Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans, with a widespread appeal on Sunday 15 June, called on all Chaldean communities in Iraq and the world to "dedicate next Wednesday June 18 to fasting and prayer for the restoration of security and stability in Iraq. "Fasting and Prayer" - reads the statement released to promote the initiative - "are capable to change the hearts of people and encourage them towards dialogue and respecting each other through the blessing of God".
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako addressed the invitation to all Chaldean churches directly from the United States, where, along with other Bishops, continues his pastoral visit to the Chaldean communities present in North America. The dramatic developments of the situation in Iraq, triggered by the capture of Mosul by militant jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are followed with concern by the Chaldean Patriarch and the Bishops, who will return back home in the current week and for now have decided not to cancel the meeting of the Synod of the Chaldean Church in program from June 24 to 28. Originally the important summit of the Chaldean episcopate was to be held in Baghdad. Instead, with a significant change in the program, the meeting will be held in Ankawa, near Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. The transfer of the seat in a region controlled by the Kurds and not affected by the conflict will facilitate the participation of the Bishops of Mosul and Kirkuk. The agenda of the synod was initially focused on pastoral and jurisdictional issues concerning the life of the Church, such as the choice of new Bishops for the vacant episcopal sees and the unification of the rituals in the liturgical celebrations of baptism and marriage. "Obviously", explains to Fides Agency Father Albert Hisham, a spokesman for the Patriarchate, "the new situation in Iraq will lead to a change in the agenda. The Bishops will evaluate new emergencies that mark the condition of the Christian community and those concerning the Country". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 16/06/2014)