A prominent Anglican priest known as the "vicar of Baghdad" says Christianity in Iraq, the region from which the faith originated, is "over."
In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Canon Andrew 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."
"If there is anything I can tell Americans it is that your fellow brothers and sisters are suffering, they are desperate for help," he continued. "And it is not just a matter of praying for peace. They need a lot — food, resources, clothes, everything. They need everything."
On Saturday, White spoke at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, Virginia. According to a Truro parishioner who attended the two-hour talk and Q&A session, White, an intellectual giant who speaks multiple languages, displayed a boyish, child-like demeanor filled with the wonder of God with whom nothing is impossible. And it's that hope that keeps him going even though the circumstances in Iraq appear dire in the natural.
The church member told The Christian Post in an interview Wednesday that White told those in attendance Saturday "there cannot be peace [in Iraq] without provision ... when people don't have what they need it's very difficult to make real or lasting peace."
Three decades ago Christians numbered over 1 million. Last year it was estimated that figure had dropped to 250,000. Today, families continue to flee, some to the northern region of the country under control of the Kurds while others have left the country altogether, though actual numbers are hard to obtain. White himself had to leave his post at Saint George's Church in Baghdad in November 2014 on the order of the Archbishop of Canterbury due to security concerns.
Even though the number of Christians remaining in Iraq is small, White said God's presence is in the region where He continues to transform lives.
In a post on his Facebook page Tuesday, White said: "So despite the terrible persecution of much of the Church today in Iraq and the Middle East, the wonderful news is that G-d is not dead. He is alive and doing the greatest things ever. Resurrections, healing and angels are part of daily life. We in the western world just do not know of the real majesty, glory and presence of Jesus."
He concluded in all caps: "STRANGELY IT WAS IN PERSECUTION WE SAW THE GREATEST GLORY."
CP reported in June 2016 that the trustees of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East suspended White from the presidency of that organization over alleged payments his group made to free girls who were kidnapped and tortured as sex slaves by Islamic State militants. The Charity Commission, the official charity regulator in England, launched a formal statutory inquiry into the matter.
White is the author of Faith Under Fire: What the Conflict in The Middle East Taught Me About God.