As one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world, the Christians of Iraq with a culturally rich ecclesiastical heritage, have given the Church innumerable saints, many of whom are martyrs for the faith.
One of the most recent martyrs for the faith was SERVANT of GOD RAGHEED AZIZ GANNI, an Iraqi Chaldean Catholic priest, who was killed along with three subdeacons, his cousin Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed in front of Mosu's Holy Spirit Chaldean Church, where he was a parish priest, Trinity Sunday, 2007.
FatherRagheed was born in 1972 in the predominantly Sunni city of Mosul ,
completing a degree in Civil Engineering at
Ragheed celebrated his first Mass in the Chapel at the
finishing his degree in Rome when the Iraq war broke
out. Father Ganni had received permission from his bishop to return to
the Angelicum in
On June 3, 2007, Father Ganni had just finished celebrating the Sunday evening Mass and three deacons had recently decided to accompany him because of threats against his life. After the liturgy, he was walking away from the church with Daud as Isho, Bidawed, and Isho's wife followed by car. The group was stopped by unknown armed men.
of people attended the funeral of the four men in
Father Ragheed was known to have a sense of humor and from the many photos of him, it is obvious he was a man of great joy, with a love for the Eucharist..
"There are days when I feel frail and full of fear. But when, holding the Eucharist, I say 'Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sin of the world', I feel His strength in me. When I hold the Host in my hands, it is really He who is holding me and all of us...keeping us united in His boundless love...In normal times, everything is taken for granted and we forget the greatest gift that is made to us. Ironically, through terrorist violence that we have truly learned that it is the Eucharist, the Christ who died and rose, that gives us life. And this allows us to resist and hope."