Tag Archives: ISIS

Rabban Hormizd IV

They’ve stopped saying mass in the church due to the security situation in the area. There’s a police checkpoint at the foot of the mountain, intended to prevent further looting. This part of Iraq is predominantly Christian, a throwback to the time when Christians were the majority in the entire Middle East. Muslims resent that, […]

Speaking Christian

I didn’t know it was a language. The taxi driver asked us, “Do you speak Christian.” I don’t. Though I am a Christian, I try to avoid some of the jargon that has sprung up around the faith. In North America it is all too easy to live in a Christian sub-culture that bears absolutely […]

Rabban Hormizd III

There must be some sort of special devotion that causes a person to choose a monastic life. Part of me wishes I had that kind of faith. Though I would probably miss my creature comforts. When I look at the cliff that is Rabban Hormizd Monastery I image what it must have been like for […]

Rabban Hormizd II

In most countries a seventh century Christian monastery would be a place of pilgrimage, or at least a tourist attraction. But this is Iraq, and ISIS is only 20 kilometres from here. There are no tour buses. There is no-one else here. Well, there may be a few nuns, be we don’t see them. But […]

Rabban Hormizd I

You can look out from the terrace of the monastery and see where ISIS’ advance was stopped in 2014. Destroying this place would have been the first task on their “to-do” list. High above the Iraqi town of Alqosh, Rabban Hormizd monastery has been a site of Christian worship for almost 1400 years. Founded in […]


In North America the ongoing struggle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is something for the nightly news. It is far away and doesn’t impact us personally. Unless you travel there, in which case it becomes very real. I was given the opportunity to visit a refugee camp in northern Iraq, Yazidi people pushed out […]


This post ran one year ago today in the immediate aftermath of the attack on Parliament Hill. The question raised, the striking of a balance between justice (which may at times be more vengeance) and love remains a difficult one. The natural response is to strike back at those who hurt you. The Christian imperative […]