ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch: one million Iraqi Christians have emigrated in recent years

Thursday, 31 January 2019 middle east   oriental churches   area crisis   sectaniarism   emigration   refugees

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - In recent years, with the migratory flows of the Iraqi population to other countries, about a million indigenous Christians have left Iraq. Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako recalls this in a message released on January 31 on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of his patriarchal election. On this occasion, the Patriarch traces a brief account of the events that have marked the years of his patriarchal ministry, outlining problems, difficulties, initiatives and hopes that have marked the path of the Chaldean Church. Among the emergencies, the Primate of the Chaldean Church recalls the flight of Christian populations from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains conquered by the jihadists of the Islamic State (Daesh) and the difficulties encountered in ensuring pastoral and material care for tens of thousands of refugees for more than three years. The Patriarch also refers to sectarian campaigns with incitement to hatred, violence and the seizure of Christian homes registered in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, as well as to the problematic relations with "some Christian politicians who serve their personal interests by overriding the will of the Christian component". Among the positive signs, Patriarch Sako listed the organizing of patriarchal finances, the renewal of the liturgy, the establishment of the Chaldean League and the creation of an interreligious dialogue committee of Christian, Shiite, Sunni, Mandaean and Yazidis to counter the sectarian extremism together. The criticism of the Patriarchate - the Patriarch wanted to underline, created Cardinal by Pope Francis - comes mainly from people who "cannot tolerate seeing the “revival” of the Chaldean Church and its brilliant role at both local and global levels, in spite of all the challenges that has been faced over the last six years". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 31/1/2019)