Oriental Orthodoxy in Iraq

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Syriac Orthodox Mar Mattai monastery near Mosul

Oriental Orthodoxy in Iraq is the majority of Christianity in Iraq. Many of them are members of the Syriac Orthodox Church. The Syriac Orthodox Church is headed by a patriarch in Damascus. There are Armenians in Iraq, who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. A sizable population have fled from Iraq. [1] In Central and Southern Iraq, Oriental Orthodox women do not dare to appear on the streets without a veil.[1] In Iraqi Kurdistan, the situation for Oriental Orthodox Christians is safer.[1]


The early history of Oriental Orthodoxy on the territory of modern-day Iraq was marked by constant Byzantine-Sasanian wars during the period between 5th and 7th century. In that period, major part of the Mesopotamia region was ruled by the Sassanian Empire (Persia). Since official Persian religion was Zoroastrianism, all Christian communities in the region were under constant pressure, and suffered occasional persecutions. Also, relations between different Christian communities was marked by frequent theological disputes and constant rivalry.[2]

During that time, Oriental Orthodox Christians in the region kept their traditional ties with the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. In order to consolidate ecclesiastical structure of Oriental Orthodox churches within the Sassanian Empire, the Patriarchate decided to appoint theologian Marutha of Tikrit as metropolitan over all Oriental Orthodox dioceses in the Empire (629), granting him the title of maphrian.[3]

See also[edit]



  • Meyendorff, John (1989). Imperial unity and Christian divisions: The Church 450-680 A.D. The Church in history. 2. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.

External links[edit]