Saturday, July 23, 2011
New Church in Kirkuk Consecrated -- Sign of Hope
[Kirkuk] In Kirkuk a new Chaldean Church has been consecrated. The church blessing took place yesterday in the neighborhood of Sikanayan, around ten kilometers from the old city. The new church will be dedicated to the Apostle Paul, because the Kurdish place name of Sikyanayan means "at the three springs" and lies outside of the city walls, exactly like the Church at the Three Springs in Rome, which recalls the same site, where the Prince of the Apostles suffered martyrdom. Sikanayan is a new neighborhood, which was built by Christian families, who came to Kirkuk from other parts of Iraq. In the mean time there are already 200 homes and others are in a state of construction. The floor will be built free of charge at the disposal of the families.
The church was consecrated by the Archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr Louis Sako. In his sermon he encouraged the Christians to remain in the land and witness their faith with courage and confidence. Even members of the provincial government, local sheiks and some Imams took part in the celebration. The Chaldean Schola sang hymns and psalms. Intercession was also recited for the Moslem-Arab Sheik, Kurds and Turkmen. An Imam spoke in prayer the petition that the place, "will be always holy" that the Christians might honor and praise God.
The Archbishop of Kirkuk bid reconciliation and cooperation between the Muslims and the various peoples with the following "In this connection I would not only like to thank those who have taken part that this church could be built, rather also all who have cooperated to make this mosaic of Kirkuk."