Photo: – 6/3/17

As a symbol of victory of light over darkness, of Christ over Satan, a giant cross has been erected on a hill in the Iraqi town of Telekuf-Tesqopa, just seventeen miles from Mosul, following the expulsion of ISIS Islamic Jihadists.

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad Louis Sako arrived to the village on February 18, to bless the giant cross erected amid fireworks and shouts of “Victory!” and to celebrate the first Mass in the Catholic parish of St. George in two and a half years, reports the Catholic News Agency.

Patriarch Sako said in his homily that the 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.” He also urged his flock to regain their hope under the watch of the cross and to begin returning to their homes, thus showing the world that the Islamic darkness which has ravaged their land is passing, while Christ is unchanging and eternal.

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.”

Crosses have been repeatedly popping up since the Iraqi Army began its offensive to take back Mosul, the ISIS stronghold in Iraq, with wooden crosses appearing on the roofs of churches and homes in every liberated in the Nineveh Plain.

Muslims against the Koranic violence of ISIS have been taking part of such activities, hoping to remember the co-existence present in the city before the rise of the Mohammed-emulating jihadists in 2014. A week before the blessing of the cross a group of Muslims helped clean the Virgin Mary parish in east Mosul, which had been liberated by the army.

Patriarch Sako has repeatedly implored Christians not to leave Iraq, despite the trials. Christians must “stay united in this land of ours, in which we were born, where we have lived for 1400 years,” he said. According to the hierarch, only 400,000 of 1 million Iraqi Christians remain, the rest being displaced.