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Archbishop's message to Christians in Iraq

Friday 12th November 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a message to Christians in Iraq, following recent killings in Bagdad and the appeal of senior Catholic Bishops in Iraq. The message will also be read at a commemoration Mass in London later today.

The full text of the message is below:

Dear Brothers and Sisters

May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

We read with deep emotion the heartfelt appeal of our brothers the Syrian and Chaldean Catholic archbishops in Iraq on All Souls Day, which followed the dreadful events of 31 October.

We have repeatedly highlighted the plight of Christian minorities in Iraq, and the need for them to enjoy a dependable freedom of conscience, religion and worship, to flourish as minority communities, and to contribute to the common good of Iraqi society from the riches of our Christian heritage and faith.

But the killing of worshippers at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Bagdad has demonstrated a new low point of Christian vulnerability in the country.  This slaughter of unarmed people gathered in church to worship God is a shocking and disgraceful act that should be utterly condemned by people of all faiths and none.

We commend those who were killed to God's grace and mercy, and our prayers are with all those who survived the attack, their families, and all others in Iraq who mourn the loss of loved ones.  We pray too for all Iraqi Christian communities elsewhere in the world who rightly feel passionately for the safety of our Christian brothers and sisters there, and with all those in Iraq who will live in greater fear not only because of this appalling event but also because of the continuing threats directed against them all.

We hope and pray with all our hearts that there may be an end to this kind of sacrilegious butchery and to all intimidation and violence against Christians and other minorities in Iraq.

+  Rowan Cantuar:

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