Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - The two Primates of the Syro-Antiochene Churches - Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssif III - have signed and sent a letter to the highest representatives of the Iraqi institutions (Head of State, Prime Minister and Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament) to recognize and include the "syriac" as an ethnicity to be included in the Iraqi constitution. This measure was requested by the two Patriarchs as a necessary act to ensure "the right of our people". The joint signatures of the letters took place during the visit made by Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssif III at the patriarchal residence in the Monastery of Mor Yacoub Baradeus in Atchaneh, Bikfaya, where the recent Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church concluded.
The tendency to identify themselves and to claim its status as an "ethnic" component affects in a recurring and sometimes controversial manner the life of the Churches and the Eastern Christian communities. Recently, the two Primates of the Syro-Antiochene Churches had already shared a joint initiative of claim regarding the political-institutional sphere (see Fides 11/05/2016), when they signed a document asking for a seat in the Lebanese Parliament to be reserved to a politician belonging to the Syriac Orthodox Church, and another seat to be guaranteed by regulation to a representative of the Syriac Catholic community. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 03/10/2016)