Baghdad's Christians gather defiantly for Christmas Eve mass
Updated: 2014-12-25 11:10
A priest blesses Iraqi Christians, who fled with their families from violence in their country, during a mass on Christmas Eve at Saint George Victorious Cathedral in Amman December 24, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
BAGHDAD - Baghdad's embattled Christian community worshipped defiantly Wednesday night at Christmas Eve mass.
The pews filled at Baghdad's Sacred Heart church, as people remembered the darkest year in memory.
Blast walls shielded the church and seven policeman flanked the outside of the house of worship, in an indication of the government's fear of an attack on the religious groups by jihadists who consider them non-believers.
The worshippers paid tribute to the thousands of Christians displaced this summer in northern Iraq when Islamic State seized the city of Mosul in June and in August pushed on towards Iraqi Kurdistan, over-running Christian towns on the Nineveh plain.
"The recent conditions have left us with a bit of sadness for our brethren, be they Christian or non-Christian, those who were displaced and harmed," Father Thair Abdul Masih said.