The Chaldean Synod was held in Rome between 5-8 October 2017. It was led by His Beatitude the Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako and was attended by all the Chaldean bishops around the world except by the retired bishop Jacques Ishaaq for health reasons. The synod began with a special audience with the Holy Father Pope Francis the morning of 5 October. Then the sessions began with a brotherly atmosphere by all the participants. There were many debates and each was given the freedom to speak one’s mind. The body of Bishops were one working for the unity and the building up of the Church in service of her children and the glory of God.
1. The first act was the election of a bishop for Mar Addai Chaldean Diocese in Canada. There was also a dialogue and debate regarding the current needs and problems in other dioceses including Mosul, Zakho, Tehran, Iran to name some. Many suggestions were given but for these other dioceses, all decisions were tabled for the next synod which will take place in the first half of 2018.
2. Establishment of a Patriarchal Tribunal.
3. The Liturgical texts that were approved in the 2014 synod were promulgated to be used in all of the Chaldean dioceses and parishes as the official approved text under trial (ad experimentum) for the next five years. After which, the Chaldean Church Fathers will review them and then will have them sent to the Holy See to have them finalized. The liturgical texts are the Mass (revised in 2016 and awaiting approval from the Eastern Congregation), Rite of Baptism, Rite of Marriage, and the form for absolution. The Chaldean Fathers also adopted the daily readings for the Mass that was prepared by the Patriarchate. This is also under trial with the knowledge that this particular lectionary is not found in the Chaldean Church but today’s needs call out for such a trial.
4. The Chaldean Fathers chose the color white as the official liturgical color for the feasts of Christmas, Epiphany and Easter. This would entail that the celebrant and all the servers be vested in white, instead of the current practice of all different colors. First Communion celebration was also added to this list.
5. The adoption of Chaldean ecclesiastical renaissance in the façade of the Church and when possible the usage of historical structures such as the Ishtar Gates in the Church architecture was emphasized for all new projects.
6. The Fathers Studied the effects of migration and the unstable situation in the east on vocations to the priesthood as well as to the religious life especially in Iraq. The Synodal Fathers emphasized the necessary spiritual formation in the seminaries and monasteries as well as the ongoing formation of priests. A suggestion was given to have a gathering of all the Chaldean priests in the world.
7. The Fathers carefully studied the current situation of the Chaldean monks. They sent a request to the Congregation of the Eastern Churches in this regard.
8. The Synod Fathers studied the future of Chaldeans in Iraq, Syria, Iran and the new countries that they have migrated to. The Fathers stressed the Chaldean identity and language and rejected other labels and titles. They also renewed their support for the Chaldean League and identified a need for a lobby that would identify and seek help for the Chaldean needs in the world.
9 – The fathers studied the situation of the displaced Persons in Iraq and refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan and expressed their solidarity with them, and His Beatitude asked the diocese to help them.
10- The father studied the Canon 1036 art. 1, concerning the minimum and maximum amount of money that the bishop and the patriarch can use. The amount was set to the maximum limit of $250,000 and with the approval of the Finance office. The law also forbids the sale of houses and properties within the patriarchal geographical area except with the approval of the Patriarch and the Holy See.
11. The laws of sui juris of the Chaldean Church have not yet been translated into English to be decided by the Holy See.
12 The Father discussed the upcoming meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis The visit ad liminal on the 5th of February 2018. His Beatitude asked every Bishop of to prepare a report on his diocese and to send a copy of it to the Patriarchate and a to the congregation of the Oriental Churches Eastern Synod.
13. The final act of the synod was a Mass of thanksgiving followed by the writing of a pastoral letter for all the Chaldean faithful as well as a political statement.