mercoledì, marzo 06, 2013


Speech by His Beatitude, Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Church Patriarch for the ceremony of his enthronement

By Baghdadhope*

Baghdadhope publishes its translation of the

Speech by His Beatitude,
Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Church Patriarch
for the ceremony of his enthronement
March 6, 2013, St Joseph's Cathedral - Baghdad

1. I thank you with all my heart for your presence and your participation to the ceremony for my enthronement. I, Louis, your brother sharing the tribulations, the kingdom and the wait in Jesus (Rev 1:9) came to you from Mosul, where I grew up,  studied and served as a priest, and from Kirkuk, the city of the eternal fire, where I served as a bishop and that I left in tears to be back today in Baghdad, the city of peace, where in the past I directed the Patriarchal Seminary and taught at the Faculty of Theology of Babel College. I thank God and my fellow bishops in the Patriarchal Synod for choosing me thus allowing me to return to Baghdad as a Patriarch, as a Father who opens his heart and his mind to everyone following the motto that marks my path: authenticity, unity and renewal. The world around us has changed and we must change too: the Church must be renewed because a renewal is needed and to not accept it means to live in the past. We will therefore update our liturgy and our teaching methods and we will renew, with determination and courage, the structures of our Church in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and the Apostolic Exhortation "The Church in the Middle East," so that the faithful can understand and better participate in its rituals in order to draw closer to Christ and to their Church.

2. I am not naive to not see the situation we are in and the challenges and the dangers we face, and I refuse to close my eyes not to see them. My responsibility is huge and heavy, but I have great hope in you because together we can face reality with courage, objectivity and lucidity.

3. The Chaldean Church is the church with the highest number of faithful in Iraq and I express my sincere desire to work with the Assyrian Church of the East and the other churches, especially through the '"Assembly of Heads of Christian Churches" to get the Christian unity for which our Lord Jesus Christ prayed, and to witness together His love, His forgiveness and His salvation. Together with the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs I would like to study how to apply the instructions set in the Apostolic Exhortation "The Church in the Middle East" in our local reality strengthening the sense of community and living our testimony.

4. I will work with my Muslims, Yazidis and Mandaeans brothers, our brothers in our homeland, to consolidate the foundations of coexistence and spread the values of justice, freedom and equality insisting on dialogue with my esteemed brothers, the Muslim leaders, Shiites and Sunnis. I thank God for having always had an excellent relationship with them both in Mosul and in Kirkuk where they, thanks to that relationship, used to say to me: "You're different." Today, starting from our peaceful religious mission open to our brothers in humanity, I renew my desire to work together to spread the culture of dialogue, peace, familiarity, brotherhood and mutual respect, and for our churches and mosques being  spiritual and human centers as God the Merciful wants them to be. In this way God’s will and the beatitude assured by Jesus to  the peacemakers will be accomplished.

5. As a Church we are not far from the events that occur, but we follow them attentively and praying without seeking privileges or pursue personal interests. We would like to build bridges of love and cooperation with all religious and ethnic components in order to promote coexistence and give dignity to everyone. Starting from a national and human duty I implore all the rulers and the politicians to adopt the tools of dialogue, moderation and conciliation, and to avoid all forms of intolerance, hatred and violence. The last years have been full of dangers and the fear of death still looms over our people. This situation cannot end if not through love, cooperation and loyalty towards our homeland. Stop blood and destruction! True greatness is in service, in sacrifice and in sowing what is good and honorable, not through predominance.

6. Peace is a project to be realized through integration and harmony, when everyone feels responsible for his acts and opens his mind to welcome everyone without discrimination. When everyone respects  the other our society can get rid of many problems. Our prayer and our hope are addressed to the quick return of peace and stability in our plagued country for its spiritual, scientific, economic and social recovery.

7. At this point I turn my attention to the Christians and I say to them: I know your fears, but I invite you to raise their barriers and to experience the reality with faith and hope. You are not a minority in this country, you have been living here for two thousand years and you are originally from this country. Together with the Muslims who came from the Arabian peninsula you have contributed to the building of Arab and Muslim culture through translations, writings and the "Bayt al-Hikma" (House of Wisdom). You lived with them the good and the bad. Why the little flock is still afraid? Rediscover your identity, read the depth of, reality, understand well the meaning of your presence and your testimony. Stay together to be a vibrant community that contributes to the building of the future of your country. Do not isolate yourself and do not emigrate whatever pressures you are under can be, this is your country and the contribution you can give to it does not depend on your number but on your attitude. If the migration continues at its present pace, God forbid, there will be a day in which the Middle Eastern Christians will be just part of the past after having been a source of life. If the Christians stay in their country or not is an Arab and Muslim responsibility.

8. Greetings and thanks.

9. I ask for your prayers so that the Lord will help me to continue what my predecessor had started in this Patriarchal See: to be strong in our faith, to spread the message of Christ with purity, to realize the will of God in my life and in the life of the Church He has entrusted to me. I say as Isaiah sad: "Here am I, send me" (Isaiah 6:8).
Thank you! May God give us the strength and be with us to serve the Church, the homeland, the people.

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