ASIA/IRAQ - Synod of Chaldean Bishops: join forces to liberate the lands occupied by jihadists

Monday, 9 February 2015

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The Iraqi national government and the regional Kurdistan government must "allocate the necessary funds to support families that Daesh (Arabic acronym which indicates the jihadists of the Islamic State, ed) expelled from their homes and deprived their property". In addition, all "national and international forces" must "unite their intent to liberate the occupied territories as soon as possible and put in place the necessary measures to protect Christians and other Iraqis, so they all return to their homes and live in safety and with dignity". These are the appeals launched by the Extraordinary Synod of the Chaldean Bishops, summoned by Patriarch Louis Raphael I at the patriarchal seat of Baghdad on Saturday, February 7, addressed to the national powers and the international community with regard to humanitarian emergencies affecting the populations of territories conquered by jihadists.
During the work, the Chaldean Synod also confirmed its support to the project for the creation of a "Chaldean League ", long advocated by the Patriarch and so far remained pending for the difficulties and emergencies that mark the life of the Chaldean Church. According to the Chaldean Bishops, the Chaldean League must have the profile of a civil organization that is regarded as an autonomous moral authority, a tool to address political and social issues that affect the future of the Chaldean communities. The two auxiliary Bishops of Baghdad, Mgr. Shlemoun Warduni and Mgr. Basilius Yaldo (who received episcopal ordination on Friday, February 6), were appointed by the Synod to prepare the founding conference of the League.
The Chaldean Synod also examined some ecclesial problems, starting from the contrast which occurred in recent months between the Patriarch and the Bishop who leads the Chaldean diocese of San Pietro, based in San Diego, California. What provoked discussion was the case of some priests and religious who in the past, without the consent of their superiors, had abandoned the Iraqi Diocese of belonging to move to the dioceses overseas.
The Bishops of the Synod - says the final communique sent to Agenzia Fides - have called all the faithful of the diocese concerned to "stick to the basics of their faith, to remain faithful to their Chaldean Church and to give priority to wisdom and love". With regard to the tens of thousands of Christians forced to flee from Nineveh Plain before the offensive of the jihadists and now refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Synod reaffirmed that the Chaldean Church "will remain at the side of our suffering people", using all the resources available to "serve, lift the spirit and sow hope in the hearts".
In addition, one hundred years after the so-called "Assyrian Holocaust" - an expression which indicates the deportations and massacres perpetrated in 1915 by the Young Turks on the Christian, Assyrian, sire and Chaldean populations - the Chaldean Synod ruled that Chaldean martyrs will be commemorated on the Friday after Easter every year, in what henceforth will be known as the "Friday of martyrs and confessors of the faith". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 09/02/2015)