During his visit to Iraq, Cardinal Kurt Koch met with some members of the Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq on 14 September 2021 at the Armenian Apostolic Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Baghdad.
The meeting offered the opportunity for Cardinal Koch, who was accompanied Archbishop Mitja Leskovar, Apostolic Nuncio in Iraq, and Reverend Father Hyacinthe Destivelle, Official of the PCPCU, to gain a deeper understanding of the life of the diverse Christian communities in Iraq, of their ecumenical relations, and of the work of the Council. Cardinal Koch was delighted at the existence of the Council and emphasized the importance of Christians in Iraq of being able to speak with one voice.
The meeting was also attended by Archbishop Avak Asadourian of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Iraq and Secretary General of the Council since 2010, by Archbishop Jean Sleiman, Latin Archbishop of Baghdad, Monsignor Nersès Zabbara, Apostolic Administrator of Armenian Catholics in Iraq, and Reverend Farouk Hammo, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Iraq.
On the same day, Cardinal Koch visited the see of another member of the Council, Archbishop Severius Hawa, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Baghdad.
The Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq was established in 2006 and gathers together the patriarchs, bishops and pastors of twelve Christian communities with statutory recognition in Iraq, including Catholic (Latin and Eastern), Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Protestant.
According to its statutes, the Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq aims to “unite the opinion, position, and decision of the Churches in Iraq”, in particular on questions concerning relations between Churches and State.