Ancient Church of the East appoints Mar Georges III Younan as new Patriarch
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Ancient Church of the East on Friday appointed Mar Georges III Younan as its new Patriarch in a ceremony that Ano Abdoka, representing Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, attended.
The ceremony was held at Holy Mary Cathedral in Baghdad.
Abdoka, who is also the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister of Transport and Communication, extended PM Barzani’s congratulations to His Holiness Mar Georges III Younan and to all the faithful of the Ancient Church of the East.
He also stressed the unchanging position of KRG to protect and defend Christian residents, as well as other ethnic and religious components in Kurdistan.
Following the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014, thousands of Christians fled to the Kurdistan Region, where they sought sanctuary in the multi-ethnic and Christian-majority towns. The Christian population in the KRG is estimated to be about 60,000 residents.
Religious leaders of the community on several occasions have praised the government’s efforts to protect Christians, whose numbers have been shrinking in Iraq since 2003 due to persecution and terrorism.