Biography of the latest Iraqi Christian martyr; Sister Cecilia Hanna 1931-2002

Sister Celilia Hanna
25 August, 2002 Baghdad, Iraq  

No other Christian church gave as many martyrs for Christianity as the Apostolic Mesopotamian Church of the East did throughout its close to 2000 years of existence. For since its establishment at the hands of Saint Thomas (Mar Toma) the Apostle and St. Thaddeus (Mar Addai) (one of the 72 Apostles, who preached in Mesopotamia between 37-65 A.D) and the Church of the East never stopped giving one martyrs for the cause of Christianity after another. 

Having been established in a hostile environment with no state to support her, the Church of the East struggled to survive and to fight attempts to destroy her and its followers. From the massacres during early centuries at the hands of the Persian Zoroastrians to the genocides of the Muslim fanatic, the Mongol Timor Ling (1400 –1402) to the destructions of Nadir Shah  (1743) to the holocaust of WW1 in what’s wrongly known as the Armenian Genocide at the hands of Kurdish tribes and their Turkish masters to the never ending oppression of the consecutive Iraqi Arab governments since the creation of modern state of Iraq in 1921, the Church of the East was always bleeding and working for the survival of its followers, the native people of Mesopotamia, the Chaldeans and the Assyrians.. 

Today, another Chaldean martyr is added to the millions before her, for Sister Cecilia Hanna was killed savagely in a disgusting crime where her head was severed from the rest of her body, not because this old and kind human being did something wrong, but because being a Christian in a land roaming with Muslim fanatics is becoming a dangerous venture and a provocative act to those who have twisted the teachings of their religion to that of being blood thirsty thugs. 

Sister Cecilia Hanna was born in 1931 in the Chaldean town of Araden in northern Iraq, and since her early years decided to enter the Order of Heart of Jesus for nuns to serve her people and other human beings in the best traditions of Christianity. The order of Heart of Jesus was established in 1904 at the hands of Father Ablahad Rayes and by the year 1914, the order had already grown to having 10 nuns. Sister Cecilia joined the order when she was in her early teens and stayed with it till her martyrdom. 

During the Kurdish rebellion of 1961, many residents of the town of Araden were forced to flee their homes, which forced Cecilia and her sisters to move to the town of Mosul where she became in charge of the newly established monastery there. Sister Cecilia stayed there till 1999 when she moved to Baghdad to continue serving her Chaldean community and other needy people. 

Sister Cecilia joined the long list of Chaldean Christian martyrs on 15 August, 2002, on exactly the 98th anniversary of the establishment of her beloved Order of Heart of Jesus. 

Finally, the Chaldean News Agency call once again upon the Iraqi government to follow through its investigation with the Arab Muslim suspect that has been arrested to find his accomplices and to make public the results of that investigation.

It also calls upon the Iraqi authorities to take the necessary measures to control the rising tide of Muslim fanaticism in Iraq and to reconsider its policies of appeasement of that movement. A terrorist group that has neither morals nor principles to abide by and a movement that has its final goal not only the murder or the complete subjugation of non-Muslims but all those who do not measure up to its doctrine of terror and hatred.

Chaldean News Agency

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 Chaldean News Agency