French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin visited Qaraqosh, Iraq witnessing, with a mixture of sadness and hope, how far the church has come in rebuilding eight months after the town was liberated from ISIS. Qaraqosh was once the largest Christian town in Iraq until the ISIS takeover. The town’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception bears the scars of the ISIS period, as does the city and its returning residents. It has taken months of hard work to rebuild but now families are returning, shops are reopening and schools are preparing to resume. Although there is great sadness at the destruction of Qaraqosh there is hope as new life is being breathed into the city.
07/25/2017 Iraq (Inquirer) – A French cardinal hailed the “rebirth” of Iraq’s devastated main Christian town of Qaraqosh on Monday, where residents are returning following two years of jihadist rule.
Taking part in mass in the town’s cathedral, Lyon’s Archbishop Cardinal Philippe Barbarin spoke of both “sadness” and “hope” on returning to the town, which he had previously visited just a month before the Islamic State group seized it three years ago.
“I came here on July 29, 2014. It was splendid, magnificent, there were choirs, the church was full,” he said.
“To return now and see it again, after so much aggression, so much violence, so much pillage, (to see it) being reborn is both very sad and at the same time full of hope.”
Barbarin, in the aftermath of the ouster of ISIS from its Mosul stronghold, delivered a sermon and gave communion at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.