April is the month of rebirth, which dramatizes how Jesus Christ had been crucified and then resurrected, in order to purge and save humanity. Likewise, the Syrian Arab Army has sacrificed thousands of his brave soldiers, at the altar of freedom, to re-establish the unity and sovereignty of the Syrian Nation. After 7 years of aggressive attacks, launched by the savage alliance; NATO, U.S., the Zionists and the Arab occupiers of Mecca and Hejaz; Syrian Christian denominations that follow the Gregorian calendar celebrated the Easter and reunited with their beloved ones. In addition. Iraqi Christians, who were equally exposed to the brutal heinous practices by ISIS, the Imperialist illegitimate son of the aforementioned alliance, assembled in their war-ravaged churches after its liberation to celebrate.
Christian Catholics have gathered on 1 April 2018, in different parts if the war-torn Arab world, celebrating the Easter, which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Various rituals and prayers were performed in churches across the Syrian provinces. Festive processions, involving priests, worshippers and scouts, marched through the streets in the capital Damascus, Tartous, Lattakia, Hasaka, Sweida, Daraa, and Aleppo.
In Damascus, thousands congregated in front of the Holy Cross Church, the seat of the Greek (Melkite) Catholic Church. Ahead of the festivities, the First Lady, Asma Al-Assad, visited the cathedral. Another celebrations were held in Latakia, at its Catholic church, a port city on the Mediterranean, which hosts Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base that has long backed the SAA against ISIS terrorists and Al-Qaeda affiliates.
People flooded the streets in massive Easter celebrations in Aleppo city, too.In November 2015, Aleppo’s cathedral was targeted in a missile strike, while around 400 worshippers were attending the Sunday prayers. Following the heroic confrontation with the terrorist Takfiri gangs, the SAA liberated Aleppo in December 2016. The city was lying in ruins with piles of rubble and crumbling facades.
Addressing around 80,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis, during Easter Sunday’s ‘To the City and the World,’ rallied for a swift reconciliation in Syria said, “Today we implore fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria.” Pope Francis called for a swift end to the carnage in Syria, demanding that aid is delivered to the needy there and calling for “fitting conditions for the returned and the displaced.”
In his Easter address, Pope Francis called for peace in the Holy Land, after the Zionist snipers, at the border with Gaza, killed 17 unarmed Palestinian protesters. Earlier in the week, church authorities in Jerusalem had applied for around 600 permits for Gaza’s Christian worshipers to celebrate Easter, however, none were issued.
Pope Francis prayed the power of Jesus’ message “bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment, where there are migrants and refugees – so often rejected by today’s culture of waste – and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery.”
In Iraq as well, particularly in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, Churches’ bells have rung for the first time since the immense defeat of ISIS, which destroyed many churches and seized houses. In the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, Christians gathered at the Chaldean Church that dates back to 1960s. Meanwhile, Christians are returning to their hometowns despite the challenges.
Christians of Hamdaniya, in the Nineveh plains near Mosul, are still returning home, after they had fled the area in 2014, and they celebrated the first post-ISIL Easter. According to local authority figures, about 55,000 fled Hamdaniya, from which about 25,000 have returned. However, Christians are scared that they might face another wave of extremism, especially amid the continuous security threats.
The Christians of Iraq are believed to be one of the oldest existing communities in the world, as far back as Mesopotamia. During the tight grip of ISIS, they have witnessed various ruthless and violent practices. Similarly, like the resurrection of Jesus Christ that Easter marks, the Iraqi Christian have been resurrected from the viciousness of ISIS.