The Bells of Mosul Ring Again after Liberation from ISIS
The Mar Tuma Church bell in Mosul rings once again for the first time since ISIS took control of the City in 2014.
A bell was inaugurated at Mar Tuma Church in Mosul, Iraq, on Saturday, seven years after ISIS overran the city; the first bell to be restored in the region.
Dozens of people who came from different areas stood by as Father Pios Affas rang the newly installed bell for the first time at the Syriac Christian church of Mar Tuma.
The bell, which weighs 285 kg, was cast in Lebanon with donations from Fraternity in Iraq, a French NGO that helps religious minorities, and was transported from Beirut by plane, and then to Mosul by truck.
"After seven years of silence, the bell of Mar Tuma rang for the first time on the right bank of Mosul," Affas said in his speech to the attendees.
ISIS proclaimed Mosul their "capital" in 2014 before they were driven out three years later, in 2017.
"This is a great day of joy, and I hope the joy will grow even more when not only all the churches and mosques in Mosul are rebuilt, but also the whole city, with its houses and historical sites," Father Affas said.
The return of the Mosul church bell "heralds days of hope, and opens the way for the return of Christians to their city," he added.
ISIS had turned Mar Tuma Church, which dates back to the 19th century, into prison and courthouse.
Restoration work is ongoing and its marble floor has been dismantled to be completely redone.
Iraq's Christian community, which numbered more than 1.5 million in 2003 before the US-led invasion, has shrunk to about 400,000.