05/28/2016, 14.06
IRAQ
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Baghdad Patriarch calls on Christians and Muslims to pray for peace between May and Ramadan

by Joseph Mahmoud

Baghdad’s Queen of the Rosary Church will host an interfaith prayer against violence and terrorism next Monday. The Chaldean Patriarch launched the initiative, reiterating there are no military options but prayer against conflicts affecting "innocent people". He also urged Muslims to think about renewing their way of thinking and culture.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Chaldean Patriarch Louis Mar Rapahel Sako has issued a prayer for peace in Iraq, Syria, and the entire Middle East that will be held next Monday (30 May).

For the prelate, prayers, not military options can "solve conflicts" in which “innocent people always” pay the highest price. Only a sincere prayer from the heart can trigger an "inner revolution" and "ensure peace."

The patriarch said that a lot of thought went into the wording of the prayer so that it may "help and bring comfort to everyone,” Christians and Muslims. The chosen date coincides with ceremonies “marking the end of the Marian month” and “proximity to Ramadan, the holy month of fasting" for Muslims.

In an official statement on the Patriarchate website, the Chaldean Church calls on Christians, Muslims, Sabians and Yazidis to pray together for peace in Iraq, which has suffered from more than a decade of war and sectarian and confessional violence.

The interfaith ceremony is scheduled for Monday afternoon, 30 May, in the church dedicated to the Queen of the Rosary in Baghdad. It will mark the end of the Marian month, and includes prayers, psalm reading, and hymn singing.

To boost the interfaith and peace-oriented character of the event, Chaldean Patriarch Mar Raphael Louis Sako will lead the interfaith prayers along with a Sunni and a Shia religious leader. Some members of the diplomatic corps will also join the high ranking clerical leaders and the faithful.

Politicians and government officials are not expected because, as the Chaldean Patriarch put it, “they always come with [security] guards and soldiers. Their participation would distort the peace-oriented, harmony seeking character of the event,” which its sponsors want to ensure since on that day, Mar Sako hopes to “breathe only an atmosphere of peace, prayer, and meditation."

As he presented the initiative, the head of the Chaldean Church described it as an attempt to move towards "peace for our tormented country."

"Honestly,” he told Baghdadhope, “I could not find anything else than the prayer" as opposed to "the culture of sectarianism" that has spread throughout the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Like everybody else, Christians should not give in or fall into the trap of sectarianism. Instead, education must be offered to them and to anyone who is expecting a different experience.

"A prayer in the church, with women and men carefully listening the texts of our hymns and our Psalms will also help Muslims reflect,” the patriarch said. “We need a new way of thinking, a new culture, and our Muslim brothers must update their thinking for the goodness and peace we invoke are for everyone."

Here is the text of the Prayer for peace in Iraq, Syria and the region:

Lord, we have had enough of wars, conflicts and destructions that horrify us, made us look horrible and have destroyed our world.

Killing is nothing more than a deviation from your divine plan for man to enjoy a happy life.

Please Lord, enlighten our political leaders to renew their hearts so that they can overcome their disputes and interests, sustain goodness and love, and be the tools of peace that we need more than anything else, especially in Iraq, Syria and the region.

We want to live a happy and joyful life as brothers and sisters without injustice or war, dead or wounded, displaced persons or migrants, homeless or hungry.

Mother Mary, fill our hearts with peace and love.

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