New Eastern Assyrian Church patriarch thanks Masoud Barzani 'for supporting and protecting coexistence and harmony'
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish statesman Masoud Barzani stressed the importance of religious coexistence and tolerance in the autonomous Kurdistan Region on Tuesday as he received the new patriarch of the Assyrian Eastern Church at his office in Erbil.
According to a statement from Barzani's office, the Kurdish leader discussed various issues of the day with Patriarch Mar Awa III and his accompanying delegation, which consisted of bishops and clergy.
Mar Awa III was recently appointed by a committee of church figures. His predecessor, Mar Gewargis III Sliwa, had resigned because of medical reasons. The event was attended by Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani, other local officials, religious figures from around the world, and foreign diplomats.
The statement indicated that Patriarch Mar Awa III, in addition to citing historical relations between the Barzani family and the Eastern Assyrian Church, expressed his “thanks to Barzani for supporting and protecting coexistence and harmony between the national and religious components in Kurdistan.”
For his part, Barzani gave congratulations to the patriarch, remarking on the Kurdish leader's “happiness for the previous period in which the patriarchal chair of the Assyrian Eastern Church moved to the city of Erbil, stressing that the Kurdistan Region is the home of coexistence and harmony among the components, and this coexistence must be preserved and enriched further.”