CWN - As the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces advanced on Mosul, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church met with other prelates and called for a true respect for religious freedom of Christians in Iraq.

Joined by Syriac Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, and Assyrian Church prelates, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako said that “we expect to safeguard our rights and freedoms, and guarantee our protection with deeds, not speeches, so that we remain in our land and contribute to the revival of our country.”

They added: "The displaced Christians from Mosul and the towns of the Nineveh Plain want to return to their homes on condition of safety and compensation for what they have lost and the reconstruction of what was destroyed by Daesh [ISIS] … The priorities of the Iraqi State and the government of Kurdistan should be to ensure these guarantees."

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Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.