ASIA/IRAQ – Chaldean Patriarch: Western countries have encouraged the emigration of Christians

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Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) – The most painful issue that has hit the Iraqi Christian communities in recent years was their mass escape from Mosul and Nineveh Plain, when entire villages were evacuated one night before the advance of the Jihadist militia of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh), and many family groups “were encouraged by Western Countries to emigrate”. This is what Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako recalls in a letter released on the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle (July 3rd), inviting bishops, priests, religious men and women and faithful Chaldeans to strengthen the theological understanding of the Church and its mission in the “difficult circumstances” that mark the present moment. The Patriarch’s letter, released by the official channels of the Chaldean Patriarchate and sent to Fides, contains a strong appeal to unity for all, in the awareness that the Church is not only constituted by the Patriarch, bishops, and clergy but embraces all the faithful and calls into question the responsibilities of each of them. In particular, the Primate of the Chaldean Church addresses all Chaldean politicians and their organizations, inviting them to come out of their litigious individualism and to join forces to contribute together to peace and national reconstruction. Now, after the liberation of the regions that for three years had been under the control of Daesh – emphasized Patriarch Sako in the final part of the letter – the primary goal is to “stay and work for our Country”, generously contributing to campaigns to promote the return of expatriates and displaced persons to their lands and homes. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 3/7/2017)