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Easter mass this year was a step on the road to recovery for Iraq’s Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) Christians. For the first time in three years, many Assyrian Christians publicly celebrated Easter in their ancestral towns that were formerly overtaken by ISIS — a sign of hope and better things to come. 

The faith of these persecuted Christians should serve as an inspiration for the world. Their forgiveness in the face of the unthinkable is a lesson for all of humanity in true grace. In towns like Teleskof, Assyrians took to the streets to celebrate Easter with khigga (Assyrian line dancing), drumming, and parades — all activities that were formerly banned under ISIS. 

A little Assyrian boy and girl play during dles and branches during a Palm Sunday vigil procession in Ankawa (Source: Stars and Stripes)

A little Assyrian boy and girl play during a Palm Sunday vigil procession in Ankawa (Source: Stars and Stripes)

Easter also holds an especially close tie cultural tie for Assyrian Christians. Many of the holiday’s modern traditions — such as church service at sunrise, decorated eggs and stories about rabbits — have roots in the ancient Assyrian celebration of Ishtar

This year, in honor of the spirit and beauty of Assyrian Christians, ICRC would like to share some of our favorite videos of Easter celebrations in Iraq to inspire you in the strength of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. 

Alqosh
Assyrian women lead the way while waving the Assyrian flag during an Easter celebration in Alqosh. 

Teleskof
Assyrian women take part in an Easter mass in Teleskof where 500 families recently returned to rebuild after ISIS. 

Batnaya 
Father Salar Boudagh reads the Gospel at the Mar Quryaqus Church in Batnaya, a town once occupied by ISIS. 

Ankawa
Easter mass is full of faithful believers at the Church of the Virgin Mary in Ankawa, Erbil. 

Iraqi Christian Relief Council exists to support, protect, and defend persecuted Assyrian Christians in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East by providing emergency humanitarian aid, prayer support, and advocacy. Support ICRC today with a donation

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