by the Shepherd, Hierarchs, and Priests
Of the Chaldean Catholic Diocese
of Saint Peter the Apostle
From the Shepherd, Hierarchs, and Priests
of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle
to all the liturgical ministers, members of diocesan institutions, parochial boards and all the Chaldean & Assyrian faithful in our diocese: Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ.
January 6, 2012
Commemorating, on January 6, 2012, the fifth anniversary of the implementation in our diocese of the liturgical reform, as canonically recognized by the Holy See, mandated by the Chaldean Holy Synod, and promulgated by His Beatitude the Patriarch Mar Immanuel III Delly, we hereby collectively address our faithful on that subject and other pastoral matters, as an important segment of the program of celebrations that has been organized on the occurrence of the tenth anniversary of the establishment of our eparchy, to be culminated with a diocesan convention in San Diego from July 20-22, 2012.
I) Renewal of Priestly Pledge
First of all, in this painful and critical juncture of our Chaldean Catholic Church history, we, the spiritual shepherds of our people in the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostle, do hereby renew our priestly pledge to our Lord Jesus Christ, to the hierarchs of our Catholic Church, and to our local communities, for continuous and faithful ministry according to the basic principles and pastoral policy of the Catholic Church as indicated to us by the authentic Church Magisterium and proper canonical laws and directives.
II) In Regard to the Hierarchical Structure of the Church
We hereby pledge our filial reverence and obedience to the hierarchs, shepherds of the Church, each one of us in his rank and canonical competence, as outlined in the relevant Eastern Canons.
Canon 7 - §2. This Church, constituted and organized as a society in this world, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.
Canon 281 - §1. The pastor is to be a presbyter to whom, as the principal cooperator of the eparchial bishop, is entrusted the care of souls as their proper shepherd in a determined parish under the authority of the same eparchial bishop.
Canon 370 - Clerics are bound by a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Roman Pontiff, the patriarch and the eparchial bishop.
Canon 371 - §2. Clerics are to accept and faithfully carry out every office, ministry, or function committed to them by the competent authority whenever, in the judgment of this same authority, the needs of the Church require it.
III) In Regard to the Liturgical Reform
We declare our collective and personal adherence to the officially and canonically formulated Chaldean Missal, approved by the Holy See and the Holy Chaldean Synod, and promulgated by His Beatitude Mar Emmanuel III Delly, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, with a fixed date for implementation (i.e., January 6, 2007) of which we are now celebrating the 5th anniversary.
The Urgency to Implement the Liturgical Reform
Liturgy being the heart of our spiritual life, and the Eucharistic Qurbana being the core of Christian Liturgy, we certainly must present to you, our faithful, all that is needed for your understanding of this fundamental act of worship and your participation in it, for the following reasons:
1. For dogmatic correctness: Without judging anyone, and with total due respect to the good intention of other Chaldean hierarchs, priests, ministers and faithful, we cannot neglect the objective fact of having some segments of the 1905 Missal, reproduced with minor modifications in 1971, as well as common practice, that are not in harmony with clear Catholic theology. For example, the hymn "Paghreh Da-Mshyha” is chanted to accompany the Presentation of the Gifts, its text being “the body of Christ and his precious blood are on the holy altar…,” before the elements of bread and wine are consecrated by the prayer of the anaphora.
2. In faithfulness to the command of the Lord: “Do this in memory of me.” Knowing that our Lord offered to the heavenly Father, in a manifest way, a “blessing” then a “thanksgiving,” asking us to do the same in his memory, so in a very similar manner in the Reformed Missal, we comply in full obedience, when we execute our Qurbana with our Mesopotamian apostolic anaphora, as restored to its original sections (Blessing-Thanksgiving-Memorial), reflecting the basic liturgical structure of the founding Supper of the Lord in a much adhesive manner.
3. In organic continuity with the Mesopotamian apostolic liturgical tradition: Architecturally adjusting our churches, most of all the sanctuary area, to be able to function in an eloquent expression of the scriptural way of worship, facing the central cross or Lord’s icon in the Presentation and Offering sections, and moving around to face the people when addressing them, in full adherence to the liturgical text and its meaning.
