08/12/2019, 14.26
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Chaldean Synod: Invitation to unity and a greater presence of laity in the Church

From the leaders of the Iraqi Church the hope of a return of families displaced by ISIS and a strengthening of the reconstruction process.  A "just representation" of Christians in institutions and the goal of "full citizenship".  A conference of young Chaldeans in 2020 and one dedicated to the laity in 2022.


Erbil (AsiaNews) - Re-launching the goal of "unity" among Christians through "dialogue and communication" and the task of "building bridges" between different ethnic groups "to promote coexistence" and "the development of the nation"  and its citizens ".  This is the invitation launched by Card Louis Raphael Sako and the Chaldean bishops, at the end of the Chaldean Synod which was held from 3 to 10 August in Ankawa, a Christian district of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan.  In the final communiqué, shared with AsiaNews, the guidelines of the mission are outlined in a crucial phase of the life of the Iraqi Church.

The Chaldean primate urges the faithful "inside and outside" the country to unite and strengthen their Chaldean identity, according to the principles of faith, Christian ethics and belonging to the Church itself, to the homeland and to the language.  Added to this is the primary task of guaranteeing "the return of families" displaced by the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis), many of which are still in conditions of serious difficulty.

The statement urges "support for the reconstruction process" of Mosul and the towns on the plain of Nineveh devastated by jihadists.  The leaders of the Chaldean Church encourage families of internally displaced Christians "to return and not sell houses and property", because they belong "to their historical and cultural heritage".

The Iraqi Church renews its invitation to defend the rights of Christians strenuously, starting from their "just representation" within government institutions.  To this is added the path aimed at the birth of a "civil" State that recognizes "full citizenship" for all its members, based on "equality, justice, law" and against sectarian ideology.

With regards the electoral processes, the note reiterates the importance that the Christians themselves choose their representatives in Parliament and in the provincial councils, in particular for the "quotas" assigned to minorities, without the intervention of "large parties"  that manipulate votes and consent.  Furthermore, there is a call for the creation of a joint fund within the Patriarchate "to support targeted projects" and "the needs of the individual dioceses";  as well as an "economic study" to "determine the conditions under which to contribute to the fund".

The Chaldean Synod - during which the participants reviewed the texts of the liturgy -  saw the participation (an absolute first) of the laity, who joined the bishops in a two-day session on 6 and 7 August  .  The meetings were attended by 16 people, including three women, who promoted six sessions dedicated to different topics, including how to encourage their participation in the life of the local Church.

At the end of the meeting, the participants underlined some guidelines for the near future: from strengthening the Chaldean identity in language and liturgy, to organizing a Conference of Chaldean lay people to be held in 2022 and anticipated by a meeting of young lay people  Chaldeans for the spring of next year.  At the center of the work faith, openness to others, the sacrament of marriage and vocational discernment.

The Synod was attended by bishops from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the United States, Canada and Australia, who in the context of the work sent a letter to Pope Francis in which they reaffirmed love and gratitude towards the pontiff.  The letter ended with the hope that the Pope will come, as announced, to visit the country in 2020.

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