In Iraq, Chaldeans Face a Low-key Christmas

BAGHDAD, Iraq, DEC. 13, 2004 ( This Christmas will likely be a somber one in northern Iraq.

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Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, concerned about the spread of violence, has announced that his community will live this Christmas without great celebrations.

In statements to Fides, the prelate said his Christmas message to the faithful notes that «many families have lost relatives or children, victims of fundamentalist groups or attacks against churches in Mosul and Baghdad.»

«Therefore, we have decided that we will not organize receptions during the Christmas days,» he said. «We will pray for our country, that the Lord will grant peace to our land.»

Archbishop Sako added that the Catholic faithful will express their solidarity with «Muslim brothers who have been unable to celebrate the feast of Id-al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan.»

The Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad, Archbishop Emmanuel III Delly, told Vatican Radio today that «despite the attacks against churches and the bishop’s palace of Mosul» on Dec. 7, «we go forward.»

«Many Muslims have come to see us to express their regret,» he said. «We never forget what the Holy Father is doing for Iraq so that peace and security will be established in this country, martyred for so many years.»

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