10/08/2013, 00.00
IRAQ - MIDDLE EAST
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Assyrian Church andChaldean Patriarchate: " dialogue and unity" in defense of Christians in the Middle East

by Joseph Mahmoud
Mar Dinkha IV responds to call for dialogue launched by Mar Sako and urges "joint action" of "sister churches ." The idea of a "Joint Committee " to pursue the project of unity. Chaldean Patriarch: "urgent" need to overcome the difficulties and ensure "our future presence".

Baghdad ( AsiaNews) - Satisfaction with the renewed invitation "to dialogue in the wake of renewed unity" , sharing and support "in achieving the goal" and greater human and spiritual "closeness" as " brothers and sisters in Christ" and "sons and daughters of a single nation".  These are the main points of a letter sent by Mar Dinkha IV , primate of the Assyrian Church of the East, to His Beatitude Mar Louis Sako, Chaldean Patriarch. In mid-September Mar Sako had sent a message of greetings to the head of the Assyrian Church on his 78th birthday, expressing at the same time the "desire" of the resumption of "dialogue for unity" . An "urgent need ," Mar Sako added, give "the great challenges" that " threaten the survival " of Christians in the Middle East. An invitation promptly welcomed by Mar Dinkha IV in his October 3 reply, published today on the website of the Chaldean Patriarchate .

Mar Dinkha IV emphasizes that unity is a "goal " to be achieved and hence a need for " joint action" with the Chaldean Church and " sister churches ." In a future meeting with the Chaldean Patriarch , he calls for a " thorough discussion " of the problems and difficulties for Christians in the Middle East and the world. He also speaks of the creation of a "Joint Committee " to outline the steps to be taken.

The primate of the Assyrian Church of the East finally urges " special prayers " for the Christians of Iraq and peace to all the "sons and daughters" of the Iraqi Church , victims of the "political storms and upheavals " crossing the Middle East.

Among the objectives that lie behind the exchange of letters , the desire to renew the dialogue between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, to reach a full ecclesial communion among Chaldean Christians - united to the bishop of Rome - and the Assyrian Christians. In the past theological differences divided the two Churches, until the "Common Christological Declaration " of 1994 (pictured) , in it Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV recognized the same faith in Jesus and the mystery of the Incarnation , thus establishing the fact of the resumption of contacts between the two Churches.

To date, however, a true ecclesiological and ecumenical dialogue between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East has yet to be established, although they have the same liturgical and spiritual heritage. As pointed out by Mar Sako in his congratulatory message , the basis for dialogue must be a project of "unity " without which " there is no future ." Unity is the basis of "our presence," defense " of our rights and our role " in a Middle East beset by conflict and division .

 

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