The Portal February 2018 - Page 20

THE P RTAL February 2018 Page 20 Aid to the Church in Need “Today we are truly a united Church” Murcadha O Flaherty writes of unity in the Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox and Chaldean Churches J anuary’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity reminds us of Psalm 134 (133):1 that states: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” On Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, this unity can be seen in action, as the Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox and Chaldean Churches have come together to form the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee (NRC) to rebuild Christian homes for thousands of families displaced by Daesh (ISIS) violence. A detailed survey by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need determined that more than 12,000 homes needed to be rebuilt after they were destroyed or damaged by Daesh. Responding to the crisis in March 2017, bishops representing the three churches came together in an unprecedented ecumenical gesture to found the NRC. The NRC is allocating funds to each denomination according to the number of damaged houses belonging to members of their Church. providence works”. According to Archbishop Warda, as two thirds of Telleskuf ’s population had returned, it was necessary to rebuild the Church as a sign that things were returning to normal. Aid to the Church in Need helped the project with more than £88,900. The archbishop also expressed his gratitude to the charity’s benefactors: “A huge thank you to all who have made it possible for us to celebrate the ‘victory of our return’.” Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Timothaeus Alshamany Chaldean Archbishop spoke of NRC’s ecumenical Bashar Warda of Erbil cooperation in returning referred to NRC’s help for thousands of displaced displaced Christians at the Christians. He said: “Today re-consecration of St George’s The rebuilt altar of St George’s Church, Teleskuf, Iraq we are truly a united Church Church in Telleskuf in after being damaged – Syriac Orthodox, Chaldean December 2017. This was the and Syriac Catholic – united first church to be rebuilt after the defeat of Daesh. He in the work of rebuilding these houses on the Nineveh said: “It is a message of hope and victory. ISIS wanted Plains and in restoring hope to the hearts of the to eliminate the Christian presence here, but ISIS is inhabitants of these villages and inviting those who gone and the Christians of Telleskuf are back.” As of have left them to return.” Fr Andrzej Halemba who December 2017, the total number of Christian families oversees ACN’s work in the Middle East described the who had returned to the ȁ́ѡ9ٕхѡɕե ɥѥ͕ѱ́)Áɥ͕Ѽذ̸)ѡ9ٕA̰ѡɸ%Ʌİͅ她胊q]ٔ)ЁѼɔѡЁѡ ɥѥ́ɕ)ɍ͡]ɑ胊q$ٕѡ%Ʌĸ]ɔݽɭȁt)ЁѡЁѡ ɍMЁɝ́Ё䁉)ɕЁ́ͼѥɔѥհ)Ѽѡ ɍ9ܹլɜ)ɥ́ѡɔQЁ́ѡ݅e)х聅լɜȁȀ