The Chaldean Church Synod met for its annual meeting on 22-27 September in Ankawa, a Christian neighbourhood in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
In its final statement, which was sent to AsiaNews, the
Synod renewed its call for evangelisation. In the Jubilee Year of Mercy,
the Chaldean Church has " to show a sense of responsibility, love, and
hope" and “call to all our priests, monks, nuns and faithful to [bear]
witness to Christ and his teaching”.
Each bishop, said the press release, “should feel free to study the
subject of ordaining deacons and married priests" and select “those who
have good spiritual, cultural, pastoral qualities and” have them go
“through a well-prepared course before their ordination.”
His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael Sako chaired the meeting attended by
20 Chaldean bishops from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, the United States,
Canada and Australia.
Only Mgr Sarhad Jammo, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of St Peter the Apostle in San Diego (USA) was absent.
In the recent past, he clashed with the Chaldean patriarchate over
the issue of rebel priests and monks. This long confrontation sparked
tensions within the Church, and raised fears about a possible mini-schism.
During the Synod, three candidates were selected for the Diocese of
St Peter the Apostle in San Diego, and their names will be submitted to
Pope Francis for a final choice.
Any decision with respect to vacant dioceses was postponed to the next Synod in order to see how the situation evolves in Mosul.
The final statement did refer to rebel priests and monks, noting that
"Synod members agreed that priests and monks who left their dioceses
and monasteries without formal permission had to leave their current
dioceses immediately”. As their action raised “doubts among faithful,”
they can resume their old positions only “after a month or two of
In addition to encouraging the “faithful to participate in the
Church's life”, the Synod focused on “monastic and priestly vocations”.
Recognising that men are women religious have to deal with
“challenges and obstacles such as immigration, birth control, new
culture and social media, the instability of the country, [and] role
model(s),” it is necessary to stress the “role of the mentor as well as
the necessity of focusing on psychology, education and sustainable”
The bishops also called for peace in Iraq and “the liberation of all
the seized land, so that [the] displaced can return to their homes”.
They also prayed with their brother Antoine Audo, bishop of Aleppo,
renewing their call to “stop the war in Syria”, and urging
decision-makers to engage “in a constructive dialogue to find a peaceful
political solution that preserves the country and the nation”.
The statement also reiterated the bishops’ commitment to support the
family, following the directives outlined by Pope Francis in the
Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
Lastly, it noted that the list of all Saints mentioned in the
Chaldean liturgy and traditions will be submitted with a support letter
from 2016 synod to the Holy See to speed up the beatification and
canonization process of Chaldean martyrs.