Christians taking shelter in an ancient Iraqi monastery are steadfast in their faith in the midst of the Islamic State threat.
According to Christian Today, the Mar Mattai monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the world. It is located in Erbil, Iraq, about 20 kilometers from Mosul, the city which was once home to Iraq’s largest population of Christians.
Many Christians fled to the monastery after the Islamic State carried out attacks on Mosul. Many have also now left the monastery, but some are still seeking refuge there.
Those who are using the monastery as a safehaven say they are not afraid of the Islamic State.
“My God will protect me," stated one woman.
Yousif Ibrahim, one of the monks from the monastery said, "The sky lights up at night, but we of course are not scared. God protects us.”
It is thought that the Islamic State may target Mar Mattai because they have destroyed many religious sites in Iraq and Syria. Also, the Mar Gorgis monastery, north of Mosul, reportedly has been used as a female detention center.
Nevertheless, Christians remain strong in faith.
“They've destroyed walls and historical sites, but they were unable to destroy the faith of the community," said Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda.
"And that's the good news, that our people are strong enough to leave everything behind and just stay Christians."
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia
Publication date: December 8, 2015