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Thousands of Christians flee

· Seeking to escape the violence of Islamic militants in Iraq ·

Holy Father’s urgent appeal to the international community

The Holy Father is deeply concerned as he follows the tragic news arriving from northern Iraq, which impacts defenceless populations, Christian communities in particular: People are fleeing from their own villages due to the violence which in these days is raging and upsetting the region.

While praying at the Angelus on 20 July, Pope Francis exclaimed with sorrow: “our brothers and sisters are persecuted, they are pushed out, forced to leave their houses without the opportunity to take anything with them. To these families and to these people I would like to express my closeness and my steadfast prayer. Dearest brothers and sisters so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are deprived of everything. I am with you in your faith in Him who conquered evil!”.

In light of the distressing events, the Holy Father renews his spiritual closeness to all those experiencing this terrible trial and joins in the heartfelt appeals of the local Bishops, asking, together with them and for their troubled Communities, that a constant chorus of prayer rise from the entire Church to invoke the gift of peace from the Holy Spirit.

His Holiness also addresses his urgent appeal to the International Community, so that steps are taken to end the already ongoing humanitarian tragedy, that efforts are made to protect those who are affected or threatened by violence and in order to ensure the necessary aid, especially that which is most urgent, to the many displaced people, whose fate depends on the solidarity of others.

The Pope appeals to the conscience of everyone and he repeats to every believer: “May God of peace create in all an authentic desire for dialogue and for reconciliation. Violence is not conquered with violence. Violence is conquered with peace! Let us pray in silence, asking for peace; everyone, in silence.... May Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!” (Angelus, 20 July 2014).




St. Peter’s Square

Oct. 19, 2019