lunedì, luglio 11, 2016


Diaconal ministries implemented in Iraq

The Chaldean Archbishop Habib Jajou and Dr Ekhlas Almaqdacy joined 16 theologians and religious leaders in Beirut, Lebanon between 7 and 9 June 2016.
The participants worked ‘to deepen the understanding of social diakonia as integral part of the Church’s mission, and to strengthen the diaconal capacity of the churches in the region.’The meeting was organized by the World Churches Council (WCC) and the Middle East Churches council (MECC).
In his report, the Archbishop spoke about the current situation in Iraq where ‘the Church is facing very critical years and numerous challenging issues: immigration, daily violence, institutionalisation of injustice, marginalization and destruction of the community, broken marriages, the dilemmas between multiculturalism and religion and so on.’
But, ‘Christians are struggling to get their dignity and rights where they are facing the spread and control of the Islamic culture; harassment on account of their faith in education, employments, and almost in everything’ he added.
The Archbishop stated that in diakonia, people are respected, and some of Iraqi faithful, after years of suffering, have become witnesses of faith in different parts of the society. But, they are under the pressure of migration to the West where part of them says “enough is enough”.He said ‘The migration dilemma is not the only reason; we are facing a corrupt economy, and the church is unable to establish projects for them because it has no financial resources due to wars over the last 36 years.’ Below are quotations from his speech:
‘The church has a mission to continue opening the door of hope for the people and diakonia is an essential issue in our programs. We have a call to stay and serve not only our community, but also the big community (other ethnic and religious groups). The priority is to serve those who are displaced from their homes (only after June 2014 there were more than 120000 moved people) when Daesh (or ISIS) attacked Mosul and Nineveh plain.’
‘Diakonia groups are practising according to God’s vision for the option of the poor so that life may be possible for them. They are led by the Holy Spirit as a way of life in order the church may be witness to the on-going mission of our Lord.’
‘Since 1980, when the war between Iraq and Iran erupted, the diakonia ministries have been working hard to provide emergency humanitarian aid: Shelter, cloths, other health care, advocacy, and education for the poor as their lives have been turned upside down; A special care and help for the disabled and/or rejected people of different ages; Many dioceses centres have clinics to provide first aid, especially for children and women, providing financial aid towards medical expenses; Supporting the displaced University students from Mosul to Erbil for the academic year after 2014; Providing care and support for mentally challenged, and who lost their parents or who are too ill; Supporting poor students between primary and high schools, also summer camps for children, youth and adult; Trips outside Iraq to Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Italy. We thank the non-governmental and church organizations and all those who support them.’
‘Spiritually, the Liturgy, which has a significant role in their life is celebrated and practiced in churches, monasteries, houses, camps, and prisons.’ 
‘We encourage strengthen and supporting prophetic voices among diakonia; those grass roots have been reading signs of times in a special way seeking life, justice and peace, and meet faithful needs in crisis situation.’
‘The Iraqi Church works to support any creative ways to improve diakonia. This desire is important in this century as we face more and more challenges. Also, this support covers many cultural acts such as: art, folklore, language, music, sport, and computer science. It is worth mentioning the church’s essential responsibilities such as: catechism for children, youth and adults, engagement courses before marriage, and biblical studies. And recently, there is a new attention to describe the UN documents about human, woman and children Rights. We aim that they will have more social responsibility towards abuses or oppressions. Hence, we need to start new projects for: monitoring hatred speech and against discrimination or marginalization; employment issue; interreligious dialogue; and areas of counselling. All these ambitions need mutual responsibility especially by the Western Churches at least to those migrants in the neighbouring countries.’
‘Diakonia in Iraq is, on one hand, a dynamic and mobile mission; concentrates on the dignity of the human person, and on other hand, is a good tool to unite Christians especially people in need. It is inspired by the diakonia of God when He witnessed the affliction of his people. (Ex. 3: 7) His command is to love the poor in spirit, and through love they may be liberated to restore their dignity, serve better and have peace with them.  Jesus Christ brought glad tidings to the poor. He was sent to us to proclaim liberty to the captives and restoration of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. (Lk 4: 16) The Diakonia call teaches to be humble, and share life together with joy. Hence, it is more than serving the physical needs, but to transform them for better Christian personality.’
In the end he wished that diakonia (as salt of the earth) have power to encourage the faithful to speak loudly for their rights and defend people’s needs. Through diakonia, they proclaim Christian values and are able to make social action for their benefit.

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