Canon Andrew White, known worldwide as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” is refusing to leave Iraq where he serves as the leader of the last Anglican Church in the nation. Islamic State (IS) militants are continuing to terrorize the region with inhuman acts of violence, but White has said he will not leave his ministry.
According to the vicar, St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad once was home to 6,000 members. Now the church membership is down to about 4,800 due to killings over the past ten years.
White said, "I have always said to our people 'I'm not going to leave you, don't you leave me.' Now I can't say that any longer. If I tell them not to leave I'm saying: ‘You've got to be prepared to die for your faith.'"
The Vicar of Baghdad is calling for support and prayer as IS gains influence across Iraq.
"Every day, we think that the crisis here cannot get worse and every day it does. Yesterday, over 1,500 people were killed,” White said.
"Even here in Baghdad, people are terrified of what is happening around us. The IS has established their hidden cells within Baghdad, and people are seriously under threat even though they are not in the areas controlled by the IS. The number of kidnappings here has soared and people simply do not know what is going to happen next."
Publication date: August 12, 2014