Satellite photos reveal monastic devastation
Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery has been destroyed by ISIS, it has been revealed.
Satellite images have confirmed that Deir Mar Elia – or St Elijah’s – a 1,400-year-old monastery outside Mosul, has been destroyed by the jihadist militants. It is believed the monastery was demolished between August and September 2014, shortly after Mosul was captured. More than 100 churches and monasteries have been destroyed in the region since ISIS took over. Originally built by Assyrian monks, the monastery has since been home to a Chaldean Catholic order.
Mosul’s Fr Paul Thabit Habib, who now lives in Kurdish-administered Irbil, said that the monastery had been an important place of pilgrimage, drawing both Christians and Muslims from Mosul. He described the monastery’s destruction as “an attempt to expel us from Iraq, eliminating and finishing our existence in this land”.
UK should stay in EU – Vatican
The Vatican’s “foreign minister” has said the UK should remain within the EU.
Interviewed by ITV, Liverpool-born Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary of State for Relations, said of the migrant crisis facing Europe that “No one is doing enough – one of the important things is that the EU has got to work together on this.”
Asked what the Holy See thought of the upcoming referendum on whether the UK should stay within the EU or leave, Dr Gallagher said “We respect the ultimate decision of the British people, that’s for the British electorate to decide,” but added, “We would see it as not something that would make a stronger Europe. Better in than out.”
The archbishop also criticised US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal that there should be a moratorium on Muslim immigration.
Lebanese logjam may be ending, Maronites hope
Lebanon’s Maronite community regards as “positive” the declaration by Samir Geagea, head of Lebanon’s armed forces, that he would support the presidential candidacy of his longtime rival, 82-year-old former General Michel Aoun.
While the Maronite Church “does not support a presidential candidate over another”, it “is in favour of any serious solution to enable the country to emerge from the institutional paralysis and finally elect a new president”, Fr Paul Karam, President of Caritas Lebanon, said.
“We now need to see if this attempt will produce concrete results or find insurmountable opposition,” he added, continuing, “overall, the rapprochement between Geagea and Aoun has spread a sense of novelty throughout the country, in the hope that it will help bring the country
out of serious institutional
Lebanon’s carefully balanced political system requires the country’s president to be a Maronite Christian, but it has been without a president for 18 months.