Loading
Church in Iraqi Kurdistan challenged by influx of migrants
Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Archeparchy of Arbil. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.
Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Archeparchy of Arbil. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.

.- Iraq's Kurdistan region is enjoying peace relative to the rest of the country, which has led thousands of Christian families to migrate there, straining the local Church.

Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Archeparchy of Arbil told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need June 6 that in recent years, more than 12,000 Christian families have settled in his eparchy, from Baghdad, Mosul, and other Iraqi cities.

“Although we don't have the appropriate infrastructure to deal with such a growth in the Catholic communities, the people continue to come,” he said.

While parishes in Baghdad and Mosul have been shut down as Catholic emigrate, priests of the Arbil archeparchy have been celebrating Liturgy in tents.

“In their home parishes they have become accustomed to taking part every day in prayers, services or catechesis. They don't give up. We must therefore urgently build new churches and premises for catechesis and other activities of Church life.”

The Chaldean Catholic Church is a Church of the East Syrian rite native to Iraq's Assyrian population and headed by the Patriarch of Babylon.

Arbil is the capital of Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan, which has been peaceful in recent years, relative to southern and western Iraq. Christian families wishing to flee violence, yet remain in their home country, have sought out the region.

“In Baghdad and elsewhere local Christians are under constant fear that they may fall victim to bomb blasts, murders and abductions,” said Archbishop Warda.

In recent weeks, the Islamist State in Iraq and the Levant have seized portions of the central cities of Ramadi and Falluja, and militants attacked Samarra June 5.

Also on June 5, three persons were killed in bombings in Baghdad, and four were murdered in Mosul, in northwest Iraq.

In addition to the influx of Christians from other parts of Iraq, the nation's Kurdistan has also received a large number of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. The region has received tens of thousands of Syrians in recent years; Archbishop Warda commented that Iraq's proximity to countries suffering conflicts of their own has meant that his nation “was often not fighting its own wars.”

Archbishop Warda said the situation in Iraq is a mixture of “historical, economic, social and political problems … if I try to explain today what is happening, the reality tomorrow may be completely different.”

He added that the U.S.-led invasion had split Iraqi society, causing “unresolved conflicts from the past to re-emerge.”

The Arbil archeparchy's six priests served some 30,000 faithful in 2012, in seven parishes.

Tags: Chaldean Catholic Church


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Aug
20

Liturgical Calendar

August 20, 2014

Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Gospel
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 34: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 20: 1-16

Saint of the Day

St. Bernard de Clairvaux »

Saint
Date
08/18/14
08/17/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Homily
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: