Via Catholic News Agency

Mosul [ancient Nineveh], Iraq–Jesus said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against his church. Various Catholic news agencies have reported that hope has returned to Telekuf-Tesqopa, a village near Mosul, which is in the process of being rebuilt after liberation from ISIS.

A giant cross was recently erected on a hill to uplift the victory of the Christian faith.

Louis Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad, visited the village to bless the large cross and to celebrate the first Mass after two and a half years in Saint George Church.

According to the website of the Patriarchate of Babylon,  authorities and officials of the region were present at the celebration.

In his homily, Patriarch Sako said that this event is “the first spark of light shining in all the cities of the Nineveh Plain since the darkness of ISIS, which lasted almost two and a half years.”

“This is our land and this is our home,” he told the faithful.

The patriarch said that by returning and rebuilding, Christians are demonstrating to the world that the forces of darkness, which ravaged their land, cannot overcome the Church of Christ.  Although the people of God suffer, the church is built upon rock.

The huge cross was raised amid fireworks and cries of “Victory! Victory! Victory! For those who chose the faith and those who return!”

The Patriarch said that the cross will announce to the world that “this is our land; we were born here and we will die here. . . .We are joined to our land, to our future on the land of our ancestors. Here we can be proud of our history, and here we can obtain the granting of all our rights.”

Saint George Church was cleaned by volunteers from the French aid organization SOS Chrétiens d’Orient. (SOS Christians of the East).

Since the Iraqi Army began the offensive to recover the city of Mosul, the placement of crosses has become a recurring gesture. In every liberated village on the Plain of Nineveh, Christians have made wooden crosses to place on the rooftops of churches and homes.

Muslims have also participated in restoration events. Last week, a group of Muslim youths joined those cleaning a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary located in east Mosul, liberated by the Iraqi Army.

This action is part of a campaign that seeks to re-instate the religious coexistence that was present in the city before the occupation by jihadists in 2014.