Washington, DC – In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East and Africa, congratulates the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East upon its election of His Grace Mar Awa Royel as its 122nd Catholicos-Patriarch.

As the Christian community in Iraq and Syria recovers in the aftermath of Genocide, we pray—and are confident that—the Assyrian Church of the East will continue to recover and grow under the leadership of Patriarch-elect Royel.

Patriarch-elect Royel is an active member of IDC’s Religious Advisory Board, and for many years has been an integral part of IDC’s advocacy for Christians in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.

As the first diaspora-born Patriarch of any native Middle Eastern church, Patriarch-elect Royel serves as an example and inspiration to the Middle Eastern Christian diaspora communities worldwide.

“We pray for many blessings for Patriarch-elect Royel as he assumes leadership of the Assyrian Church of the East,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini.

“For many years, In Defense of Christians has been blessed with the friendship of Patriarch-elect Royel, and we pray that his leadership will continue to bring growth and prosperity to Church,” he continued.


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