Eastern Christian Communities Effort (ECCE)

Maryann Cusimano Love, Ph.D.

Clarence Martin, III, Esq.

James Quirk, Ph.D

 Robert A. Destro, J.D.

Project Background

Middle Eastern Christian communities, likely established in Iraq during the first or early second century of the first millennium, have been displaced and destroyed. Beginning in 2003, war and emigration disrupted communities of long standing in the south of Iraq, the Mesopotamian homeland of Christianity.  The historic communities of Qaraqosh and Mosul and surrounding villages have, since the early summer of 2014, been pushed into the region of Kurdistan to the north. As refugees, these Christian communities (Chaldaean, Assyrian, Syriac and Armenian) have already suffered significant uprooting and disruption; many have left the region entirely or are in the process of doing so.  With their departure, the possibility of return from Kurdistan to their towns and cities becomes less likely.

Project Rationale 

Recording the lives of these communities is imperative, for several reasons.


  • Communal, family and religious ties may be strengthened across generations as oral histories provide crucial records.  

  • The project establishes a record of villages, towns, and cities and their communal life.

  • The history of the modern Middle East is incomplete without an adequate record of the mosaic of human communities existing there until recently.

  • In order to preserve the memories of these communities, many of which are not recorded in a permanent form, it is imperative to collect, organize and preserve their testimonies.

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