The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Saturday opened the first Armenian Apostolic Church in Erbil, the capital of the Autonomous Kurdistan Region (Iraqi Kurdistan), Kurdistan 24 reports.
It has been built and supervised by the KRG’s Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs and is located in the district of Ankawa, an area known for having a predominantly Christian population. The house of prayer was opened in a special ceremony attended by local officials and foreign envoys. “The opening of this church itself is laying another foundation stone for a peaceful coexistence of different ethnic and religious groups in the Kurdistan Region,” Safeen Dizayee, the spokesperson of the KRG present representing Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani at the observance, told Kurdistan 24. He stated that the culture of tolerance and coexistence is not a political decision, but rather has deep cultural roots in Kurdistan. Dizayee also said he hoped that displaced Christians could return to their homes in the Kurdistan Region and areas with diverse populations outside Mosul known as the Nineveh Plains. The Kurdistan Region is home to over 120,000 Christians, distributed throughout the different provinces but with the majority living in Erbil and Duhok. The region’s unicameral parliament reserves one seat for a representative of the Armenian community