Chaldean Catholic bishops have said that priests and monks who left their dioceses and monasteries in Iraq without formal permission to emigrate are “raising doubts among [the] faithful”.
A statement by 20 bishops urged these priests and monks to “leave their current dioceses [abroad] immediately”.
The statement also said the Chaldean Church would proceed with the
cause for canonisation of Catholics martyred in Iraq since 2003,
including Archbishop Faraj Rahho, Fr Ragheed Kani, four deacons and a
The bishops, meeting for their annual synod, pleaded for peace in the
Middle East and for the liberation of areas seized by the Islamic State
group so that the displaced could return to their homes.
Chaldeans were among the approximately 120,000 Christians who were
uprooted when the Islamic State seized Mosul and the Nineveh Plain in
Iraq during the summer of 2014.
In the final statement issued at the conclusion of the September
22-27 synod, the 20 bishops from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the United
States, Canada and Australia also expressed their solidarity with Bishop
Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria, one of the participants.
They called for officials to “stop the war in Syria and sit together
in a constructive dialogue to find a peaceful political solution that
preserves the country and the nation.”
They also urged clergy who had emigrated from Iraq without permission
to return home.
“We could accept them, on condition that one of the
Chaldean bishops can accommodate them after a month or two of
rehabilitation,” the statement continued.
“Meanwhile, [those] priests
should return to their bishops to regularise their status before
commencing their pastoral mission.” They confirmed that Chaldean Fr Noel
Gorgis, who had emigrated without permission, had been ordered to leave
the Eparchy of St Peter the Apostle in San Diego.
The synod selected three candidates for bishop of the San Diego
eparchy to be sent to Pope Francis. Bishop Shlemon Warduni has been
serving as interim bishop of the eparchy since the retirement of Bishop