A man who leads the only remaining Anglican church in Iraq says he will never leave the country despite being under the constant threat of violence.
News 2 had the opportunity to speak with Canon White, who is known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” Tuesday about his mission and his faith.
“We've been bombed, blown up, slaughtered. I've had 1,226 of my own congregation killed,” he said.
Despite constant persecution and suffering from multiple sclerosis, White said he is determined to save the last Iraqi Christians.
“I often say to people my church, [St. George's Church], is the happiest church I've ever had anywhere in the world,” he told News 2. “We do see some peace, but we also see great violence and opposition.”
White said he is accompanied by bodyguards and wears a bullet proof vest when at his church overseas.
However, according to White, it's the terrorists, not the government under Prime Minister Maliki that is the source of the violence.
Even with the constant violence, White who's church is located outside the green zone in Baghdad, told News 2 he does not live in fear.
“It's very dangerous for your security guards when you don't have any fear because in Iraq we specialize in fear,” he said.
White said one of his main reasons to visit Nashville this week is to extend his gratitude, especially since it is so hard for Americans to imagine not being able to worship freely.
“What we say is we are your brothers and sisters. We are one family together,” he said. “I will not leave Iraq or my people because I love them.”
White is scheduled to speak at Christ Church Cathedral Sunday.
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He will also be speaking at other area locations during his visit:
- Otter Creek Church of Christ –September 11
- Vanderbilt Divinity School- September 12
- Belmont University-September 13
- Christ Church Cathedral-September 15
- Woodmont Christian Church-September 15