|1,400-yr-old St. Elijah's Monastery in Mosul, Iraq.|
“Our Christian history in Mosul is being barbarically leveled,” said Iraq-based Catholic priest Rev Paul Thabit Habib. “We see it as an attempt to expel us from Iraq, eliminating and finishing our existence in this land.” If only the Christians had devoted themselves more assiduously to “dialogue”! Then none of this would have happened!
The Isis jihadist group has completely destroyed a 1,400-year-old Christian monastery in Iraq, the oldest of its kind in the country. Satellite images released on Wednesday by the Associated Press showed just a pile of rubble where St Elijah’s Monastery used to stand on a hill above Mosul, Isis’s stronghold in Iraq.
The monastery had survived as a place of Christian worship for almost one-and-a-half millenia, predating Islam itself, and had only suffered superficial damage throughout the country’s most recent conflicts.
An historically significant site, the partially restored 27,000-square-foot stone building had 26 distinct rooms including a sanctuary and chapel. It still had niches where monks used to tuck candles, and the fourth century Greek “Chi-Rho” symbol, representing the name of Christ, was still visible carved into its right gatepost.
|A 2014 dawn service for US troops in Mosul at St. Elijah.|
“Our Christian history in Mosul is being barbarically leveled,” said Iraq-based Catholic priest Rev Paul Thabit Habib. “We see it as an attempt to expel us from Iraq, eliminating and finishing our existence in this land.”
The demolition itself appears to have taken place at some point between August and September 2014, image analyst Stephen Wood told AP. Images show the stone walls “have been literally pulverized”, he said. “Bulldozers, heavy equipment, sledgehammers, possibly explosives turned those stone walls into this field of gray-white dust. They destroyed it completely.”
Isis has sought to destroy sites like St Elijah’s Monastery (Dair Mar Elia in Arabic) across Syria and Iraq since its reign of terror began in earnest in early 2013. The group seeks to wipe out non-Islamic history, calling all religious shrines even to other sects within Islam idolatrous.
|St. Elijah's Christian Monastery before and after Islamists' total destruction.|
After a 1,400-year-old Iraqi Christian monastery was recently destroyed by the Islamic State (ISIS) most of the world condemned the demolition — except for spokesman for the U.S. military’s Operation Inherent Resolve, Col. Steve Warren.
|ISIS flag for a destroyed cross.|
|ISIS Flag replacing Christian Cross atop a Mosul church.|