4. In compliance with the canons of the Church and the directives of the Holy See: With deep respect to all hierarchs, we claim humbly that our diocese intends to fully comply with the Law of the Catholic Church, as expressed in its canons and in the directives of the Holy See, and do it to the best of our collective ability. Indeed the Reformed Missal that we use, compared to the variety of local Missals in use at the present time, is the one with the approval of the Holy See, as requested by the Law of the Catholic Church:
Canon 657 - §1. The approval of liturgical texts, after prior recognitio of the Apostolic See, is reserved in patriarchal Churches to the patriarch with the consent of the synod of bishops of the patriarchal Church, in metropolitan Churches sui iuris to the metropolitan with the consent of the council of hierarchs; in other Churches this right rests exclusively with the Apostolic See, and, within the limits set by it, to bishops and to their legitimately constituted assemblies.
§2. The same authorities are also competent to approve the translations of these books meant for liturgical use, after sending a report to the Apostolic See in the case of patriarchal Churches and metropolitan Churches sui iuris.
Canon 668 - §1. Divine worship, if it is done in the name of the Church by a person legitimately appointed for this and through an act approved by the authority of the Church, is called public; if not, it is called private.
§2. For the regulation of divine public worship the competent authority is the one mentioned in canon 657, with due regard for canon 199, §1; no other person can add to, remove, or modify that which was established by this authority.
Canon 199 - §1. The eparchial bishop, as the moderator, promoter and guardian of the entire liturgical life in the eparchy committed to him, must be vigilant that it be fostered as much as possible and ordered according to the prescriptions and legitimate customs of his own Church sui iuris.
In regard to the directives see the Holy See’s document Instruction for the Application of the Liturgical Prescriptions in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches: http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/eastinst.htm.
IV) In regard to the Ecclesial Unity Movement
We hereby proclaim our obedience to the will of the Lord regarding his Church as being one Church whose visible head is Peter and his successors. We were and remain guided by the Canons relevant to this subject, as well as to the directives of the Holy Father. Furthermore, we present, to everyone concerned, our testimony to the factuality of the events that developed in our parishes and communities during the past a few years:
We witness that it has been a matter of religious conscience that has recently brought a whole group of Assyrian faithful, most of them formerly belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East, to the Chaldean Catholic Church. Our Diocese obeyed the mandate of the Lord and the guidance of the Church, and thus received the new brothers and sisters in faithfulness and with open hearts.
Canon 35 - Baptized non-Catholics coming into full communion with the Catholic Church should retain and practice their own rite everywhere in the world and should observe it as much as humanly possible. Thus, they are to be enrolled in the Church sui iuris of the same rite with due regard for the right of approaching the Apostolic See in special cases of persons, communities or regions.
Canon 896 - Whether it is a group or an individual, no obligation except what is necessary can be imposed on the Christian faithful who have been baptized in non-Catholic Churches or ecclesial communities and who ask of their own to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Canon 897 - A member of the Christian faithful of an Eastern non-Catholic Church is to be received into the Catholic Church with only the profession of the Catholic faith, after doctrinal and spiritual preparation according to each one's condition.
Canon 898 - §1. Besides the Roman Pontiff, the patriarch with the consent of the synod of bishops of the patriarchal Church, or the metropolitan of a metropolitan Church sui iuris with the consent of the council of hierarchs, can receive a bishop of an Eastern non-Catholic Church into the Catholic Church.
§2. The right of receiving anyone else into the Catholic Church pertains to the hierarch of the place, or if the particular law provides for it, also to the patriarch.
§3. The right of receiving individual laypersons into the Catholic Church belongs also to the parish priest, unless this is forbidden by particular law.
Canon 899 - The cleric of an Eastern non-Catholic Church entering into full communion with the Catholic Church can exercise his own sacred order according to the norms established by the competent authority; a bishop cannot validly exercise the power of governance except with the consent of the Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops.
We testify that the whole merging group, i.e., Bishop Bawai Soro along with four priests, dozens of deacons and thousands faithful – we mean those who persisted in staying within the structure of our parishes and Diocese – have shown integrity of the Catholic faith and honesty in fulfilling their personal duties, each in his or her own rank or position, and are today fully integrated into the structure of our parishes and Diocese.
We further proclaim that obedience to the grace of God is superior to any other local, partisan, or personal concern. We cannot in good conscience make the grace of God, touching the hearts and minds of people, to wait indefinitely for our approval's convenient time. We follow the path of the Holy Father, who in February 2010 encouraged the Catholic Conference of Bishops of England and Wales to accept the Anglican Converts with “a warm and open-hearted welcome … as a blessing for the entire Church.” Indeed this is a matter of conscience, canonicity and justice.
