The Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has paid a visit St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad. The Prime Minister was greeted by the parish priest, Father Faiz Jerjes, who gave a tour of the church complex, including its clinic and school, and briefed him on the Anglican presence in the Country. St George’s has a long history of peace-building and reconciliation in the region.
In 2017, Father Faiz was recognised by the Iraqi Ministry of Culture as one of the country’s Distinguished Personalities of the Year; and last year the Iraqi Army presented him with an award in honour of “his outstanding contribution to peaceful co-existence in Iraq.” Now, the Iraqi Prime Minister has added his support, thanking “Father Faiz and his staff for all they do for the nation”, the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf said.
Iraq has experienced near-constant conflict for since the 1940s, culminating more recently with a series of insurgency attacks, including a concerted effort by Daesh – the so-called “Islamic State” – to take control of the country. The attempt was defeated by the Iraqi army with a range of international support.
St George’s Church in Baghdad has developed a reputation for its peace-building and reconciliation ministry. And it has continued to support the local community through the provision of healthcare and education facilities. Its social initiatives include work to reconcile people from different religious groups, and to confront hate speech.
Last year the Church expanded its education provision when the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal-Patriarch Louis-Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon, officially opened the new Anglican School of the Redeemer – al-Fadi – extending to primary-level the already popular infant provision. Some 90 per cent of the school’s students are from Muslim families.
First published in Anglican Communion News Service on 4 February 2019.Jump to next article