Chaldean Patriarch: A peaceful Christmas to rebuild a united and pluralist Iraq

In his message for the holidays Mar Sako recalls "the importance and extreme need for peace" in a region marked by conflict and division. The festivity is an opportunity to "give a new life and a better future." The Church ready to work with Muslim leaders and civil society to promote coexistence.


Baghdad (AsiaNews) - Among the concerns raised by the wars in Syria and Iraq and, more generally, in the Middle East that also end up targeting civilians and children, the Christmas "recalls the importance and extreme need for peace ", says Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako in his Christmas message to the faithful sent to AsiaNews. When the spirit of revenge and anger "disappears from our hearts," adds the prelate, really feel "the spirit of Christmas, which is charity and joy."

The story of Jesus Christ, Mar Sako warns, "is the story of God incarnated for our sake, and to be with us, so that we may be free and happy". It is an opportunity "to offer a new life and a better future", as also noted the same Pope Francis urging Christians to be agents of peace and to put an end to all conflicts.

The country and the entire Middle East region are prey to wars, bombings, divisions that are likely to trigger an atmosphere of permanent conflict. Then there is also the drama of refugees from Mosul and the Nineveh plain, waiting to return to their homes and lands, looted by jihadists of the Islamic State.

The Patriarch calls for efforts towards an "authentic and harmonious agreement" for national reconciliation in the country, both at "central government level and regional level of the Kurdistan authorities". Here, then, that political leaders, institutional and religious are called to "build a strong civil state", that can revolutionize the educational system, which in many cases is itself a harbinger of a fundamentalist ideology.

Added to this is the fight against "tribal mentality" which fosters "revenge" to heal the disagreements, replacing it with a "culture of openness" that is based on human ​​and true moral values and integrated in society on which it is based. For Christmas and New Year, he continues the Chaldean primate, "I invite you to intensify your prayers" for an end to violence and suffering.

"I would like to express on this occasion - says the prelate - my gratitude to all who have opened their arms to help displaced people and alleviate their suffering, particularly the Kurdish regional government, charitable organizations linked to the Church and civil society . I also want to thank the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga and all components of the country that are used for the liberation of the lands occupied by the Islamic State ".

Finally, the Chaldean patriarch encourages the faithful to engage in "humanitarian, educational, social, health and political" activities, to contribute to the "spreading of tolerance, cooperation, mutual respect, in a context of unity and pluralism". "I assure you - Mar Sako concludes his Christmas message - that our Church will spare no effort to cooperate with Muslim religious leaders, civil society, organizations and all people of good will to support this promising project."