V) The Chaldean Church as the True and Principal Heir
of the Church of the East
The issue of ecclesial unity being a major matter for our Chaldean Church at large and our diocesan communities in particular, it is our duty to explain to you what is needed in our pastoral life in regard to the Chaldean Catholic Church as the true and principal heir of the Church of the East.
The Church of the East, as Catholic since its origin: It is a scriptural truth that the Lord Jesus established his church on the foundation of the twelve apostles, prominent among them and head being Simon Bar Yawna, whom the Lord called Kepa the Rock. It is an article of Catholic faith that the Bishops are the successors of the apostles and that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of Simon Kepa. Therefore, full communion with the bishop of Rome is an essential element of the constitution of the Church, as wanted by the Lord; every particular church is fashioned in that manner. Though the expression of Roman primacy took variant and developing shape through history, nevertheless, its factuality was and remains consistently present through the ages. The Church of the East, established from apostolic times east of the Euphrates River, encompassing initially Mesopotamia, Persia, and India, understood itself accordingly.
A major expression in the East of that understanding of full communion and dependency occurred in a regional synod, which gathered in the capital city of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in 410 AD, headed by the Catholicos of the East, Mar Isaac, with Mar Marutha, the representative of the "Western Fathers," i.e. the bishops of the Catholic Church west of the Euphrates in the Roman Empire. The College of Bishops east of the Euphrates received collectively the Canons formulated and adopted in the West, in regard to faith, liturgy, morals, and administration of the Church, thus showing that the Church of the East was, and recognized itself officially to be, an integral part, not the head, of the Church catholic. A follow-up Synod, held in 420 AD, confirmed and enhanced the same characteristics of catholicity.
Fifth Century Developments: Two factors drastically changed the healthy and serene ecclesial dynamics between Christian West and East during the 5th century:
1) Political tension between the Persian and Roman empires, causing embarrassment to the Christians East of the Euphrates, and instigating accusation of their dependency and submission to the West, led to the gathering of a new Eastern synod, held in 424 AD in an Arabic region, that declared ecclesial autonomy for the Church of the East, making her "Catholicos" the final Supreme Tribunal for his faithful and clergy.
2) The Christological controversy leading to the condemnation of Nestorius in the tumultuous Council of Ephesus (431 AD), followed by another Council, of Chalcedon (451 AD), that clarified further the Christological doctrine, making it more explicit and final. A following condemnation of Theodore of Mopsuestia that occurred in the “Three Chapters” pronouncements in 553, resulted in the drift of the Church of the East into an isolated course of ecclesiastic life for a millennium.
Though the Mesopotamian Church of the East is a great expression of Christian faith and ecclesial achievement, the negative ripple effects of these drastic factors were manifold through the centuries, and are found until the present time in the separated segment of this Church, called recently (1979) the “Assyrian Church of the East.”
The Assyrian Church of the East today in Regard to:
a) Christology: Since then the Christological doctrine of the Church catholic was: in Christ there are two natures in one Person; it was formulated, in the meantime, in the Church of the East in these terms: there is in Christ two natures, two "Qnome," and one Person. The ambivalence is in the meaning of the term "Qnoma," which may indicate a hypostasis in the sense of a concrete self-standing individual, or an individuality in the sense of an individualized nature, i.e. with individual properties. Moreover, standing in defense of the person of Theodore and Nestorius, and refusing to use at all the commonly recognized title of Mary "Mother of God," made the Church of the East to be labeled "Nestorian" and therefore heretical for Catholics and Orthodox alike. This is the stand of the Assyrian Church of the East today.
b) Ecclesiology: Christianity East of the Euphrates, up to the Chinese See, formed its own ecclesiastic organization whose center was the Catholicos, then Patriarch, of Seleucia-Ctesiphon (with later residence in Baghdad), with the title of Patriarch of Babylon as the ultimate historic reference. Despite many attempts of rapprochement between the hierarchs of this church and the See of Rome, autonomy and isolation have marked the ecclesial life of this glorious and enduring church, resulting today in a conscious and persistent denial and rejection of the juridical primacy of the See of Rome in the Assyrian Church of the East.
