ASIA/IRAQ - Iraqi government recognizes Chaldean Patriarch Sako as responsible for the properties of the Chaldean Church

Wednesday, 12 June 2024 oriental churches  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - A decree signed by Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani "appoints" Iraqi Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako as Patriarch of the Chaldean Church "in Iraq and in the world" and recognizes him as ultimately responsible for the properties and endowments of his Patriarchal Church. The decree, published on Tuesday 11 June on the website of the Chaldean Church, recognizes the patriarchal prerogatives of Cardinal Sako and paves the way to overcoming the crisis in relations between the Chaldean Patriarchate and the political-institutional leadership of Iraq, which erupted in July 2023 and which led Patriarch Sako to leave the Patriarchal seat in Baghdad and move to Erbil.

The text of the decree states verbatim: "On the basis of the powers conferred on us by the Constitution" and other legal references, "we have decided: 1) to appoint Cardinal Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako as Patriarch of the Chaldeans in Iraq and in the world; 2) establish the Authority of Endowments," with the Patriarch "in charge of the Chaldean Church's endowments."
In July 2023, Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid had repealed Decree 147, issued by his predecessor Jalal Talabani on July 10, 2013, which established the papal appointment of the Patriarch as head of the Chaldean Church "in Iraq and in the world" at the level of national legislation and recognized him as "in charge of the Church's endowments." Since the beginning of the crisis, Patriarch Sako had returned to Baghdad only once, for a meeting with Prime Minister Soudani. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 12/6/2024)