Chaldean Patriarch: Church in Iraq Ruined After US-Led Invasion

Highlights Diminishing Presence of Christians Since Iraq War

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The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq has said the Church in his country is «ruined» eleven years after the US-led invasion of Iraq.

“1,400 years of Islam could not uproot us from our land and our churches, while the policies of the West [have] scattered us and distributed us all around the world,” Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako said.

The patriarch, who has governed the Eastern Catholic Church since February 2013 said, “intervention by the West in the region did not solve the problems» but instead «produced more chaos and conflict.”

“Democracy and change come through upbringing and education rather than through conflict,” he added.  

Before Saddam Hussein’s regime, the patriarch said there had been about 5,000 families and over 240 students preparing for their First Holy Communion in the Church of the Ascension. Yet, late this April, he celebrated the Holy Mass for First Holy Communion with “13 students only.”

Iraqi authorities are partially responsible for “this migration for failing to restore security and stability,” he said.

The patriarch has called upon Muslim clerics to issue a joint statement, denying violence and mistrust of all forms and ending considering others as «‘infidels.'» It should call “’for peace and brotherhood among the people,’” he said.

In a recent interview with Agence France-Presse, Patriarch Sako increased awareness of Iraqi Christians’ diminishing presence and the dangers they face. (D.C.L.)

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