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The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble, yet another victim of ISIS's relentless destruction of ancient cultural sites.A Chaldean Catholic pastor in Southfield, Michigan, he remembers attending Mass at St. Elijah's almost 60 years ago while a seminarian in Mosul.Iraq's Christian population has dropped from 1.3 million then to 300,000 now, church authorities say.Suzanne Bott, who spent more than two years restoring St. Elijah's Monastery as a U.S. State Department cultural adviser in Iraq, teared up when the AP showed her the images.Army reserve Col. Mary Prophit remembered a sunrise service in St. Elijah where, as a Catholic lay minister, she served communion.The monastery, called Dair Mar Elia, is named for the Assyrian Christian monk -- St. Elijah -- who built it between 582 and 590 A.C. It was a holy site for Iraqi Christians for centuries, part of the Mideast's Chaldean Catholic community.Then in 2003 St. Elijah's shuddered again -- this time a wall was smashed by a tank turret blown off in battle.
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