c) Liturgy: The Mesopotamian Anaphora of Addai and Mari remained the only original ritual for Eucharistic consecration maintaining its Apostolic core without the addition of the narrative of Eucharistic Institution, mingled with the passage of time with many additions, some of them legendary like the Malka* story of holy leaven tracing itself back to the Last Supper. In the 6th century, two Anaphoras were added, under the names of Theodore and Nestorius, combining in their structure the 5th-6th Century Antiochian pattern with the ancient Mesopotamian one. Though in 2001 the Holy See fittingly and properly recognized the archaic Anaphora of Addai and Mari as a valid prayer of consecration, the assertion of the Assyrian Church of the East in the “Malka” as necessary for validity makes the Eucharistic theology of that church deficient.
d) Sacramental Theology: A major ambivalence is to be noticed in regard to Matrimony, being included by some Mesopotamian theologians (Mar Timothy II, +1318) in the list of Sacraments, but not included in the list of others, noticeably 'Abdisho' d-Soba whose List of Sacraments** is formally adopted by the hierarchy of the Assyrian Church of the East. Furthermore, the Unction of the Sick, while available in the liturgical books, became obsolete in contemporary Assyrian Church of the East pastoral life , as also happened with the Sacrament of Absolution or Reconciliation, thus making deficient both the theological doctrine and sacramental practice of the Assyrian Church of the East, in that regard.
e) Iconography: With the heavy influence of the Old Testament and the Moslem cultural surrounding, most churches and monasteries of the Church of the East were deprived of Icons, in opposition to dogmatic definitions overwhelmingly prevailing in East and West, Catholic and Orthodox, against popular and enriched piety, against faith expressions in Christian art, and in contrast with the ancient and official heritage of the Church of the East itself. This rejection of holy icons remains until today the belief practice of the Assyrian Church of the East.
f) Basic Canon Law and Patriarchal Dynasty: The collapse of monastic life in the 14th-15th century ended up in a penury of candidates for episcopacy, resulting in the adoption of a hereditary system of succession for the office of patriarch and metropolitans, from uncle to nephew, which caused a major alienation in ecclesial life. This system was followed by the original dynasty of the Church of the East from Shim'un Basidi (1437-1497) up to the last of the Abuna patriarchs, Yohannan Hormiz, who finalized ecclesial unity with Rome in 1830; it was followed as well by the successors of Sulaka’s line, who, settling in Qochanis with Shim'un XIII Denha (1662-1700), and remaining in it until the atrocities of World War I, severed communion ties with Rome around 1700, while readopting the heredity system up to the late patriarch Shim’un XXIII (+1975), whose successor is the present patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV (III).
g) Priestly Celibacy: While the Christian East has continuously allowed married men to become priests, it does not allow ordained priests to marry. Nevertheless, against basic canon law and fundamental theology and spirituality, and in fact emulating Bar Sawma (+496) the Nestorian bishop of Nisibis, the contemporary Assyrian Church of the East allows ordained celibate Chaldean Catholic priests, who solemnly accepted perpetual celibacy in the Catholic Church, to marry, forfeiting by their own arbitrary will their priestly obligation made to the Lord God; moreover, they are given parishes by the schismatic Church and are fully allowed to exercise the priestly ministry. Furthermore, as a matter of fact, for more than a century, not one monastery or convent existed within the separated segment now called the Assyrian Church of the East. What a spiritual desolation!
Major Historic Stations of the Unity Movement:
Biblical and Christian Mesopotamia, with Babylon, or its neighboring cities, as the patriarchal center geographically and culturally, has been a great historic reference for many spiritual and intellectual matters; nevertheless, ambivalence in major dogmatic, moral, and canonical issues, as shown above, was to be observed in its doctrinal core for generations, ending up in the middle of the XV century with malaise then internal schism, in order to rectify serious shortcomings and ambiguities.
With Metropolitan Timothy in Cyprus:
A regional moment of truth came in the "Nestorian" Diocese of Cyprus, within the negotiations of the Lateran Council under the leadership of its Metropolitan Timothy, who concluded a pact of unity with the Pope of Rome in 1445 AD with these his words: "I, Timothy, Archbishop of Tarsus for the Chaldeans and Metropolitan of those of them who are in Cyprus...will remain always under your obedience…and the obedience of the Holy Roman Church, it being the mother and head of all Churches."
