User-agent: *

Bookmark This Site

Christians Of Iraq


Plight of the Iraq's Christians

US refugee info

Popular articles
Assyrian poetry
Historical articles

Traditional Assyrian Costumes

  Bombed Churches
 Home  Only this link has access to all News articles

Youtube Assyrian Videos2
Assyrian youtube videos 3

Youtube Assyrian Videos (youtube2-b)
new songs Dec. 28, 2010

Translation Translation from English


Who are Christians of Iraq?

History of Christians in Iraq

Philip Jenkins writes; Over the last thirty years scholars have discovered the many spiritual currents that characterized the early church, the various lost or forgotten Christianities that were remembered, if at all as heretical byways of the faith."
"The untold history of the church's First thousand Year, p.8

"Mesopotamia or Iraq retained a powerful Christian culture at least through the 13th century. In terms of the number and splendor of its churches and monasteries, its vast scholarship and dazzling spirituality, Iraq was through the late Middle Ages at least as much a cultural and spiritual heartland of Christianity as was France or Germany, or indeed Ireland."
Philip Jenkins, p.6

Assyrian cities of "Nissibis and JundiShapur were legendary centers of learning that kept alive the culture and science of the ancient world, both of the Greco-Roman and the Persians. In their scholarship, their access to classical learning and science, the eastern churches in 800 were at a level that the Latin europe would not reach at least until 13th century." Jenkins, p.7

"Our common mental maps of Christian history omit a thousand years of that story, and several million square miles of territory. No reasonable historian of modern christianity would leave Europe out of the story; and omitting Asia from medieval record is just as unconscionable." Jenkins, p.11
see also; The golden age of Christianity

Christians of Iraq trace their ancestry to the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians. They are known by various names such as Assyrians, Chaldeans for those who belong to the Chaldean-Church and Syriacs for the members of the Syrian Orthodox church. There is no specific statistics about the total population of Christians in Iraq but their population was estimated to have been about 800.000 strong before the 2003 United State invasion of the country. Since then about half a million of christians have been forced to flee to the neighboring countries or have migrated to the West. Some hundred thousand internally displaced have taken shelter in northern Iraq in the Plain of Nineveh the historic homeland of the Christians of Iraq.

During the relatively tolerant period of the Abassid Caliphate (758-1258) Assyrians scholars of both Nestorian and Jacobite denominations contributed greatly to the advancement of the Islamic civilization by translating the available knowledge form the Syriac and the Greek languages into the Arabic. This ushered the era known as the "Golden Age". The first directors of the "House of Wisdom "an institution established by AI-Mamun in 830 AD to translate all the available existing knowledge including, medicine philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and other sciences into the Arabic were Assyrians, also known as Nestorians and Jacobites.
(Arab Civilization to AD 1,500", D. M. Dunlop, New York 1971 p.220)
See also: The Legend of the Middle Ages

In comparing the extent of the 8th century Church of the East to the Church of England of that time Jenkins writes; while the Medieval church had two metropolitans; respectively, at york and Canterbury Timothy [the 8th century patriarch of the Church of the East] himself presided over 19 metropolitans and eighty-five bishops .
jenkins p.10-11

To show the extent of the Assyrian contribution to educating the Arabs it suffices to say that from a hundred Galen's treaties ninety six were translated form the Syriac language the rest directly from the Greek. Many original Greek books no longer exist in their native language. Yuhanna ibn Masswaya a physician and teacher was the first director of the House of Wisdom and the president of the first Arab University. He has been credited with having written nearly fifty works. His students were known to be well versed in logic and the writings of Galen.

He conducted an assembly in Baghdad on regular basis known as "Majlis" [gathering] which was a combination of lecture room and consulting hour where he saw patients, lectured his students and discussed scientific topics for the benefit of the general public. One of his most famous students was Hunayn ibn-Isahq who became the second director of the House of Wisdom.(Arab Civilization to AD 1,500", D. M. Dunlop, New York 1971 p.220)
See also: The Legend of the Middle Ages

Hunayn is considered to be the greatest and the most productive translator of all. "According to Ibn-abi-Usahbi'ah he was the author of more than one hundred original works, but few of these are extant". (Whiple 27) He translated twenty books of Galen into Syriac, and fourteen treaties into Arabic. He revised sixteen translations made previously by Sergius of Ras al-'Ayn (Rish-Ayna). The Arab translators such as Khwarizmi, al-Kindi and al-l-Hajjaj, the first translator of Euclid's Elements, received their training from Hunayn, and Thabit beit Qurra.

