Palm Sunday celebrated by thousands of Iraqi Christians in Qaraqosh
For the first time since ISIS drove all the Christians from Iraq’s Nineveh Plain in 2014, the Christian town of Qaraqosh celebrates Easter after many of its families returned.
This the day that the world can see and hear that the Christians have returned to the Nineveh Plain in Iraq; and that they are there to stay. For the first time since the first families returned to their houses –they celebrated Palm Sunday again.
On Palm Sunday morning, thousands and thousands of Iraqi Christians walked through the streets of the ancient town, waving palm and olive branches; praying, singing and remembering Jesus Christ entering Jerusalem. Their chorus – “King of kings and Lord of Lords. Glory! Hallelujah!” – was heard throughout the entire town.
‘Don’t lose hope’
Andraws’ is a young 25-year-old English teacher in Qaraqosh’s recently opened school. He shared a message to tell Christians around the world: “Please do not lose hope. For two and a half years we were displaced and we almost lost hope to ever return here. But today, we are here again, because of Jesus; because we had hope in Him”, he said.
Standing amidst the thousands of Christians: “As you can see: Christians have returned to Qaraqosh!”
Andraws and his family joined the march, that ended with an open-air service on the square of Qaraqosh’ St. John’s Church. The roof of the Church served as a pulpit for the Church leaders, proclaiming the Gospel, reading the Bible and leading the crowd gathered in the square into worship and singing Hosanna.
Start of Easter
Andraws, further went on to say, “Today is the start of the week of Easter. And we are very excited about it. I’m glad that we can celebrate Palm Sunday again in our city. Thank God for that. Because three years ago, something like that would never happened, when we were displaced.”
Andraws and his family moved back to Qaraqosh last spring. Their house had to be renovated completely. Everything of value had been taken or completely destroyed; ISIS fighters had ransacked and looted the place completely.
He shares how Palm Sunday is traditionally is a huge celebration in Qaraqosh, drawing Christians from all over the region to join. “You can go anywhere in the world and you’ll not find Palm Sunday celebrated like here.”
Faith changed because of ISIS
The young teacher tells us how his faith changed after ISIS forced him and his family out of their town, leaving almost everything they owned behind because they refused to renounce their faith in Christ. “During the first days we were displaced, I felt like there was no God, or Jesus; because of the things that happened to us. But after that, I realized that Jesus does exist and we have to believe in Him.”
Smiling: “And because of Him we are here today.”
He is glad that Christians all over the world will be following the Christians in Qaraqosh celebrating Easter this year. “Because of this, I feel that we are connected with each other. Please have hope because you never know what the future will bring to us. Today we are here again, because of Jesus.”
Please pray for young men like Andraws to continue to be the light of Christ in places like Qaraqosh, and draw many to come to know the true path to salvation.