BB NOTE: From correspondent Michael Yon comes this extraordinary photograph. Here's Michael's story:
Michael Yon: Thanks and Praise: I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.
A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from “Chosen” Company 2-12 Infantry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John’s, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.
The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. ” Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.
BB NOTE: Here's an article from CNS exactly three years ago on November 9, 2004:
Catholic church damaged as bombs explode at Baghdad Orthodox churches
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
ROME (CNS) -- St. John's Chaldean Catholic Church was damaged Nov. 8 when car bombs went off at two Orthodox churches in Baghdad, Iraq, said Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad.
"This is the third time our churches -- Catholic or Orthodox -- have been attacked," the patriarch told Catholic News Service in a Nov. 9 telephone interview from Baghdad. Car bombers targeted churches in August and again in October.
Three people died and more than 30 were injured when the car bombs went off minutes apart Nov. 8 at St. George Syrian Orthodox Church and at the Church of St. Matthew, the parish of the Assyrian Church of the East, the patriarch said.
"The pressure of the bombs" broke the windows and damaged a wall of the nearby Catholic church, he said.
Patriarch Delly said Iraq's Christian minority, like the bombers, "make no distinction" between Catholic and Orthodox churches; an attack on one is felt as an attack on all.
"We don't know why they attacked the churches," he said.
The attacks could be seen as a reaction to the Nov. 8 assault by U.S. and Iraqi troops on Fallujah, "but they bombed churches before the attack on Fallujah," Patriarch Delly said.
The patriarch said he does not think the church bombings will lead to a greater exodus of Christians from Iraq.
"Christians do not want people to make distinctions between Christians and Muslims; we are all children of God. Many people, both Christians and Muslims, want to leave because it is not safe here," he said. "It's not because of religion, but because there is no security.
"We Christians have been here for 2,000 years and we do not want to leave," he said.
"Please, pray for us," the patriarch said. "Pray that God will give us peace, tranquility and security."
BB NOTE: And that is our prayer as well.