The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) established the first Armenian church in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, in April 2019. The church was built and is now managed by the Ministry of Charity and Religious Affairs of the KRG and is located in the Ankawa suburb which is inhabited mostly by Christians.
A prayer house was also opened at a special ceremony attended by KRG officials and foreign envoys.
“The establishment of the church itself lays another foundation for the peaceful coexistence of various ethnic and religious groups in Kurdistan,” said Kurdistan Safen Dizay, a representative of the KRG who attended the ceremony on behalf of Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
He stated that a culture of tolerance and coexistence is not a political decision but rather has deep cultural roots in Kurdistan. Dizay also said he hopes that the displaced Christians will be able to return to their homes in Kurdistan and to the areas with a diverse population outside of Mosul known as the Nineveh plains.
Kurdistan is home to more than 120,000 Christians who are distributed in different provinces, mostly Erbil and Duhok. After the appearance of ISIS in 2014, most of them were moved to areas under the control of the KRG, while others fled abroad.
The region has a unicameral parliamentary body with 111 seats, five quota seats each reserved for Turkmen and Christian parties, and one seat specially reserved for a member of the Armenian party.
John J. Catherine, kurdistan24.net