In the middle of the summer of 2014, the Islamic State terrorist organization seized the city of Mosul and with it, the whole of the Nineveh Plains and its Christian villages fell. The inhabitants of these towns were forced to flee, leaving everything behind. All means are used to escape the terror sown by the soldiers of the self-proclaimed caliphate. Everything precious in the lives of these Christian families is left behind, they keep almost nothing, but their faith. Despite being severely tested, their faith is the one thing they do not leave behind them. It is this faith gives them the strength as they find shelter and a new place to live in the city of Duhok, North of Mosul. This is the particular story of five hundred Syriac Orthodox families who have found themselves without a place of worship during these past four years.

Fayez Al-Shamani, a future priest of the church of Duhok

Let's not forget that a church is not just a building in which we go to pray on Sunday. It is more than that, especially in Iraq. A church is the place of life for all parishioners: catechism lessons for children, activities for the youth or education for the women.

In this context SOS Chrétiens d’Orient decided to join the huge and ambitious project of Monsignor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul: to restore a place of worship to all these families; to allow them to celebrate Christmas 2018 in a church: their church. To show once again to ISIS that nothing can destroy Christianity - this church will be dedicated to the Virgin Mary, just like the one where these families used to go to when they lived in Mosul.

This project is closely linked to the heart of the mission of SOS Chretiens d’Orient, to help Christians in the East to re-establish themselves in their country, ideally in their towns and villages of origin, or where they have been displaced. This is the case for these five hundred families who still cannot return to Mosul without taking immeasurable risks.

The construction of this church began in February 2018. The work is taking place for months now unabated, but one serious problem remains: the funds already invested will not allow this magnificent project to be completed in due course. For SOS Chrétiens d’Orient, this is not acceptable, as above all, the association what we want and hope for these families is that they can celebrate Christmas in their church this year.

So, we call on your generosity. It may not seem much to give $10, $50, $100 dollars, or more, but your contribution could buy a pew or a bench, it may fund a mural or pay the wages of workers who will be hired to complete this church in time. This is very important to us and even more to the hearts of these families.

Having a church at Christmas, after all they've been through, is a strong symbol. For these families a church for Christmas is a hope they could scarcely hope to dream about. Yet, with your help, this Christmas, this dream could come true.



Volunteering is a commitment for a defined period. The volunteer is committed to a mission to serve others. To volunteer at SOS Chrétiens d’Orient you must:

- be older than 18 years old

- stay for a minimum for 1 month

- being in good physical shape

- have parental agreement for a possible departure

"I ask you to be revolutionary. Have the courage to go to counter-current. And also have the courage to be happy!" Pope Francis, July 28, speech to the volunteers of the WYD, Rio de Janeiro.

"I ask you to be revolutionaries. Have the courage to go against the grain. And have the courage to be happy!"

Pope Francis,

July 28, speech to WYD volunteers, Rio de Janeiro.