About This Church

Father Araam Romei Qiea interview in St Qaryaqous church in Batnaya.

Boston area portrait photographer on assignment in Northern Iraq

I traveled to Nineveh the heart of Christianity in Iraq. Here live some of the oldest continuous Christians in the world dating back to the first century with Thomas the Apostle founding the Church of the East. They came into communion with the Roman Catholic Church in the middle ages.

Here I am in the town of Batnaya with Father Araam Romel Qia in his church which was nearly detroyed by ISIS. Islamic soldiers occupied the town for three years and used the church as a training ground. He talks about the church itself and what it was like living under the threat of ISIS.

You can see more of my photos in Beauty for Ashes exhibit and watch more of my interviews on my Nineveh Videos page.

Or read blog post by Sophia Schulz. Excerpt from ARCH International

“Kathy recalls a conversation on a rooftop in Alqosh with Father Araam, his brother Arwen and their old friend Rayan, both of whom live abroad and were visiting for Easter. They looked out at the landscape to where the Peshmerga at some point in the recent past was battling ISIS fighters. The conversation turned to the extremely ancient and rich culture of the region, the artifacts and relics that have been destroyed. They lamented how this barely made the news, how Nôtre Dame was prevalently covered but some of the lost sites in Mosul are still only known to experts working in the field. The memory of standing on the rooftop is still vivid and feels very palpable. This was when Kathy realized why she values her trip so much and why she cannot put her camera down, wherever she goes. When people ask “are you documenting this?” she wants to be in the position of saying, yes, very much so. Here on the rooftop is where she realized that if the people of Alqosh who took her in and treated her with such kindness, feel like their story isn’t being heard, then she wants to help tell that story—the Christian story, the Jewish story, the Kurdish story, a story of hope. Right in the heart of Christianity in Iraq, she observed a powerful connection of the people to their ancestral homeland. This is a region where the people’s ancestors have their roots in a time before recorded history.”

Copyright © , Kathryn Costello, All Rights Reserved.

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