New York Times article about St. Elijah’s monastery near Mosul, Iraq


Maybe it was because Pat O’Brien as the WWI military chaplain in The Fighting 69th was still fresh in my mind, but this image of a present-day military chaplain celebrating mass in a shell-shocked ancient monastery near Mosul, Iraq caught my eye. I find the picture fascinating and oddly enticing, and the details outlined in the article more fascinating still.

From the article:

“We stand in a long line of people who bequeathed the faith to us,” said Maj. Jeffrey Whorton, a Roman Catholic chaplain, presiding over Mass in the monastery the other day, attended by three camouflaged soldiers, their rifles leaning in a corner.

In 1743, a Persian king swept through the area and ordered the monks to convert to Islam. They chose instead to die. In a violent place where Christians are still targets, most recently in bombings this week that struck two churches in Mosul, St. Elijah’s history resonates.

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