Shafaq News/ The Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East (ACOE), Mar Awa Royel, visited the city of Duhok in Kurdistan for the first time.
At the reception ceremony at Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which was attended by the Deputy Governor of Dohuk, Shamoun Korkis, the Patriarch said, "The best thing I found in this city (Duhok) is that people live equal without discrimination, and this is a blessing thing in this city."
Royel added that "coexistence has been found in the regions of Kurdistan and Erbil, and that is something we welcome. Coexistence is important for a life in which everyone is equal."
Mar Awa Royel is the first American-born bishop of the ancient church and only the ninth new Patriarch since 1780. In his new role, Royel now guides the church through both political and spiritual challenges and encourages a community facing mounting pressure to leave Iraq, where the Assyrian population has dwindled from 1.5 million in 2003 to below 200,000 today.