Translation from the Syriac language to Arabic was so widespread that even the Nestorian Patriarch Timothy who was a good friend of calmed and his sons Musa, Harun and Ali is known to have translated the 'Topics of Aristotle' first from the Syriac in (782-3), later retranslated it from the Greek original with the help of the Malikite Patriarch .Christian Doctors were famous for their extensive medical skills.

The Medical training and teaching facilities of Jundi Shappor designed, built, and managed by the Assyrian scholars was transferred to Baghdad. The Jundi Shappur Bimarestan became model for hospitals built in Baghdad, Damascus, Allepo and Cairo. (Whipple 28) The teaching and training of the Physicians was done in the hospital as it is presently the case in the British Medical Schools. Ahamd Eisa gives a list of twelve physicians from Jundi Shaper practicing in Baghdad. (Whipple p.28)

Members of the Bakht-Eisho family served as court doctors for seven generations. The Beit Qarra family of Harran who were still practicing a corrupted form of the ancient Assyro-Babylonian religion contributed greatly to the Arab Knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. The rise of the Arabic as a language of education contributed to the decline of scholarship in the Syriac language.

The arrival of the Crusaders followed by the Mongols inflamed Moslem passions against the none Moslem communities. Because of continued massacres the Assyrians population gradually declined in number but survived mostly in the plain of Nineveh, Southeast Turkey, Mountains north of Mosul, and and northwest Iran.

Turkey's world war one massacres resulted in the death of 750,000. During Saddam's wars with the Kurds hundreds of Assyrian villages were destroyed their inhabitants were rendered homeless, driven out of their historic homeland, and scattered as refugees in large cities or the neighboring countries. dozens of ancient churches some dating to the early centuries of Christianity were bombed and turned into rubble. The teaching of the Syriac language was prohibited and Assyrians were forced to give their children Arabic names in an effort to undermine their true identity. Those who wished to hold governmental jobs had to sign ethnicity correction papers which declared them arabs.

The fall of Saddam which was hoped to bring peace to Iraq has unleashed religious violence against the Christian community in Iraq. Unless special attention is given to their plight by the US and the Iraqi government this ancient people will continue to suffer grievously as they have in the past.








Designed by



3,700 articles and counting

church on fire







December = Kanoon I

Collective Punishment Under Islam "Wherever You Can Reach Them" Dec. 8. 2011

Iraq Christians struggle to have a merry Christmas
Dec. 7. 2011

Islamic Rioters Attack Christian Shops in Northern Iraq
Dec. 7. 2011

An 'Arab Winter' Chills Christians Dec. 5. 2011

Kurdish leader: Clerics 'instigated acts of sabotage, against Assyrians Dec. 3. 2011

Nov. = Tishreen I I

Thousands of Muslims attacked and besieged Copts
Nov. 30, 2011

Damage to the Assyrian archaeological since the 2003-U.S. invasion Nov. 26, 2011

As the Arab Spring turns into winter of Islamic discontent
Nov. 26, 2011

Does the Crucifix 'Provoke' Muslims?
Nov. 04, 2011

Al Nujaifi: Attacks against Christians affect all Iraqis
Nov. 04, 2011

Maronite Patriarch Rai heads to Iraq to express solidarity
Nov. 01, 2011

Sept. = Eilool

A Young Assyrian Car Designer Sept, 18, 2011

The Martyred Church- History of the Church of the East Sept, 16, 2011

Assyrian Professor Awarded for High Performance Computing Work Sept, 12, 2011

The Arab Spring and Christian Persecution Sept, 10, 2011

Muslims Blockade Christian Village in Egypt, Demand Demolition of Church Sept, 9, 2011

Muslim Persecution of Christians: August, 2011

August = Tubbaq

The Jihad Against the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians August 9, 2011

Iraq Church Bombing Wounds At Least 23 August 2, 2011

July = Tamuz 2011

House of Representatives House Considers Creation of Religious Freedom Envoy in Middle East, Asia
July 28, 2011

When Is an Ideology Responsible for Murder? July 28, 2011

FAITH UNDER FIRE Christians facing 'deletion' on Nineveh Plain July 24, 2011

Al-Qaeda Cell in Baghdad Smashed July 24, 2011

Director uses art to educate about his culture July 24, 2011

Iraqi paper claims Jews kidnap Christians to convert
July 21, 2011

Statement by Iraqi Parliament Speaker Disappoints Assyrians July 21, 2011

June = Khziran

Kabul Siege Signals Time To Get Out June 29, 011

Yaar = May

Iraq Assyrian Killed, Mutilated in Northern Iraq May 17, 2011

Armenian Parliament Calls for Recognition of Armenian, Assyrian, Hellenic Genocides May 03, 2011

