Baghdad – During the pre-Christmas retreat for priests and deacons of the Chaldean Archieparchy in Baghdad, held on Monday, December 21 in Baghdad in the presence of Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I, the Primate of the Chaldean Church invited those present to favor a simple Christmas celebration and to focus on the essential features of the Christian solemnity, without being distracted by social occasions and gatherings. This year – report official sources of the Patriarchate, consulted by Agenzia Fides – the dramatic situation experienced by Christian communities in Iraq, also because of lack of interest and breaches of public institutions, suggests Pastors of the Chaldean Church to decline the traditional convivial meetings with political and religious representatives to exchange greetings, which in the past characterized the Christmas period. A sobriety motivated in particular by the sufferings and uncertainty about the future that the Iraqi Christian communities are experiencing. Among the reasons, the Patriarch recalled the situation of abandonment of Christian refugees who fled from the Nineveh Plain under the offensive of the jihadist Islamic State , the failure to amend the law that imposes children to become Muslims in the event of conversion to Islam of a parent, and also the posters which appeared recently on the walls in Baghdad, asking for Christian women to wear the veil.
That of 2015 – suggested the Chaldean patriarch – will be for all a Christmas of prayer and meditation, to find the consolation that one can have only thanks to the announcement of the birth of Jesus at the beginning of the Year of Mercy.For Christmas Mass, the Primate of the Chaldean Church will open the Door of Mercy in the tent that functions as a chapel for about a thousand Christians in a refugee camp in Baghdad. Two other holy doors were already open by the Patriarch: the church dedicated to the Addolorata and the Chaldean Cathedral of St. Joseph.