After years of darkness, hope has returned to Telekuf-Tesqopa. Located just 17 miles from Mosul, the village is rebuilding after being liberated from ISIS.
As a visible sign of the rebuilding, a giant cross was erected on a
hill, marking the victory of the Christian faith against the darkness of
On Feb. 18, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad, Louis Sako,
visited the village, where he blessed the large cross and participated
in the celebration of the first Mass after two and a half years in Saint
According to the website of the Patriarchate of Babylon, the
authorities and officials of the region were present at the celebration.
In his homily, Patriarch Sako said that this event is “the first
spark of light shining in all the cities of the Nineveh Plain since the
darkness of ISIS, which lasted almost two and a half years.”
“This is our land and this is our home,” he told the faithful. He
also said that now is the time to regain hope and for the people to
return to their towns to begin a new stage of life.
The patriarch said that Christians will thus demonstrate to the world
that the forces of darkness, which wreaked havoc and ravaged their
land, are ephemeral and that the Church of Christ, although it suffers,
is built upon rock.
When the Mass was over, everyone went out to a hill located on the
outskirts of the city.
There Patriarch Sako blessed the huge cross which
was raised amid fireworks and with cries of “Victory! Victory!
Victory! For those who chose the faith and those who return!”
The Catholic Patriarch said that this cross will announce “to the
world that this is our land, we were born here and we will die here. Our
ancestors were buried in this pure land and we are going to remain to
preserve them with all our might and for future generations.”
“It is a sincere and great call to return and rebuild. We are joined
to our land, to our future on the land of our ancestors. Here we can be
proud of our history and here we can obtain the granting of all our
rights,” Patriarch Sako said.
Before the celebration of the Mass, a delegation came to
Telekuf-Tesqopa to assess the state of damage and to thus ask for the
support of international organizations for reconstruction.
Church was cleaned by volunteers from the French aid organization SOS
Chrétiens d’Orient. (SOS Christians of the East).
The placement of crosses has become a recurring gesture since the
Iraqi Army began the offensive to recover the city of Mosul, the ISIS
stronghold in Iraq.
In every village liberated on the Plain of Nineveh, Christians have
made wooden crosses and have placed them on the roofs of churches and
Muslims have also participated in these events. Last week, a group of
Muslims youths joined those cleaning a church dedicated to the Virgin
Mary located in east Mosul, liberated by the Iraqi Army.
This action is part of a campaign that seeks to remember the
religious coexistence that was present in the city before the jihadists
occupied it in 2014.