Syriac Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Nizar Semaan begins his new mission in Iraq with hope “that Christianity will flourish again” in his homeland.
Semaan chose the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, Iraq, his birthplace, as the site of his episcopal ordination on June 7.
Still scarred from the Islamic State group and not yet fully restored, the church, Semaan said, is “a symbol of what happened to our cities and villages in 2014 until the liberation (in 2017) from ISIS.”
It’s also the church where the new bishop was ordained a priest in 1991. Located in the Ninevah Plain, Qaraqosh was the largest Christian city in Iraq. Its 50,000 residents – all of them Christians were expelled by Islamic State forces in a single night during the summer of 2014. They were among 120,000 Christians up-rooted from Mosul and the Ninevah Plain that summer.