Pope arrived in Iraq for historic visit, which continues despite concerns

Christianity in Iraq

Christianity in Iraq dates back to the earliest times. In 2003 about 1.5 million Christians lived in Iraq. Today it is estimated that there are several hundred thousand, but no census has been taken for years.

The country has a great diversity of Christian communities: from the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East and the Armenian Apostolic Church to the Syrian Catholic and the Chaldean Catholic Church. The latter two recognize the Pope as a spiritual leader.

Christians have suffered badly from violence and persecution since the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. For example, churches and villages have been destroyed by the terrorist group IS. Many Christians have fled abroad.

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