His Excellency the Eparch of the Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostle, Bishop Mar Emanuel Shaleta;
Their Excellencies Bishops Mar Sarhad Jammo and Mar Bawai Soro;
Brother-Priests of the Diocese;
Beloved monks and nuns,
Dear sons and daughters of the Diocese from different parishes;
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7)
In all honesty, I would like to thank all of you for your welcoming hearts, love, faith and your affection to Christ and your Chaldean Church, above anything else. During our pastoral visit, you were a living example of what a believer ought to be. Accordingly, we, more than once, stated to you that “you have a place in our hearts, and we are proud of you.” We are confident that you will continue the same with your new bishop. I ask you to embrace him: “Be in harmony with your bishop in everything you do… Be in harmony with him as the harp is with its strings” (The Letter of Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians, chapter 3).
My beloved, the days we spent with you were indeed a celebration. I thank, with deep gratitude, all the people who accompanied us throughout our visit and those who organized the celebrations and gatherings. Our thanks are extended as well to the Chaldean League for its diverse activities and its interest in the affairs of the Chaldean people.
My brothers and sisters: maintain the urgency for Christ in your hearts and attitudes. Loyalty must only be to Him and to the Church. “Everything belongs to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God” (I Corinthians 3:23). From this perspective, Christ shall remain your ultimate example in the road of examining God’s love, His mercy in pain, death and resurrection in an atmosphere of glory, light and joy.
I also call upon you to fortify your relationship with the Chaldean Patriarchate by abiding by the laws and rules issued by the Holy Synod. Compliance with this relationship, the laws and the liturgical regulations shall provide you immunity in favor of the unity of our church and partnership with it, regardless of any distances or disparities. Let your relationship to each other be that of love and companionship to Chaldean and Christian values. Do not be concerned or touched by the arrogant and conceited voices, which only know the language of bickering, pointing fingers and cursing. May the Lord God enlighten their hearts with His knowledge and love.
In conclusion, I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to His Excellency Bishop Mar Shlemon Warduni who served you with dedication for 14 months and prepared the atmosphere for the new bishop. May God bless him.
I conclude my epistle by assuring you that your memories of joy and hope have been forever carved in our hearts – – mine and that of the Auxiliary Bishop Mar Basilio Yeldo – – thus you will always be in our prayers.
+ Louis Raphael Sako