In response to His Beatitude (H. B.) Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako’s invitation, the Synod of the Chaldean Church held its’ annual meeting, 7-13 August 2018, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Baghdad. Bishops of different dioceses participated, including Australia, America, Canada, Europe, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, bearing in mind concerns and hope of their people, particularly the current situation in Iraq and the region as well as the challenges facing them in diaspora. Synod Bishops commenced the opening session by thanking God for: the return of a good number of the Internally Displaced People (DPIs) to their towns in Nineveh Plain; the relative improvement of security in Iraq; and the pastoral achievements in the dioceses
In conclusion, they issued the following statement:
First: Ecclesiastical Affairs
Synod participants reviewed the situation of their dioceses inside and outside Iraq; chose bishops for the vacancies; discussed their needs, especially the urgent need for well-prepared priests, nuns and monks, who will keep the “Eastern Identity”, culture and traditions of each country; focused on the suffering of Christians and their fellow citizens in Iraq, due to ISIS occupation of Mosul and the towns of Nineveh Plain and the displacement of its’ residents, in addition to the decline in the political, economic and social status quo in Iraq.
On the other hand, Synod Fathers commended the efforts made by the Churches, who is still working hard to provide social and humanitarian assistance, besides the restoration of homes in order to encourage the return of the rest of displaced families. Hence, Synod members assured their commitment to stand by Iraqis and provide them with assistance as far as they could despite all the challenges.
Furthermore, Synod Fathers called upon faithful wherever are they, to be steadfast and patient in living their faith and hope; and to uphold the heritage, of their church, and ancestors along with the language. They also extended their sincere thanks to all the Ecclesiastical Institutions and International Civil Organizations that supported them during their long-suffering: “With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too, then, should throw off everything that weighs us down and the sin that clings so closely, and with perseverance keep running in the race which lies ahead of us, Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection” (Hebrews 12: 1-2).
Second: Public Affairs
Since, Iraqi Christians still await the forming of a strong national civil Government that provides them and all other Iraqi citizens with equality, freedom, democracy and decent life that respects pluralism, the Synod Fathers strongly support the contents of H. B.’s letter to Iraqi politicians, dated on 30 July 2018; endorse the efforts of Iraqis, especially those who showed a good will in building national unity; confront strictly the widespread corruption; and ensure the “accurate” functioning of constitutional institutions to work diligently for promoting Iraq economy and providing employment opportunities for the upcoming generations away from quotas and sectarianism. They also demand that Government help displaced families in restoring their homes, rehabilitating their infrastructure, maintaining their properties and stop the process of demographic change. At the same time they urge the international community help them having a decent and safe return.
In conclusion, Synod Fathers wish that the war in Syria and other Middle East countries will end and that everyone will make an effort to establish an everlasting peace in the region. They also appeal that the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran adopt dialogue and diplomatic means to resolve outstanding problems rather than impose punishing actions where innocent people always pay the price, especially that Iraqis have experienced thirteen years of sanction. Wars and sanctions won’t bring other than negative results.
Finally, Synod Fathers conveyed their best wishes to all Muslim sisters and brothers for the upcoming Eid al-Adha al Mubarak and extended their warmest congratulations and sincere wishes to continue living together in peace, stability and love.