Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona & Fellow Christians Flee Mosul After ISIS Invasion
Emil Shimoun Nona was consecrated bishop and installed as the new Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul on January 17, 2010. He is the successor of the martyred Paulos Faraj Raho, killed by Islamic militants in 2008.
Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona fled Mosul last week and is staying in Telkef village north of the city. Nona says all of the remaining Christians fled Mosul during the siege.
Via The Catholic World Report:
After the capture of the northern-Iraqi metropolis Mosul by Islamist forces, all the Christians who were still living there have now fled. The Catholic Archbishop of the city, Amil Shamaaoun Nona, corroborated this while speaking with the worldwide Catholic relief service Aid to the Church in Need. “All the faithful have left the city. Who knows whether they will ever be able to return,” Abp. Nona said. “In 2003 there were still 35,000 faithful living in Mosul. Three thousand were still there in early 2014. Now probably not one is left here, and that is tragic,” the Archbishop declared. The city of Mosul, with a population of three million, was already mentioned in the Bible as Nineveh, and for thousands of years it has been a place of Christian civilization.
Archbishop Nona reported on the capture of Mosul: “We have never experienced anything like it before. A major city like Mosul has fallen victim to chaos.” The fighting, he said, began on Thursday, June 5; at first, however, it was limited to several districts in the western part of the city. “The army began to bombard the areas that were affected, but then the armed forces and the police suddenly left Mosul during the night between Monday and Tuesday, leaving the city at the mercy of the aggressors.” More than half of the inhabitants and the entire Christian community immediately fled to the nearby Nineveh Plain. “At around 5:00 on Tuesday morning we took in the families of refugees and tried to lodge them in schools, catechism classrooms and abandoned houses,” Nona reported. He is presently staying in the village of Telkef to the north of Mosul.
According to official statements, the attack was carried out by the terrorist organization “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), which is notorious for its cruel assaults on the Christians in Syria. Archbishop Nona thinks, however, that other groups participated in the attack also: “We do not yet know which groups they were. Many people talk about the ISIS; others think that it might have been members of various groups. We must wait a while in order to understand the actual situation better. It is certain that the extremists are here. Many people have seen them patrolling the streets.”
Archbishop Nona asks the Christians in Europe for their help and their prayers for Iraq.