One of the largest churches in the Middle East has been consecrated in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The Church of St Petrous and Pols was opened at the end of June in the Christian township of Ainkawa, north of Erbil, according to the Rudaw news service. The church in Ainkawa will accommodate around 1300 worshippers. So far only the prayer hall has been completed. But, in due
course, it will house rooms for the sick, bride and groom dressing, cafeteria, offices, conferences, training, and a baptism pool.
Khalid Jamal, head of Christian Affairs at the Kurdistan Regional Government religious affairs ministry told Rudaw: ‘When finished this will be one of the biggest such projects in the Middle East.” Many of the church’s congregation will be refugees driven from their homes in Mosul and elsewhere in Iraq and Syria by Islamic State. Miriam Sileman, a woman from Syria, told Rudaw: “I’m a Syrian refugee. I now live here. I’m very happy about this church and I’ll always come here to pray.” The foundation stone for the building was laid by the Kurdistan Regional Government in 2009 and building started in 2013.
“Iraqi Christians see Kurdistan as a peaceful place for themselves,” said the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Matti. More than 2 million refugees and internally displaced persons have found refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, of which some 200,000 are Christians. There are currently 127 churches in the Kurdistan Region and plans are underway to increase the number in the coming years after the mass migration of Christian families from Baghdad and the Nineveh Plains to Kurdistan
One of the great concerns is the continued migration of Iraq’s Christians out of the country which will have long-lasting impact on their vulnerable communities across the country including in
the Kurdistan Region. The exodus of young people is especially high and could endanger the future of the Church in the country. It is estimated that Christians in Iraq make up over 3 percent of the population.
Source: Rudaw.net; Christian Today
Bible Study: 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
SEPTEMBER Praise God for Kurds welcoming Christians, Yazidis and other refugees fleeing from Islamic State terror, and for their support to build this large church.
PRAY blessing and salvation on the Kurds as they await their future.