Church leaders have expressed their sorrow over the attack on a church in Iraq that left around 58 people dead.
Pope Benedict XVI denounced the attack on the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad as "absurd … ferocious violence."
Gunmen linked to al-Qaeda entered the church on Sunday and took the congregation hostage as they were gathered for evening Mass. more >>
The death toll from Sunday’s church hostage crisis in Iraq shot up to 52 on Monday while the number of people wounded rose to 67.
Deputy Interior Minister Lt. General Hussein Kamal reported the latest figures, which nearly doubled initial figures, on Monday, saying that the toll only included hostages and police officers, not the militants behind siege of Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad.
Initial reports put the number of gunmen at around a dozen – at least five of which were killed along with the others when some of the explosives they were carrying went off. more >>
Two bombs exploded Sunday near buses carrying Christian students in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least one bystander and injuring around 100.
Abdul-Rahim al-Shammari, the head of the provincial council’s security committee, said the deceased was a shop owner in the area and that the injured included students and other civilians.
The attack, which began with a roadside bomb that exploded around 7:30 a.m., appeared to target buses carrying students from the mainly Christian town of Hamdaniya to Mosul University. more >>
Church leaders from various denominations have urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to work with Iraqi authorities in protecting the persecuted Christian minority.
The National Council of Churches and its partners throughout the world on Monday sent a letter to Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates expressing concern about "the ongoing situation of violent attacks on minority groups in Iraq."
"Christians in Iraq have suffered more than a dozen violent deaths so far this year," the letter states. "Our concern is now particularly acute because it is possible that tensions will increase as various political forces continue to vie for power following the recent elections." more >>
Hundreds of Iraqi Christians on Sunday protested against the recent flare up of violence against them in northern Iraq.
The largest demonstration was in the town of Hamdaniyah, about 25 miles east of Mosul. Protesters at the Hamdaniyah rally carried olive branches and were led by priests, including the second most senior Chaldean bishop, Shlemon Warduni, according to BBC.
Another protest took place in the capital, Baghdad, where demonstrators carried Iraqi flags and chanted, “Stop the killing of Christians.” more >>
A global ecumenical body welcomed “with great hope and deep satisfaction” news that diverse church leaders in Iraq have established a council to speak with a common voice.
“In our view, it is a development that augurs as much for the future of the churches in Iraq as it does for Iraq as a nation,” said the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, in a statement Thursday.
The Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq includes all patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and heads of churches in the country from the 14 Christian communities registered in Iraq since 1982. These Christian communities include the Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox as well as Protestant traditions. more >>