Vicar of Baghdad says he’s barred from returning

JERUSALEM (AP) — Canon Andrew White, the vicar of St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, has told thousands of Christians in Jerusalem that he isn’t being allowed to return to Iraq.

White spoke Sunday at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s celebration of Sukkot (soo-KOHT’), the biblical Feast of Tabernacles.

White says church officials and the British Foreign Office have told him that his love for Israel and the Islamic State group’s pressure on Baghdad make it too dangerous for him to resume pastoring the church for now. He says they believe he would be killed if he returns to Iraq.

White’s remarks at the Jerusalem gathering were followed by a prayer for persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria.

The Rev. Malcolm Hedding asked God to strengthen those facing martyrdom and to, in his words, “bring down this great principality of Islam, in the name of Jesus.”

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