The man known as the Vicar of Baghdad has reluctantly admitted that Christianity is basically over in Iraq, the land where it began.
Until November 2014, Andrew White was the vicar of St. George’s Church, Baghdad – the only remaining Anglican Church in the Iraqi capital. He was ordered by the Archbishop of Canterbury to leave at the end of 2014, due to security concerns.
In an interview with Fox News this week, White said, “The time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some [say] Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited … The Christians coming out of Iraq and ISIS areas in the Middle East all say the same thing, there is no way they are ever going back. They have had enough.”
“If you want to make peace, you can’t just do it with the nice people.” – Andrew White
The number of Christians in Iraq continues to drop. In 2015, it was estimated that Iraqi Christians numbered 250,000 – a significant reduction from the one million estimated to have been there in 2003.
Although no longer in Baghdad, White lives in neighbouring Jordan, ministering to the Iraqi refugee community.
In late 2015, after his departure from Baghdad, White told The Independent, “I invited the leaders of Isis [Islamic State] for dinner. I am a great believer in that. I have asked some of the worst people ever to eat with me. ISIS said, ‘You can invite us to dinner, but we’ll chop your head off.’ So I didn’t invite them again!
“Sometimes the impossible can happen,” he says. “If you want to make peace, you can’t just do it with the nice people. Nice people don’t cause the wars.”