Archbishop Vincent Nichols says his thoughts and prayers are with all those Iraqis struggling against violence and extremism

Update: The remembrance service will now take place at Westminster Cathedral on Friday, November 27. Archbishop Nichols will preside and preach.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has expressed his horror at the massacre of worshippers attending Mass in Baghdad on Sunday night.

Dozens of people were killed after terrorists stormed the capital’s Syrian Catholic church, Our Lady of Salvation, and took about 100 worshippers hostage. They threw grenades and detonated suicide vests when security forces tried to regain the building several hours later.

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The following day the Pope condemned the “savage” act of “absurd violence” and called on the international community and all people of good will to work together to end “heinous episodes of violence that continue to ravage the Middle East”.

Archbishop Nichols said today: “I want to express my horror at the atrocity that occurred at Our Lady of Salvation church in Karada, Baghdad, and my solidarity with those who suffered and died. This massacre has taken a terrible toll on a vulnerable and diminishing Christian community that, along with other religious minorities, continues to suffer persecution. My thoughts and prayers are with all those Iraqis who struggle against violence and extremism.

“The Christians of the Middle East have a special vocation as peace builders, as the recent Synod emphasised. I know that they will continue to be faithful to that mission and that Catholics in this country will continue to support the Iraqi Church.”

A remembrance service for those killed will be held at a Syrian Catholic church in west London this Friday. The service will start at 7pm at the Holy Trinity church in Brook Green.

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