Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - “I ask you to fast and to offer prayers that Iraqi Christians will remain here in our country and not emigrate”. This pressing call was contained in a brief but heartfelt message, issued by Louis Raphaël I Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and head of the Head of the Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church. The message was addressed in particular to Assyrian Chaldean Catholics but also to all Iraqi Christians in view of the approaching Season of Lent. “Our Christian identity” said the message, a copy was sent also to Agenzia Fides, “has been part of Iraq’s history and geography for two thousand years. Our deepest roots and our clearest sources are here in this our country, if we leave, we would be uprooted, cut off from our origins ”. The Patriarch stressed the necessity “to persevere and to keep hope alive”, and not to listen “to those who fill you with fear” or those who with any means urge or press Iraqi Christians to abandon their homeland . “These people” the Patriarch said “are not thinking of your good. We Christians are here because God wanted us here and with his grace, here we will remain to build bridges with our Muslim brothers and sisters and to work together with them for the development of our nation.
In his Message for Lent, the Patriarch also urged Christians to pray for an end to the anguished situations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the entire region. In Iraq - Patriarch Sako affirmed – it is urgently necessary “to turn a new page with the upcoming elections ", so that our country may once again live in “peace and security for the good of all its people”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 24/2/2014).