Chaldean Patriarch suggests single unified patriarchate for Iraqi Christians

  • Written by:

Catholic World News
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako has made a dramatic appeal for unity among the embattled Christians of Iraq, suggesting that three ancient churches should combine in a single patriarchate, in full communion with the Holy See.
The Patriarch suggested a merger of the Chaldean Catholic Church with the Assyrian Church of the East and the smaller Ancient Church of the East. These two Eastern churches are not currently in communion with Rome. But in 1994 Mar Dinkha IV, the leader of the Assyrian Church of the East, and St. John Paul II issued a joint statement affirming their common faith, apparently ending the Christological disputes that had caused their separation. Two years later the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic patriarchate formed a commission to explore the prospect for unification.

(The Ancient Church of the East is an offshoot of the Assyrian Church, having split from the latter in 1964.)

Patriarch Louis Raphael suggested that he is willing to relinquish his post as Patriarch in order to make way for a new leader who would be recognized by all three Iraqi Christian bodies. The Assyrian Church of the East is currently without a leader. Following the death of Mar Dinkha IV in March, the Iraqi prelates decided to postpone election of a new leader until September because of the insecurity in their country.