Christian community in Erbil mark end of Holy Mary Month
Christians in Erbil have observed the end of May, the month of Holy Mary, on Wednesday at a time when many of the religious minority remain displaced from their homes. The majority of whom are in the Kurdish capital where tens of thousands have sought refuge.
The church of Mart Shmoni and Um al-Mauna al-Daaima in the mainly Christian district of Ainkawa held two separate masses to mark the religious event.
Accurate data is still difficult to come by about the number of Christian refugees in Kurdistan Region but authorities say it could be as high as 200,000 people with the majority of them living in Ainkawa and Shaqlawa north of Erbil.
There are currently 127 churches and 34 shrines in the Kurdistan Region. Plans are currently underway to increase the number in the coming years after the mass migration of Christian families from Baghdad and Nineveh Plains to Kurdistan intensified over the past decade.
Photos: AFP/ Safin Hamed