04/11/2017, 13.27
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Chaldean patriarch: at Easter, faith in the risen Christ stronger than hatred and terrorism

by Louis Raphael Sako

Mar Sako highlights the “suffering and daily grief” endured by Christians in Iraq and the world. The answer to violence is a civilised and modern "state" capable of building a "national identity." The Church promotes initiatives of peace and coexistence. Its task is to revive Nineveh Plain by breathing new life in its towns and villages.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Christians in Iraq and throughout the world are preparing to celebrate Easter Resurrection despite the "suffering and daily grief due to racism" and the "heart-breaking attack by terrorists,” says Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako in his message for Holy Week.

The Primate of the Iraqi Church stresses the commitment to dialogue and reconciliation entrusted to Christians, called to "consolidate ties" with their land. He invites political and religious leaders to build a civilised and modern "state", built in a context of “national identity" based on “sound economic, social and educational programs".

The Easter message of the Chaldean patriarch follows:

1. Christians in Iraq (as in the whole world) are getting ready these days to celebrate the glorious Pascal – Resurrection, in spite of their suffering and daily grief, due to racism that they have faced and are still facing because the unfairly made decisions and unjust legislations; in addition to the heart-breaking attack by terrorists causing serious wounds that cannot be ignored, especially for expelling them from their homes. Therefore, we expect the government officials and religious authorities to embrace them, and do more than routine courtesy and the consideration of the majority and the minority, by releasing a concrete initiative to support their continued existence, as native people of this land; to guarantee their rights as equal citizens; and to treat them as genuine partners in “self-determination”.

2. For all these reasons, including migration, our Chaldean Church in Iraq has become a "small Flock", though a lively, powerful church, and ecumenically open-minded that helped and is still helping the poor and the displaced, including 700 university students (among the IDPs of Mosul and Nineveh Plain) by providing accommodation and related support to all of them regardless of their faith and ethnicity. This is our Church that serves with love for the benefit of all people; inspires hope; encourages solidarity; seeks reliability to build bridges; supports dialogue; and national reconciliation. Therefore, the Chaldean Patriarchate called for a march for peace in the Holy Week in Iraq 140 km from Erbil to Alqosh and is organizing a conference on May 10 entitled "Citizenship and co-existence in the message of the religious pulpit" in cooperation with the official Integrity Commission.

3. In the midst of the deterioration in the Iraqi security; infrastructure; and economy during the past 14 years, the defeat of ISIS (Da'esh, those who brought death, destruction and displacement), and the subsequent triumph of all courageous armed forces in the area has made Iraqis proud and hopeful. Thus, the time has come for politicians to; unite and correct their routes; commit their energies in the right directions to build a modern civil state; integrate into the national identity; and adopt sound economic, social and educational programs. So that our country will find its’ way to a qualitative revival at all levels. Then Iraqis will enjoy a more secured and peaceful future of justice, dignity and freedom.

4. Since Christianity means to bear what we are called for in life, I urge Christians in general and the Chaldeans in particular not to allow the above mentioned “incidents” to frustrate them and turn off the Easter flame in their hearts, but rather to:

– Deepen their fidelity to Christianity and to their Church; strengthen their affiliation to their homeland; renew trust and consolidate ties with their fellow citizens of different backgrounds; and to keep in mind that their presence in this land is a sign and a story of a historical existence for 20 Centuries.

– Come out of their current negative attitude and not to dwell in unsecured solution of immigration, but to return to their towns, lives and keep this bond with their history, heritage, language and the memoir of their ancestors, saints and martyrs. The Chaldean Church, despite its limited capabilities, began to rehabilitate the towns of Alqosh line (north Mosul).

– Unite their stances and speeches as brothers of one nation. Since the “so-called” terms of Chaldean, Syriac and Assyrians etc. are similar to the fingers of one hand, in which they become “one” in spite of their individuality. However, such distinctions should encourage unity and appreciate uniqueness, because diversity means richness and unity should be looked at as a requirement for Christians to keep their political presence and contribution to public affairs.

– Work efficiently with their fellow Iraqi citizens of different faiths, such as Muslims, Yazidis, Sabian Mandaeans, etc. in confronting the challenges they face together as a nation. This will ultimately guide people in this country to promote diversity, multiplicity and respect differences within the framework of a completely practiced citizenship and the common rules of moral conduct.

5. Finally, The Chaldean Church has dedicated this year 2017 as a year of peace. Hence, this holy week of Easter celebrations, represents an excellent opportunity to provide us with a strong hope for peace, stability and a new life through prayer, reflection, reconciliation and dialogue.

 I would like to extend my sincere congratulation to all Iraqis together with my sincere wishes of peace and prosperity for our beloved Iraq.

May God keep the Resurrection for all of us.

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