The Chaldean Patriarchate:
Guide and Compass for its People
Christianity entered Mesopotamia and surrounding regions with the Apostles and Disciples of the Lord, and, as early as the third century, it established its administrative center in the twin-cities of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, near Babylon; thereafter, with the Mongolian invasion, it shifted its patriarchal chancery to the North, until the foundation of the Iraqi state, when Baghdad became the capital and to it the patriarchate moved, returning again into the vicinity of Babylon.
The Chaldean Catholic Church--the major remaining segment of the Apostolic Church of the East – clergy and faithful – has always looked at her Patriarch, especially in turbulent times, as the most secure guide and compass providing direction in public life. The Chaldean Patriarchate has always been, for hierarchy and people, by Church canons and historic factuality, the axis of encounter of the whole faithful family, it being the house of the patriarch, the recognized head and father of his people.
Disagreement between hierarchs, since the era of Peter and Paul, never lacked in ecclesiastic circles. Nevertheless, loyalty to Christ and commitment to the well-being of his Church, moderation and the spirit of brotherhood, and more concretely the Canon Law regulations, standards and procedures do and should prevail among the different positions, leading to resolutions that deserve general acceptance and endorsement.
The last few years were and remain the time of overwhelming hardship for the Chaldean people and all Iraqis in general, beyond the ordinary management capacity of any administrative authority, civil or ecclesiastic. For all the Christian shepherds, particularly the Chaldean clergy, it is a heroic act of faithfulness to Christ and ecclesiastic duty to remain with their flocks in Baghdad and other major cities of Iraq, where the specter of kidnapping, torture and martyrdom is a daily vision. Despite his age and frail health, Mar Emmanuel III is constantly there with his flock, doing what is doable at the present circumstance for the sake of his people.
Certainly, a lot is duly expected from the Patriarchate in these tragic and critical times in regard to persecuted people and clergy, displaced families, fleeing refugees, dismantled communities, abandoned institutions…etc. Therefore it is the duty of all hierarchs to meet and dialogue with the Patriarch and support him, most of all in the context of canonical synods, these being the acknowledged forum for presenting comments and proposals and making valid decisions. Complaining and lamenting on the public stage is not what is needed at the present time. Doing what is doable, with the Patriarch, is the urgent and challenging call of duty.
Bishop Sarhad Yawsip Jammo