Armenian Christians celebrate Christmas
(7 Jan 2019) Armenian Christians in Zakho, in Dohuk governorate in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq, are taking time this Christmas to reflect on the recent troubles in the region.
While Western churches celebrate the feast on 25 December, the Orthodox Church celebrates it on January 6.
They gather here, at the Virgin Mary Church of Armenian Orthodox to pray for peace, a year of tolerance and for all those displaced in the recent conflict to be allowed home.
"I hope that all the displaced people, especially those who were displaced from Mosul, who had to leave their houses and abandon their families have the chance to go back home," says Itidal Edmon Sabri, an Armenian from Baghdad.
Christians in Mosul fled when Islamic State took over the region in 2014.
The fighters were driven out in 2017 but many residents have still have not returned home.
These people celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ according to the Armenian calendar, despite being a very long way from their original homeland.
Approximately 8,000 Armenians live in Iraq, 3,000 in the northern Kurdish region, and about 750 of them are living in the town of Zakho.
The area has three Armenian churches, according to Vahik Kamal, the only Armenian representative in the Kurdish Parliament, who was also here to attend the service.
His hopes are for "a year of peace, tolerance and coexistence for all our people in Kurdistan."
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