God and the World - Christians in Iraq: Stay or Go?

Father Jens Petzold was not told in his cradle that he would one day lead a Catholic monastery in northern Iraq. He comes from an atheist social democratic family from Berlin Neukölln. His spiritual search for meaning and his fascination with Far Eastern spirituality eventually led him to a remote monastery in Syria.

Father Jens Petzold was not told in his cradle that he would one day lead a Catholic monastery in northern Iraq. He comes from an atheist social-democratic family in Berlin Neukölln. Nevertheless, he has been interested in questions of faith since he was a child.

His spiritual search for meaning and his fascination with Far Eastern spirituality eventually led him to a remote monastery in Syria. In the monastery of Mar Musa al Habaschi around the charismatic Father Paolo Dall'Oglio, he received baptism on the Easter Vigil in 1996. From there he went to Iraq as a monk - actually he only wanted to revive an abandoned monastery there. But with the war and the expulsion of Christians from the nearby Nineveh Plain, everything changed.

In the monastery of the Virgin Mary of Sulaymaniyya, 200 people suddenly stood in front of the door. Father Petzold and his small community pitched in. Since 2014, about 60 families have been living at the monastery, first provisionally in the church, now in containers. The war is almost over, and the question on everyone's mind is: stay or go? Does Christianity still have a future in Iraq?

The Radio Bremen film introduces the people who live in the monastery of the Virgin Mary, the monks and nuns, the volunteers from Germany and Italy, the refugees. It accompanies displaced Christians to the ghost town of Qaraqosh and shows their visit to their former homes. "Stay or Go?" shows the monks who had already finished with life in captivity of the so-called Islamic State and follows Father Petzold, who went from being the leader of a tiny community of monks and nuns to suddenly becoming the head of a small town.

Screening dates
10.09.2017
Documentary
30 minutes
Script
Susanne Brahms
Director
Susanne Brahms
Camera
Matthias Kind
Production
Kinescope Film GmbH
Postproduction
Cine Complete GmbH
Broadcaster
ARD
Sound
Gerald Kreß
Color Grading
Andreas Hellmanzik
Audio Editing
Andreas Hellmanzik
Mastering
Cine Complete GmbH