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Graphic shows most prominent Christian denominations in Iraq.


Christelijke denominaties in Irak

By Jordi Bou

March 5, 2021 - March 8, 2021 - Iraq hosts several ancient Christian communities but they now number only around 250,000 people, down from a population of some 1.5 million before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Despite the the threats of Covid-19 and terrorism, the first ever papal visit to Iraq is due to go ahead, during which Francis will meet beleaguered Christian communities.

For Iraq’s small Christian community, the highlight of the trip will be Francis’ visit to the north of the country. Thousands of Christians in the area were killed under the rule of Islamic State between 2014 and 2017, and hundreds of thousands more fled their homes in the face of violence and persecution.

Francis will visit the cities of Irbil, Mosul and Qaraqosh to meet people now trying to rebuild their communities and churches.

The Christians of Iraq are considered to be one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. They have inhabited what is modern day Iraq for about 2,000 years, tracing their ancestry to ancient Mesopotamia and surrounding lands.

There are 14 officially recognised Christian sects in Iraq. Most live in Baghdad, the plains of northern Nineveh province and Iraq’s self-run Kurdistan region.

PUBLISHED: 03/03/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images, Newscom