With Yohannan Sulaqa (1551-1553 AD):
A major wave of ecclesial unity occurred one century later, when three bishops of the Church of the East, i.e. of of Arbil, of Salamas and of Urmia, decided to attempt a major and decisive reform of their apostolic church, and Rome was the valid reference. They needed the recognition and consecration of a new patriarch, whom they elected in the person of Yohannan Sulaqa, the abbot of their major monastery of Rabban Hormizd. To make their point, they sent him with credentials and a great entourage to Jerusalem, and from there he continued to Rome, which he reached on 15 November 1552, with a small delegation.
The Chaldean Catholic Church today in Regard to:
1) Christology, by accepting all the Ecumenical councils including the Council of Ephesus and the Council of Chalcedon, confessing our Lord Jesus Christ as one Person in two complete natures, the divine and the human, and praying with great Catholic piety the Ave Maria including the popular Marian title "Mother of God." Furthermore, for the Chaldean theologian who would like to use the terms of his Mesopotamian School, including the term "Qnoma," this subtle term of the eastern approach may be used, even within a defendable presentation, as a conceptual theological enrichment, and be considered as a relevant contribution to Catholic doctrine, i.e. by understanding "Qnoma" not as "independent person" but as "individuated nature." Thus, we could say that Christ is one Person in whom two individuated natures (the divine and the human) consist, each of them preserving its individual properties referred to as Qnome.
2) Ecclesiology: In line with Mar Isaac the Catholicos of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, 'Abdisho' Archbishop of Sawba recognized (around 1320 AD) the "Patriarch of Rome" as the Head of all patriarchs, including the Patriarch of Babylon, he being the First among them. Similarly, several liturgical, canonical and patristic documents profess the primacy of Rome and its Bishop, because in it Peter and Paul terminated their apostolate and ministry, in it received the crown of martyrdom, and in it their tombs are venerated. The Chaldean Church pioneered and became first, among all Eastern Churches, in realizing full communion with Rome since 1553.
3) Liturgy: With faithfulness to basic Mesopotamian Apostolic tradition, all liturgical books have being adjusted and completed to express orthodox Christology, Catholic sacramental theology and system, and rich devotional and popular practices. The provision of an authentic liturgical reform with organic growth is at the present time at hand, and may become the dynamic engine for a genuine collective renaissance.
4) Sacramental Theology: The Chaldean Catholic Church, clergy and people, live solidly a spiritual life in the ecclesiastic framework of the Seven Sacraments, enriched by many educational programs and seasonal and daily devotions: Catechism courses, Absolution Rite and First Communion, Bible Studies, Way of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration, Month of Our Lady, Month of St. Joseph...etc. An authentic eastern spirituality could not at all be compromised, but very genuinely enriched by the heritage of the Church universal.
5) Iconography: Though many, including some Chaldean clergy, think that the tradition of the ancient Church of the East does not include icons, this belief is certainly a mistake if we consider the relevant documents that precede Islam. Therefore, the Chaldean Catholic Church in its current common practice, that rejects iconoclasm, not only adheres to the orthodox doctrine, but reflects also faithfully the genuine Mesopotamian tradition.
6) The Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon in direct line of succession with Original Apostolic dynasty: A continuous chain of hierarchs, reaching to and beginning with the Apostles Thomas and Addai and Mari, is found in the history books of the Church of the East. This Church, falling under the shifting conditions of empires and rulers, with the changing of capitals, adopted the stable title of "Patriarch of Babylon" for its supreme hierarch since the beginning of the 14th century, and settled for patriarchal residence in Alqosh, Northern Iraq, during the 15th century and substituted the canonical electoral system with a hereditary system from uncle to nephew (with the renowned family name of Bi-Abuna). While Youhannan Sulaka was recognized by Rome as the Patriarch of the Catholic segment of the Church of the East in 1553, a new patriarchal dynasty began with him, side by side with the original dynasty. The last patriarch of this original dynasty, Yohannan Hormizd, united himself and his Church with the Holy See and was recognized by Rome as Patriarch of Babylon in 1830. The current patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Mar Emmanuel III Delly, is the direct descendent of that apostolic dynasty.
