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Kurdistan

Kurdistan opens major new church for local and refugee parishioners

By Rudaw 30/6/2017
The majority of the attendees at the opening ceremony were from Ainkawa, but also among them were Christian refugees from Mosul, Baghdad, Syria and the rest of Iraq.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Christians of the Kurdistan Region and those who have sought shelter here now have one of the biggest churches in the Middle East to go to for prayers and mass.


In Ainkawa on Thursday a church was opened that has been under construction for eight years and it can seat more than one thousand people at one time.


“When finished this will be one of the biggest such projects in the Middle East. It can accommodate 1,300 parishioners at one time.” Khalid Jamal, head of Christian Affairs department at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) religious affairs ministry told Rudaw.


The majority of the attendees at the opening ceremony were from Ainkawa, but also among them were Christian refugees from Mosul, Baghdad, Syria and the rest of Iraq.


“I’m a Syrian refugee,” Miriam Sileman, a woman from Syria told Rudaw. “I now live here. I’m very happy about this church and I’ll always come here to pray.”


The KRG religious affairs ministry laid the foundation stone of the church in 2009 and the necessary funds of 4 million dollars were released in 2013.


For now only the prayer hall has been completed, but when finished the church becomes home to Christians from across the region and Iraq as well as those whose churches and homes have been destroyed in Mosul and elsewhere.


“Building this church with support from the Kurdish government is a message that shows there is a link with and support for Christians,” Bishop Bashar Matti told Rudaw.

Comments

 
Joseph Agius | 30/6/2017
At least one heart-warming, encouraging, hope-inspiring piece of news after all the brutalities and unspeakable atrocities of the last three endless horror years of IS presence.
Non kurd | 30/6/2017
Well done...i wish them best... the krg has done a good job remaining neutral and treating all of the religious groups equitably within the Kurdish region.
Carl | 30/6/2017
Only place in the Middle East where Churches are still built is Kurdistan
H Celki | 2/7/2017
Firstly, as a Kurd who is Muslim, I'm quite fascinated by this story, and I hope the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, will continue to elevate this status even further. Continuing to reach a better method of treatment and outlook towards not only its Christian community, but other religious groups as well (so far, the Christians are treated adequately, but could be better) is essential. The Christians and other religious groups are our brothers in humanity, first and foremost. Hopefully, we could be like how the Founding Fathers envisioned the United States of America, a nation (soon to be) with full freedom and rights.
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