Iraq - (Asia)

Information about Iraq

438317 square kilometres
"Muslim 97% (ShiŽa 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%"
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

The Christian message reached the region of Iraq in the first century. According to tradition, the founder of the Christian community was the apostle Thomas. Church structures developed under the patriarch of Antioch in the 4th century, but a century later the church in Mesopotamia declared itself independent from Antioch and subsequently became almost entirely Nestorian. Until the 10th century the Nestorians were involved in energetic missionary activity toward the east; but Islam, which entered the country in the 7th century, became increasingly more important.
From the 13th century onward, Latin missionaries made strenuous efforts toward obtaining Nestorian reunion with Rome. They were partly successful; in 1553 the Uniate Chaldean Catholic Church was established in Baghdad. A Latin diocese was formed in 1632, but no resident Latin bishop was permitted until 1820. RCath (Chaldean, Syrian, and Armenian) are today the largest Christian community in Iraq (70%).
The Ancient Church of the East, or the Assyrian Church, is the oldest Christian church in Iraq. Together with the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Greek Orthodox Church, they form a strong presence in the country. Protestantism made its appearance in the 19th century.


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