The Christians of Qaraqosh and the fight against Coronavirus

Posted on May 22, 2020

It’s like time has stopped… once again.

In the Christian town of Qaraqosh, in northern Iraq, freed in 2017 from the presence of the Islamic state which left desolation and devastation, life has not returned vibrant and active.

Today, what worries the inhabitants of the Nineveh plain, and the whole of Iraq, is the Coronavirus pandemic that has led the city to take on a ghostly air: quiet boulevards, police guarding the main streets, closed churches, curfews. Once again this small Christian community is being put to the test.

Fr BOUTROS SHITO
Priest of St. James, Qaraqosh – Iraq

“Today the church is facing several challenges due in particular to the Coronavirus pandemic that has affected the whole world.
I cannot deny that the Easter holidays were different. Everyone suffered because they were unable to attend the liturgies of Holy Week, Easter and all the other liturgical feasts. We too, as the rest of the world, are obliged to stay at home, to ward off the risk of contagion, to save our church, our city and the whole of Iraq.”

With a weak health care system, also due to the devastation by the ISIS jihadists, who had conquered it in June 2014, Qaraqosh has taken preventive measures from the beginning that have limited contagion.

Many activities in support of the Christian community by the local Syriac Catholic Church and civil authorities. To support the population in need and the neediest families, two Committees have been set up: the first “Support and Help” and the second “Solidarity”.

AZHAR NISAN KHADER
Healthcare worker

“We started collecting donations from people, and many have donated. We have received donations from the inhabitants of the city, also from Muslims, and from those who have emigrated abroad. With what we collected we were able to buy food, which we distributed to the neediest families.

“The first week we distributed food to more than 500 families.”

Fr BOUTROS SHITO
Priest of St. James, Qaraqosh – Iraq

“The church could only be the first to help its faithful and protect its children, just as the hen protects its chicks.”