100 days – Day 87
The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church –
is a paraphrase of a statement made by Tertullian in 197 A.D. in “The Apology” – written to the Emperor:
He writes, “kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent. Therefore God suffers (allows) that we thus suffer. …….Nor does your cruelty, however exquisite, avail you; it is rather a temptation to us. The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.”
The Christians of Iraq are considered to be one of the oldest surviving continuous Christian communities in the world.
The vast majority are Eastern Aramaic-speaking ethnic Assyrians, Armenians, Arabs,and Kurds .
In Iraq, Christians numbered about 1,500,000 in 2003, representing just over 5% of the population of the country. They numbered over 1.4 million in 1987 or 8% of the population. After the Iraq War, it was estimated that the number of Christians in Iraq had dropped to less than 450,000 by 2013 – with estimates as low as 200,000. Chaldean Catholics form the biggest group among the Christians of Iraq.
Iraqi Christians are fleeing Mosul after Islamist militants threatened to kill them unless they converted to Islam or paid a “protection tax”.
A statement issued by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) called on Christians to comply by midday on Saturday or face death if they did not leave the northern city.
Isis has control of large parts of Syria and Iraq and said last month it was creating an Islamic caliphate.
The ultimatum cited a historic contract known as “dhimma,” under which non-Muslims in Islamic societies who refuse to convert are offered protection if they pay a fee, called a “jizya”, and a spokesman elaborated, saying, “if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”
Stand firm in the Faith! Don’t be forced to convert! Don’t pay “protection money”!
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