ASIA/IRAQ - The project to erect a church in Ur of the Chaldeans takes off

Monday, 12 July 2021 middle east   oriental churches   pilgrimages   ecumenicalism   pope francis  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - A project to erect a church in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the Iraqi governorate of Dhi Qar, also equipped with a meeting room useful in particular to welcome Christian pilgrims who from Iraq and all over the world want to reach the place where Prophet Abraham's journey to the Promised Land takes off.
This is the project - and also the dream - recently presented to the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, by the Chaldean engineer Adour Ftouhi Boutros Katelma.
The Iraqi engineer - according to the information organs of the Chaldean Patriarchate - presented the project as a donation from him, offering to make available the funds necessary for its realization. The Patriarch and Cardinal Sako, for his part, encouraged and blessed the initiative, suggesting that the church be dedicated to Ibrahim al Khalil, Abraham father of all believers, and to name the meeting room for pilgrims after Pope Francis, who on March 6 also visited Ur of the Chaldeans during his apostolic journey to the country.
During the meeting between engineer Boutros Katelma and Patriarch Sako, it emerged that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi also expressed his approval of the project.
“In this square, in front of the abode of Abraham our father, it feels like going back home”. Thus, after being received in Najaf by Great Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, Pope Francis had begun the speech he gave on March 6, 2021 in the plain of Ur of the Chaldeans, in one of the key moments of his apostolic visit to Iraq. An event shared by representatives of the faith communities present in the country, offered as a "sign of blessing and hope for Iraq, for the Middle East and for the entire world".
In his speech, preceded by the readings from the book of Genesis and the Koran and by four testimonies, the Pope had re-proposed Abraham's journey from Ur to the Promised Land as a figure on the journey that all believers and the entire human family are called to accomplish to cross the darkness of the present time and welcome the "dream of God", which created all human beings for happiness. "God" said the Bishop of Rome, among other things, "asked Abraham to look up to the sky and count the stars. In those stars he saw the promise of his descendants, he saw us. And today we, Jews, Christians and Muslims, together with our brothers and sisters of other religions, honor Father Abraham by doing like him: we look at the sky and walk on earth".
On Saturday, May 8 (see Fides, 5/5/2021), a dozen exponents of different Christian Churches from all over the world visited Ur of the Chaldeans and prayed together at the abode of Abraham, in a singular ecclesial and ecumenical act which also expressed the hope that the flow of Christian pilgrimages will soon start again and grow in that area. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 12/7/2021)