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(Christian Post) – This year, Iraq ‘s largest Christian community will be celebrating traditional Christmas mass earlier than normal after a string of church bombings across the war-torn country. Chaldean patriarch Emmanuel Delly has ordered that the usual 10 p.m. Dec. 24 service be moved forward to 5 p.m., said Bishop Andreas Abuna as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP). “It is a way to protest against the attacks. We want peace,” Abuna said, denying that the mass schedule has been altered because of security fears. According to Abuna, Delly has also advised worshippers not to travel to present him with Christmas greetings–as is the custom–although mass will take place as normal on Dec. 25. In recent months, a string of increasing violence directed at Iraq ‘s Christian minority has led to the destruction of places of worship and the building exodus of 10,000 to 40,000 or so believers.

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