» 08/25/2014, 00.00
Patriarch of Baghdad: While politicians argue, Iraqi Christians continue to suffer and die
Visiting refugee camps in Erbil and Dohok, Mar Sako speaks of a situation "beyond all imagination". He appeals to the international community and the Muslim world "that have not yet understood the gravity of the situation." The militiamen kidnap a Christian girl of three years, two men die from hunger. Baghdad and Tehran work on a joint plan of action.
- "I visited the camps of the displaced
persons in the provinces of Erbil and Dohok and what I saw and what I
heard is beyond any imagination!
". Iraqi Christians and other minorities in the country, have received
"a terrible blow" to the "heart of their life,"
deprived of all rights, property, and even documents.
These are the
words of Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Louis Sako, in an appeal - sent
to AsiaNews - in which he recalls that since August 6 no
"concrete solutions" to the "crisis" have been
found. Instead "the flow of money, weapons and combatants"for
the Islamic state continues unabated. His Beatitude warns that "faced
with a campaign" to eliminate Christians and other minorities
from Iraq, the world "has not yet understood the gravity of the
situation." He warns that we are now in "the second phase
of this disaster", which is "the migration of these
families" to the four corners of the world, causing "the
dissolution of the history, heritage and identity of this people".
Chaldean Patriarch and President of the Iraqi Bishops' Conference
said that the phenomenon of migration has a "big impact" on
both the Christians, and Muslims themselves, because "Iraq is
losing an irreplaceable component" of its society. He points the
finger at the international community, led by the United States and
the European Union, which while acknowledging the need for an
immediate solution, they have not taken concrete steps "to
alleviate the fate" of a battered population.
Sako spares no criticism for the Muslim community, whose statements
about the "barbarism" of the militia of the Islamic State,
perpetrated in the name of their own religion, has done little to
ensure respect for and defense of the dignity of Christians.
"Religious fundamentalism - warns the Patriarch - is
still growing in its power and force, creating tragedies, and making
us wonder when the Islamic religious scholars and the Muslim
intellectuals will critically examine this dangerous phenomenon and
eradicate it by educating a true religious consciousness and
spreading a genuine culture of accepting the other as brother and as
an equal citizen with full rights".
"terrible and horrific" acts he calls for an
"urgent and effective international support from all the people of
good will to save the Christians and Yezidis, genuine components of
the Iraqi society from extinction, knowing that silence and passivity
will encourage ISIS fundamentalists to commit more tragedies". The
question the Chaldean Patriarch asks is "Who will be
warns the Universal Church that the Iraqi Christians strong testimony
do not need exhausting statements but real
communion with others, such as the visits by the special
envoy of Pope Francis and of the
Patriarchs. "We respect the reasons of those who want to
emigrate - ends Mar Sako - but for those who wish
to remain, we underline our long history and deeply rooted heritage
in this land. God has his own plan for our presence in this land and
invites us to carry the message of love, brotherhood, dignity, and
The plight of
Christians is confirmed by sources of the Chaldean Patriarchate,
which speak of "continuous persecution" of militants
against unarmed Christian civilians, including children. In Baghdida,
one of the cities of the Nineveh plain, IS militants seized Ebada
Khader, a child of only three years, "literally tearing her from
the arms of her family." The militiamen kidnapped the girl and
forced the family to leave their home, dragging them to the
checkpoint Khazar. Christian sources in the city of Bashiqa, one of
the towns north of Mosul, instead describe having found the bodies of
two Christian men, who died of hunger and malnutrition in their home.
They are David Georgis and his son Saad. According to local
witnesses, the men who are both deaf and dumb did not want to leave
the town which has been in the hands of jihadisits for the past three
government in Baghdad and its Iranian ally have launched an appeal to
the international community for a joint plan of action against the
militias of the Islamic State, which have gained large portions of
territory in northern Iraq in recent weeks.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made an official visit
to the Iraqi capital, where he met with outgoing Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki, the new Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, the Speaker of
Parliament, Salim al-Jubouri and President Hoshyar Zebari. During the
press conference, theTehran representative denied the presence of
Iranian troops on the ground in the war against the Islamist
militias; he hoped at the same time for a joint international
operation against IS that "is committing horrendous acts of
genocide and crimes against humanity." His appeal was sustained
and echoed by the government in Baghdad, which calls for
"comprehensive support" in the fight against the jihadi
Baghdad: Chaldean Church Synod to focus on emigration, vocations and liturgy
The Synod will run June 24 to 28 and will analyze the situation of the Chaldean dioceses in Iraq and among the countries of the Diaspora. Among other issues, the choice of pastors for the vacant sees, strengthening the presence of the laity and the creation of a Chaldean League. A special prayer to be recited at the end of Masses in preparation for the Synod.
Chaldean Patriarch in Nineveh: Vocations, marriage and children to revive Christian presence
Mar Sako makes a pastoral visit to the diocese of Alqosh, on the northern end of the plain. His Beatitude meets with the local clergy, presides at a Eucharistic procession and discusses the situation in the Chaldean villages. He notes the "sufferings" and calls for "cooperation , participation and concrete measures" to boost the presence of the local Church .
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For Patriarch Sako, the tragedy of war unites Iraq and Syria, calls for fasting and prayers for peace
Speaking to AsiaNews, Mar Sako urges bishops, priests and the faithful to heed Pope Francis's appeal. The Chaldean Patriarch has already seen the sufferings of a people victim of a terrible conflict. He told Caritas to be ready to receive and help refugees. He is grateful to Syria, "which welcomed Iraqis in recent years," pledging reciprocity when the "need" will arise.
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Patriarch of Baghdad: Christians are part of Iraq, this storm will pass
In an open letter addressed to "all men of good will and those who care for the Iraqi nation", Mar Sako reminds Muslim brothers that the actions of the self-styled Islamic State are contrary to the Koran and greatly damage the shared history all Iraqis of commitment for the nation. "We shared good memories and bad memories, mixing our blood for our land." The invitation to Christians to "calculate their options well, come together in love gathering around their church, being patient, enduring and praying until the storm passes".
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