Christians Look to Revive ISIS-Ravaged Town, Say Terrorists ‘Can’t Defeat God’

Worshippers Gather in Immaculate Conception Cathedral, CBN News image
Worshippers Gather in Immaculate Conception Cathedral, CBN News image

On August 6, 2014, nearly 60,000 people fled the Christian town of Qaraqosh just hours before ISIS overran the area. A few weeks ago, the Kurdish military liberated the city, uncovering a trail of destruction and devastation left behind by the occupiers.

CBN News joined Sister Diana, a Dominican nun, and her team who showed us what ISIS did to their city. We visited her home church, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, first.

“This is considered the largest church for us in the Middle East,” Sister Diana said. “We do all our worship in here. I would say my parents got married here. We had our first Communion here and we used to worship every single day during feast days, Christmas (and) Easter.”

From the floor to the ceiling to the altar, ISIS left its mark.

“What we were told is that they gathered so many of these benches, they put it inside in the middle and burned them. So the church was burning for days,” she explained.

ISIS, she said, was intent on destroying everything that represented Christianity.

“They have took [sic] the host and threw it on the ground, so they are against every Christian symbol. Everything actually, wherever they saw a cross, they took it down,” she said.

“If you see here you have the altar. There were crosses in there,” she said. “Wherever you see the damage, they tried to do as much as they could in their power to say, you know, you Christians stop living here. This is not your land. It makes me speechless.”

In the rubble, she found charred pages from a New Testament.

“The letter to John first, chapter 4th and 5th because He’s the One to come and save us with water and blood,” she said. “It says do not follow evil but follow everyone who does goodness because he’s from God. Whoever done evil does not see God.”

Terrorists Train in Church Courtyard

When ISIS occupied Qaraqosh, they used the church courtyard as a training ground, littering it with bullets. They used the far end of the courtyard for target practice.

The insurgents took thousands of books from the convent and burned them in the courtyard, leaving behind a pile of ashes.

“This is what we honor and it has turned into ashes; those are our books,” Sister Diana said.

ISIS used the church courtyard to train killers.

“You see, they were training for target practice, especially this area,” she continued. “Imagine how many people they trained to kill.”

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Chris Mitchell