SOAR - Baghdad Chapter
Baghdad joined the SOAR family in June 2015. The general roots of the contemporary Armenian community in Iraq can be traced to Shah Abbas’s forced relocation of the Armenians to Iran in 1604, some of whom subsequently ultimately settled in Iraq. An additional 25,000 Armenians arrived in Iraq during the early 20th century as they fled persecution of the Genocide. They established schools, athletic and cultural clubs, and political and religious institutions in urban centers across the breadth of Iraq.
During the 1980s, the Armenian community flourished as a result of President Saddam Hussein’s modernization efforts, rebuilding cultural institutions and consecrating an imposing cathedral in Baghdad. With the invasion of Iraq, however, the situation for Armenians worsened. Armenians were subject to killings and kidnappings for ransom. Many Armenians immigrated to other Middle Eastern countries (most notably Syria and Lebanon), Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia. Armenian churches have also been target of bombings by paramilitary groups.
Armenians in Iraq are mostly members of the Armenian Apostolic Church. St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church (at Younis al Sabaawi Square, Baghdad) is the main church for the Armenians of Iraq. There is also Saint Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church in Dohuk. The Armenian Catholic Archbishopric Church maintains a presence in Baghdad, as does the Armenian Evangelical Church of Baghdad. Today there are approximately 10,000 Armenians living in Iraq, with communities in Baghdad, Mosul, Basrah, Kirkuk, and Dohuk.