Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Chaldean Patriarch
Mar Louis Raphael Sako released his Easter
message to the faithful today and sent it to
In it, he describes Iraq as the "cradle
of civilisation", a country of "fortune and
glory" that was transformed into a place of
"disasters" by the "wicked who came to rob
and kill’ which has meant a loss of
“security, stability and wealth” so that
many of its citizens now feel "humiliated".
However, this background of violence and
tragedy "should not make us despair". On the
contrary, the Iraqi people "must observe
these events with the gaze of faith" in the
risen Christ and "analyse it from an
historical and political point of view".
Addressing the faithful who marking in
Holy Week celebrations with enthusiasm and
participation, His Beatitude exhorts them to
use difficulties as an "element of unity".
He urges them to "work together" for the
future of the country, overcoming
"differences in religion, race, colour or
the concept of majority and minority".
This opportunity must be exploited to
"build trust" and work "hand in hand" to put
an end to suffering [. . .] by accepting our
From 2003 to now, the Christian
population in Iraq has more than halved. The
numbers confirm the outflow: from about a
million and half in 2000 to about half a
The US war in Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein
gave extremists an excuse to attack
Christians as proxies of the American
invaders, up to the rise of the Islamic
State whose violence and terror forced many
"Every Iraqi citizen must feel
responsible from a moral and national
perspective for this situation,” says the
Chaldean patriarch. At the same time,
everyone “can contribute personally or in
group” to solving it.
To overcome difficulties, one must
overcome a "conventional" mindset and
promote "the notion of citizenship" by
adopting a "language of peace, solidarity
Citing the upcoming political elections
in May, he said that they represent a
"golden opportunity" for "change".
For this reason, "I urge all Iraqis to
vote for the best possible candidate, that
our wishes may become reality" and benefit
“a strong and prosperous nation at the
social, economic, educational and cultural
In such a place, the law will "protect"
the weak and be the same for everyone. "Iraq
is for all of us; it is our identity and our
refuge.” At the same time, “The religious
sphere concerns only God and must be
protected from distortions and
In his plea, Mar Sako calls on people "to
vote aware that (the Creator) wants us to
live as brothers and sisters with pride,
freedom, dignity and happiness. He is the
God of life, peace, love, and mercy."
Finally, the primate of the Iraqi Church
notes that “We must always carry in our
hearts the message of resurrection that
Christ entrusts us at Easter". This means
that we "live with passion" as an element of
strength and change.
"We have seen orphans, widows, and
homeless people overcome sorrow after
meeting someone who shared their pain, loved
them and gave them hope."
"The resurrection means that God loves us
as a father and that we are in his hands.”
“Do you believe in me? This is the
question that we are asked amid our
tragedies, that we may change our way of
thinking and face every element of life."