7) Priestly and Monastic Celibacy: In faithfulness to the evangelic Lordly councils, the institutions of monastic life thrive today in the Chaldean Catholic Church, the celibate priesthood is also the common condition of the priestly ministry. A priest who has solemnly accepted celibacy in dedication to the Kingdom, if he fails to maintain it, must request absolution from none other than the Roman Pontiff, and if granted he must cease fully the exercise of priestly ministry. Therefore, those Chaldean priests who departed from their Catholic Church and joined the separated Assyrian Church of the East have dared to absolve themselves from the priestly commitment to celibacy, attempted marriage with the active participation of the clergy of that separated Church and with the approval of the hierarchy of that same church, are, by the force of the Canon Law of the Church universal, removed from all ecclesiastic office and, by joining a church which is not in full communion with the successor of Peter, have made themselves deprived of full communion with the Catholic Church. Therefore, all sacramental and ministerial services that these priests may be willing to offer are to be considered illegitimate, illicit and scandalous to our faithful. See for this matter the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches:
Canon 976: §1. One is removed from an ecclesiastical office by the law itself:
1° who has lost the clerical state;
2° who has publicly defected from the Catholic faith or from the communion of the Catholic Church;
3° a cleric who has attempted marriage even if only civilly.Canon 396: Except for the case in which the invalidity of sacred ordination has been declared, loss of the clerical state does not carry with it a dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, which is granted only by the Roman Pontiff.
VI) In Regard to our Eastern Liturgical and Spiritual Heritage
We hereby pledge our faithfulness to our own Eastern Chaldean spiritual and liturgical heritage and identity, with its scriptural and apostolic core, as eloquently formulated and expressed through the Aramaic language and culture, this being done in accord with the directives of the Catholic Church as mandated in its Canons and Magisterial Documents.
Canon 40 - §3. Christian faithful are also to foster an understanding and appreciation of their own rite, and are held to observe it everywhere unless something is excused by law.
Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches (Vatican II):
§4. Finally, each and every Catholic, as also the baptized members of any non-Catholic church or community who come to the fullness of Catholic communion, must retain each his own rite wherever he is, and follow it to the best of his ability, without prejudice to the right of appealing to the Apostolic See in special cases affecting persons, communities or districts.
§5. All members of the Eastern Churches should be firmly convinced that they can and ought always to preserve their own legitimate liturgical rites and ways of life, and that changes are to be introduced only to forward their own organic development. They themselves are to carry out all these prescriptions with the greatest fidelity. They are to aim always at a more perfect knowledge and practice of their rites, and if they have fallen away due to circumstances of times or persons, they are to strive to return to their ancestral traditions.
For further details, see the Instruction of the Holy See for the application of the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches (Vatican 1996, No. 107).
We, as shepherds and faithful, celebrate our coming together in our beloved St. Peter Diocese, always envisioning ourselves as an integral part of our cherished Chaldean Church, which herself is a precious jewel in the crown of the Catholic Church.
Since its conception, the Chaldean Church has been endowed with many characteristics, three of which we emphasize:
(i) inheriting one of the most ancient cultures of human civilization, namely, the Mesopotamian culture, with its center in Babylon, interwoven with the Scriptural Abrahamic tradition, and having a special ministry call in the salvation of mankind;
(ii) being founded by the Apostles and preserving their genuine heritage; and
(iii) being safeguarded by the grace of the Spirit in the integrity of doctrine of faith, in worship, and ecclesial life, through her communion with the Successor of Saint Peter, the Bishop of Rome.
Commemorating today the fifth anniversary of the liturgical reform, which has ostensibly animated a genuine spiritual revival in our parishes and institutions, we call upon all of our Diocesan faithful and communities to value and commit themselves to the same course of renewal and canonicity, to which we ourselves are dedicating our lives and priestly ministry.
To affirm our commitment to this pastoral letter we hereby affix our signatures unanimously below and promulgate it on Friday, the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, January 6, 2012:
I. Diocesan Eparch:
Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo
II. Diocesan Board:
Bishop Bawai Soro, Chancellor
Msgr. Sabri Kejbo, Archdeacon
Msgr. Felix Shabi, Chorbishop
Father Noel Gorgis
Father Andrew Younan
Father Michael J. Bazzi
Father Poulos Ghozairan
Msgr. Samuel Dinkha, Chorbishop
Father Andrawis Toma
Father Awraha Mansour
Father Michael Barota
IV. Parochial Vicars:
Father Peter Lawrence
Father Tomy Tomikeh
Father Pieter Georgis
V. Assistants & Visitors:
Msgr. Polis Khammi, Chorbishop
Father Mikhael Mansoor
Father Reemon Sarkees
Father Saeed Ballo
Father Hormiz Petrous