The Christians of the Kurdistan Region have opened on June 29 one of the largest churches in the Middle East, Kurdish news site Rudaw reports.
The Church of St. Petrous and Pols in Ainkawa has been in construction for eight years and can accommodate more than a thousand people. It is the largest church in Kurdistan Region and one of the biggest in Iraq. This church is a much needed good news to the Christian community that is continuously being persecuted by the ISIS.
Ashour Jarjis, who leads the construction, said, “The church will be among the most magnificent and largest churches in Iraq. The project itself has been developed over several years and will even house a school for Christian studies and languages.”
He added that, “It will have a modern architecture which will also reflect the history of Erbil and its surrounding areas.”
Meantime, Khalid Jamal, head of Christian Affairs department at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said, “When finished, this will be one of the biggest such projects in the Middle East. It can accommodate 1,300 parishioners at one time.”
Local parishioners and displaced Christians from Mosul, Baghdad, Syria and other war-torn areas in Iraq attended the opening ceremony of the massive church building.
Miriam Sileman, a woman from Syria, was grateful to have a church where she can attend Mass and say prayers. “I’m a Syrian refugee. I now live here. I’m very happy about this church and I’ll always come here to pray.”
Currently, the prayer hall has been completed. Church leaders expect that the finished church building will be a safe haven for Christians across the region, especially those who have been left homeless and churchless by the armed conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
“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.
Rudawnet. (2017). Rudaw. http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/30062017
Rudawnet. (2017). Rudaw. http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/16052017