Nissan = April

Worldwide Islamic Anti-Blasphemy Measure Laid to Rest April 1, 2011

Assyrian Patriarch Meets With Turkish PM April 1, 2011

Adaar = March

Muslim Jihad in Christian Ethiopia: Lessons for the West March 27, 2011


The Life and death of Lina Yakubova March 23, 2011

Should we give aid to states riven by human rights abuses? March 23, 2011

Assyrian Genocide Research Center Welcomes Scholar to Its Board March 21, 2011

INTERNATIONAL Extinction of Iraq’s Christians must be Prevented March 21, 2011

Muslim World: Democracy (for Muslim Arabs Only)
March 19, 2011

Turkey's confiscation of Land belonging to The St. Gabriel Assyrian Monastery March 19, 2011

Donny George, protector of Iraq's ancient riches Died March 18, 2011

American Muslims Versus Congressman, Peter King March 8, 2011

Iraqi Archbishop Blames lack of Liberty, and Security for his Flocks Suffering March 6, 2011

Iraqi Christians to Congress: Please Help
March 2, 2011

Were Iraqi Security Forces Involved in Baghdad Church Massacre? March 2, 2011

Egyptian Armed Forces Shoot to Kill Christians at Monasteries, 19 Injured March 2, 2011

February = Eshvat

Film About Assyrian Genocide in Iraq to Debut in Michigan Feb 28, 2011

Christian town in north Iraq offers refuge
Feb 27, 2011

Iraq Abuse Worsening for Women and Minorities Feb 23, 2011

Iraq's Christian Leaders Unhappy With Lack of Action on Nineveh Plain Feb 23, 2011

Global Islamic upheaval takes toll on Christians Feb 23, 2011

Turkish Judicial System Does Not Meet EU Standards Feb 23, 2011

Anger over court’s decision to acquit suspects in Coptic killing case Feb 23, 2011

Reconciled By the St. Gabriel Assyrian Monastery in Turkey Feb 20, 2011

‘Religicide’ in Iraq Feb 16, 2011

Truth About Sharia Law and Women Feb. 16, 2011

Persecuted Iraqi Christians Reach Out to US.
Feb. 15, 2011

Australian MP Calls Attention to Persecution of Iraq's Assyrians Feb. 10, 2011

Campaign to separate the Syrian Orthodox Church from its Assyrian Heritage
Feb. 9, 2011

Iranians Crack Down on Christian Churches Feb. 9, 2011

Who will defend Mideast Christians? Feb. 8, 2011

Christians of Iraq are in danger Feb. 2, 2011

Failing Christians is damaging EU credibility, says Italy Frattini Feb. 1, 2011

January = Kanoon II

Church to build hospital and university in Iraq
Jan, 31, 2011

“Syria Opens the Gateway to Humanity for the Assyrian Medical Society, the Mission Continues.”
Jan, 28, 2011

Assyrians Without Borders Announces Scholarship Awards Program Jan, 28, 2011

Hearing in Washington about attacks against christians of Iraq and Egypt Jan. 27, 2011

Babylonian cuneiform tablets document Syria’s history Jan. 26, 2011

As the left sides with Muslims, Christians search for support Jan. 24, 2011

Congress to Press Obama on Religious Persecution
Jan. 21, 2011

Abrogation in Islam and The Persecution
of Christians

Jan. 21, 2011

Last Christians Ponder Leaving a Hometown in Iraq Jan. 20, 2011

Assyrian Youth Black March Movement Conference in Detroit Jan. 19, 2011

Who Are the Real Hijackers of Islam? Jan. 10, 2011

Why Christians and Jews are Being Massacred in the Middle East Jan. 10, 2011

Restricted Freedoms in the Iraqi Christian Green Zone
Jan. 8, 2011

France asks for coordinated European Union response to threats against Christians in Middle East Jan. 5. 2011

Violent attacks against Christians could return in Egypt
Jan. 4. 2011

Egyptian Security Guards Withdrew One Hour Before Church Blast Jan. 2. 2011

We may be witnessing a new age of Christian persecution
Jan. 2. 2011