|Christianity (Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholics)|
|Mainly Kurdish languages (Sorani, Kurmanji, Palewani)|
Kurdish Christians (Kurdish: Kurdên Mesîhî or Kurdên Xirîstiyan) are Kurds who follow Christianity. Though the majority of Kurds adopted Islam in the Middle Ages, there were Kurdish converts to Christianity even after the spread of Islam. In recent years some Kurds from Muslim backgrounds have converted to Christianity.
In the 10th century AD, the Kurdish prince Ibn ad-Dahhak, who possessed the fortress of al-Jafary, abandoned Islam for Orthodox Christianity. In return, the Byzantines gave him land and a fortress. In 927 AD, he and his family were executed during a raid by Thamal, the Arab governor of Tarsus.
The Zakarids–Mkhargrdzeli, an Armenian–Georgian dynasty of at least partial Kurdish origin, ruled parts of northern Armenia in the 13th century AD and tried to reinvigorate intellectual activities by founding new monasteries. At the peak of Kingdom of Georgia the family led the unified Armeno-Georgian army. Two brothers of this family, Zakare and Ivane Mkhargrdzeli led the army to victory in Ani in 1199.
Kurds who converted to Christianity usually turned to the Nestorian Church. In 1884, researchers of the Royal Geographical Society reported about a Kurdish tribe in Sivas which retained certain Christian observances and sometimes identified as Christian.
One of the most prominent Kurdish leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan, Sheikh Ahmed Barzani who was a brother of Mustafa Barzani, announced his conversion to Christianity during his uprising against the Iraqi government in 1931.
Contemporary Kurdish Christians
The Kurdish Church of Christ (The Kurdzman Church of Christ) was established in Hewlêr (Erbil) by the end of 2000, and has branches in the Silêmanî, Duhok governorates. This is the first evangelical Kurdish church in Iraq. Its logo is formed of a yellow sun and a cross rising up behind a mountain range. According to one Kurdish convert, an estimated 500 Kurdish Muslim youths have converted to Christianity since 2006 throughout Kurdistan. A Kurdish convert from the Iraqi military who claims to have transported weapons of mass destruction also stated that a wave of Kurds converting to Christianity is taking place in northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan).
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- Alexei Lidov, 1991, The mural paintings of Akhtala, p. 14, Nauka Publishers, Central Dept. of Oriental Literature, University of Michigan, ISBN 5-02-017569-2, ISBN 978-5-02-017569-3, It is clear from the account of these Armenian historians that Ivane's great grandfather broke away from the Kurdish tribe of Babir
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- Richard Barrie Dobson, 2000, Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages: A-J, p. 107, Editions du Cerf, University of Michigan, ISBN 0-227-67931-8, ISBN 978-0-227-67931-9, under the Christianized Kurdish dynasty of Zak'arids they tried to re-establish nazarar system...
- William Edward David Allen, 1932, A History of the Georgian People: From the Beginning Down to the Russian Conquest in the Nineteenth Century, p. 104, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-7100-6959-6, ISBN 978-0-7100-6959-7, She retained and leant upon the numerous relatives of Sargis Mkhargrdzeli, an aznauri of Kurdish origin
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- Kurds in Northern Iraq Converting to Christianity: Iraqi General
- Christianity Grows in Syrian Town in Wake of IS