Cries of joy and seasonal hymns once again filled St Paul Cathedral in Mosul as Christmas Mass was celebrated there for the first time in three and a half years, following the northern Iraqi city’s liberation from Islamic State militants.
The Iraqi national anthem opened the Mass as women wailed with emotion. Armoured police outside protected the worshippers. Led by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, Christians and Muslims attended the Christmas Mass on Dec. 24 in a display of unity. “My message is to our brothers the Muslims,” said Patriarch Sako. “I ask them to change their way of thinking; you should know Christianity better. In the past, Christians were the majority in Iraq; today we are minority, but without us, Mosul will never be the same.”