Evidence of holy unity; Body of Christian martyr found

TEHRAN, Apr. 26 (MNA) – After 38 years, an Assyrian soldier martyred in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s will be laid to rest in Eslamshahr, southern Tehran.

A funeral service will be held for the fallen soldier. The soldier, Jony Beth Oshana, was a conscript in the Iranian Army during the war, locally known as the Holy Defense. He was martyred in the east of the Tigris in a region known as the Bader Operation Field. Since then, his body has remained in enemy territory, and in March 2023, Iran’s search teams found his remains. His identity was confirmed through a DNA test. 

But nothing is known about the current status of his family. A few days ago, the Association of Assyrians of Iran released a statement calling for any kind of information on the family of the fallen soldier. “The name of this martyr is Jony Beth Oshana. After 38 years, the body of this martyr has been identified through DNA but the search team has not found any address for his family. So, in case you identified [the family] of this martyr, call the secretariat of this Association,” the statement said, according to Vaten Emrooz newspaper. 

The parents and all three brothers of Jony have died. One of the brothers was laid to rest abroad and another was buried in the Iranian city of Urmia. 

Even the Association had no information on this family and it had no contact with the members of the family. The third brother converted to Islam in his final years and after his death, he was buried in Tehran’s Behesht Zahra cemetery. A daughter of this one has been found and the funeral service will be coordinated with her. 

On January 1, 1987, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, visited the family of Oshana. An account of this visit has been recounted in the book “Christ in the Night of Qadr,” which was published by the Sahba publishing house in 2018. The book narrates the meetings the Leader had with the families of Christian martyrs.
A funeral service will be held for the martyr in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon. Also, another funeral will be held on Friday during the Friday Prayer in Tehran. Then, a third funeral will be held at the St. Joseph Assyrian Catholic Cathedral in Tehran. Ultimately, the martyr will be laid to rest in Eslamshahr. 

The case of Oshana is another example of how Iranians of all hues would take up arms in defense of their country. Iran is a diverse country with many ethnic and religious minorities.  Turks, Baluch, Kurds, Lurs, Bakhtiyaris, Arabs, Turkmens, Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, and Sunnis have all defended Iran in terms of crises. During the Holy Defense years, 94 Christians, 11 Jews, 42 Zoroastrians, and 74 Armenians were martyred among others. 

And this readiness to defend the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to this day. So far, the enemies have sought to sow division and discord among Iranians but they failed to drive a wedge between them. 

By: Faramarz Kuhpayeh

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 199918


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