*, 21-year-old Christian from Syria.

“Children should play, they should have fun, and they should participate in celebrating Christmas and Easter.” This conviction is what motivates Rafael* to remain in his country.

Last year Christmas was anything but peaceful in Rafael’s village. “On the day of Christmas 2015, rockets were fired at our village. This happened while the children were already waiting to enter the place of our Christmas celebration. What should we do as youth responsible for the event? We didn’t really have time to talk about this. We decided to open the doors and to celebrate Christmas, despite the rockets that fell on the village. Continue reading

3 Things About Egypt Church Attack & How The Church Responded

On the morning of Sunday 11 December, a bomb exploded in a church in Cairo. At least 25 were killed and 49 wounded. Here’s what we know so far:

Image: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Image: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

1. It happened near the biggest Coptic church in Cairo.

The bomb exploded in St Peter’s church, a chapel adjoining St Mark’s Cathedral, the largest and main Coptic Cathedral in Cairo.

“The explosion shook the place … the dust covered the hall and I was looking for the door, although I couldn’t see anything … I managed to leave in the middle of screams and there were a lot of people thrown on the ground.” Emad Shoukry told Reuters.

Egyptian security officials reportedly said that an explosive device with around 11 kilograms of explosives was placed in the chapel, exploding around 10am during Sunday Mass. Continue reading

Christian Towns Liberated From ISIS: In Pictures

On Monday 17 October 2016 Iraq’s Prime Minister al-Abadi announced an historic operation to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State. Since then, the advance of Iraqi, Kurdish, and allied forces against Islamic State has proceeded far quicker than expected.

Christians towns such as Qaraqosh, Bartella and Karamles have all been liberated from Islamic State forces.

Open Doors received photos and video from the frontline, as church leaders returned to their villages and churches for the first time. They restored fallen crosses, salvaged ancient Christian manuscripts and rang the church bells in celebration!

QARAQOSH

Cross pulled down on the top of a church in Qaraqosh.

Cross pulled down on the top of a church in Qaraqosh.

A church tower looks ready to collapse in Qaraqosh.

A church tower looks ready to collapse.

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Christian Girls Hid While Islamic State Invaded Their Home in Iraq

Last weekend, seven female Christian students were rescued after being trapped by Islamic State fighters for several hours, in a surprise attack on Kirkuk, Southeast of Mosul.van-2

“Suddenly their street was filled with Islamic State warriors shouting ‘Alahu Akbar,’” Father Ammar shared. “Most students were able to leave their houses in time, but seven girls couldn’t escape.”

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Mosul Liberation: Why It’s Significant To Christians

Mosul was Iraq’s second largest city before the Islamic State conquered it in June 2014. Right now the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces are embarking on an operation to liberate the city.

“For the first time in 1,600 years, there has been no Mass said in Mosul today.” – Archbishop of Erbil, June 2014.

Mosul’s Significance To Christians

Mosul was home to one of the largest Christian communities in Iraq before the 2003 invasion by US and coalition forces. Prior to the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq had a Christian population of 1.5 million. By 2003 this had dropped 850,000 and now we estimate this to be around 250,000.

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30 Minutes To Leave Mosul

It was a hot afternoon in Mosul. When Amer* turned on his mobile phone, it seemed to explode with messages and missed calls.

“Haven’t you heard? You are a Christian. If you don’t leave Mosul by 12 midday you will be killed unless you convert.”

Amer’s heart raced. It was 11.30 am. 

It was June 2014 in Mosul, Amer’s hometown. Islamic State, then known as ISIS, had swiftly taken over his city. Christian houses were marked with an ‘N’ for Nasrani – meaning Christian, and scores of Christians left the city right away.

Images: Click image to read caption.

Continue reading

4 Surprisingly Good News Stories From The Persecuted Church

On Thursday 13 October 2016, 21 of the kidnapped Chibok girls were released. For two-and-a-half years we have been praying with the parents for the release of these girls. 

It feels like it’s not often we hear good news like this. But today, we’re thankful to share this and 3 other good news stories from the persecuted church in Pakistan, Iraq and Burkina Faso! Continue reading