Sweden opens church for 5,000 Christians who fled Middle East

  • Written by:

World Watch Monitor
A new church opened last week in the Swedish town of Södertalje, 30 kilometres south of Stockholm, for the estimated 5,000 to 6,000 Chaldean Catholics who have resettled there after fleeing their homes in the Middle East.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne, Germany, who participated in the inaugural service, explained to German radio that Chaldean Catholics form the largest Christian refugee group in Sweden.

His archdiocese helped to pay for the new church in the southern Swedish town, where more than 40 per cent of the current population is from the Middle East, having migrated en masse since 2003.

The cardinal said that in the year 2000 approximately 13,000 Chaldean Catholic families lived in Baghdad and Mosul, but today “there are only about 100 of them left”.

He added that many of those who fled don’t think they can return to their homelands, as persecution against Christians in the Middle East is ongoing.

While Chaldean Catholics make up the majority, the Christian community also includes members of the Armenian, Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholic Churches, as well as Melkites and Maronites, the Cardinal said.