St George’s was founded in 1864 – it was and remains the only Anglican church in Iraq. The present building was constructed in 1936 as a memorial to the soldiers of the British Empire who lost their lives in Mesopotamia during the First World War.
For part of its history, St. George’s functioned as a church for expatriates, yet at present the congregation is entirely Iraqi. The Church stopped functioning after the first Gulf War until Canon Andrew White began conducting services there in 1998. As it had not been a functioning church for about 14 years, the building had been totally looted – not a pew remained. Many of the windows had been broken, the organ was removed, and the only church fixture that remained was the solid marble font.
Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the church was mainly used for services by diplomats and the military. However, following the outbreak of the insurgency, the situation soon became too dangerous and military and political figures could no longer leave the Green Zone to enter the church. However, there was a steady increase in the number of Iraqis who started coming to the church.
With funding from the British Embassy in Baghdad and the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, a basic restoration took place. Glass and doors were put in place, plastic chairs were purchased and a carpet was laid. An electric piano was provided and hymns and liturgy were projected onto a screen at the front of the church.
St George’s Church in Baghdad is part of the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, with sister churches in Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates of the UAE, Aden, Qatar and all over Cyprus.
The ministry and work of St George’s is also supported by the Jerusalem and Middle East Church Association (JMECA), a registered UK charity, that supports the churches throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.