Final Statement of Chaldean Synod 2019 with Laity Representatives of the Dioceses
Erbil (Ainkawa) 6-7 August 2019
On 6-7 August 2019 and for the first time ever, the Chaldean synod fathers met with laity representatives of our dioceses in Iraq and around the world. Participated laypersons were 16 including three women, plus a nun representing the patriarchal orders in Iraq and the Rector of the Seminary representing our priests and seminarians.
Throughout six sessions, participants addressed the following topics:
- Participation of the laity in the life of the Church (Bishop Antoine Audo).
- Public Affairs in Iraq (Patriarch Cardinal Mar Louis Raphael Sako)
- Chaldean Youth (Bishop Basilios Yaldo).
- Immigration (Bishop Yousif Toma Mirkis).
- The status of the dioceses of Iraq and the Middle East, in addition to the situation of Chaldeans in diaspora and their relationship with the mother Church in Iraq.
- Dioceses of Iraq: Baghdad (Manal Afham and Wisam Mirqus), Alqosh (Bishop Mikhael Maqdassi and Taghreed Dhia), Zakho and Amadiya (Bishop Rabban Al-Qas and Ghassan Boutros), Erbil (Bishop Bashar Warda and Nawar Dunha Ugna), Basrah and the South (Bishop Habib Al-Naufali and Ahed Suhail), Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah (Bishop Yousif Toma Mirkis and Rayan Lewis), Mosul and Akre (Bishop Mikhael Najeeb Mikhael and Sefyian Adnan).
- Dioceses of Diaspora: United States of America (Archbishop Emmanuel Shalita and Aziz Razouki),Canada (Archbishop Bawai Soro and Maher Razouki), Australia (Archbishop Amel Nona and Kareem Odish Sati), Iran (Bishop Thomas Meram), Lebanon (Bishop Michel Kassarji and Rufi Paul Caupley), Syria (Bishop Antoine Audo, George Yousif Toma and Prof. Adeeb Bekendi). Egypt (Father Paulus Sati and Alan Sheikho).
- Sister Maryam Yalda Shabo, the Superior Mother of the Chaldean Sisters, Daughters of Mary (Immaculate Conception), representing the patriarchal monastic orders for nuns.
- Father Ephrem Gilyana, representing our priests and seminarians.
- Chaldean League (Dr. Amanj Francis Boya).
- Financial affairs to be entrusted to transparent people (Bishop Habib Al-Naufali).
- Suitability of rituals with cultural and geographical variables (Bishop Bawai Soro).
- Ecclesiastical Courts and family affairs (Bishop Michel Kassarji).
- Protection of minors in the Church (Bishop Bashar Warda).
- The importance of media (Bishop Emmanuel Shalita).
Participants made the following recommendations:
- Emphasizing Chaldean Identity: language, liturgy and land as it is the essential pillar of our identity.
- Highlighting the role of laity (women and men) and their participation in the life of the Church.
- Indicating that the Chaldean Church has significant presence in Iraq and should play its’ role as a mediator with other Christians and all society components in the region, in order to lead the cooperation and dialogue with other Churches and religions.
- Establishing a Chaldean Unified Fund to support joint projects and emergencies and to implement twinning program between Chaldean dioceses in the diaspora with those in Iraq and the Middle East.
- Launching a financial office in dioceses that do not have it, to maintain professionalism and transparency.
- Preparing for the Chaldean Conference of lay people, to be held in 2022.
- Continuing support of displaced to help them return, build their homes and providing a source for their livelihoods.
- Organizing a conference for the Chaldean youth, to be held in the spring of 2020 addressing the following: faith, acquaintance, openness to others, marriage sacrament and to recognize vocations as well as other topics related to youth.
- Reforming faithful in diaspora to avoid self-confinement and to promote blending in the new society plus communication between generations.
- Benefiting from social media with a focus on establishing a TV channel for the Chaldean Patriarchate.
- Preserving the Chaldean Christian heritage including manuscripts and folklore in addition to the reconstruction of monasteries and ancient Churches in Mosul and Nineveh Plain.
- Supporting Chaldean League, since its’ goal is to “reunite” the Chaldean home, defend its’ rights and highlight its’ identity.
- Consolidating courses and workshops for engaged and newlywed couples in addition to activating committees of accompanying, guiding and reconciling in the dioceses.
- Relying on transparency in dealing with abuses of minors and handicaps, by making clergy and all the employees in the Church aware of the importance of conducting courses and seminars regarding this kind of “crime” and sinful action (see the letter of Pope Francis: Jesus is the light of the world, issued in 2019).
As a final point, the following committee of laity was elected to follow up on reminding and implementing the contents of this statement:
Dr. Manal Afham Thomas.
Mrs. Ahed Suhail Yousif.
Eng. Aziz Hanna Razouki.
Dr. George Yousif Toma.
Mr. Kareem Odish Satti.
Deacon Sufian Adnan Assoufi.
Deacon Raphael Paul Caupley.
Mr. Noir Dunha Ugna.