The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland today paid tribute to those killed in yesterday’s Iraqi church attack.
Over 50 people died after security forces raided a Roman Catholic church in Baghdad in an attempt to free Iraqi Catholics who had been captured by al-Qaeda-linked gunmen.
Right Reverend John Christie said: “It is impossible to comprehend the shocking tragedy which has taken place at the Church of our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad.
“It is impossible to comprehend the thinking which provoked this outrage. I can find no words which adequately offer solace for the families bereaved in such tragic circumstances nor indeed any words which will offer any adequate comfort for those who survived this dreadful incident
“All we can do in such circumstances is to commend those who have been bereaved and those who have survived to the love and grace and peace of Christ and assure them of the prayers and thoughts of us all.”
In 1800, an estimated 2,500 Christians died as a result of opposition to their faith. In 2009 this figure rose to 176,000.
At this year’s General Assembly the Kirk’s World Mission Council called on congregations to show solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world.
The council’s report said believers in partner churches come under severe pressure because of their minority status and urged Scottish churches to help in whatever way they can.
Among the recommendations were increased pastoral support, communication, lobbying, prayer and inter-religious dialogue.