Father Albert Hisham – The Chaldean Patriarchate Media Administrator: Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael I Sako met on Monday, 10 September, with priests of Europe in the diocese headquarters Chaldean in Istanbul, Turkey, in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Ramzi Garmou, the new Apostolic Visitor for the Chaldeans resident in Europe, and His Excellency Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni, and Monsignor Philip Najim to organize the pastoral and administrative aspects in the parishes, missionaries and the Chaldean communities in Europe. Among the most important resolutions of the meeting was to choose a priest to coordinate between the priests in the European countries having more than one Chaldean priest .
Father Maher Melko was selected to be the Coordinator among the priests in Sweden, Father Moussa Yaramis among the priests in Belgium, Father Sabri Anar among the priests in France, Father Sami Al-Rayes among the priests in Germany. The Coordinator is responsible for assisting the Apostolic Visitor in providing him with the situation of the Chaldean Church in his country, and coordinates between his fellow priests and His Excellency and conveys their views and demands .
This selection came at the meeting which was opened by His Beatitude the Patriarch with a speech where he introduced the new ‘Apostolic Visitor for the Chaldeans resident in Europe’ Archbishop Ramzi Garmou to the priests in Europe, and thanked all the priests for their presence coming from afar and enduring the hassles of the trip to attend, “a sign of unity among us”. His Beatitude confirmed that “Change is needed in the Church all the time”, and “the Church always calls to go back to the Gospel, and Christian values, and the example of Lord Jesus”. His Beatitude also thanked Monsignor Philip Najim for his work as the Apostolic Visitor for many years, and for his effort in establishing the parishes and maintaining them .
The Patriarch encouraged the priests in Europe to live their priestly life in an authentic way and not try to search for alternatives unrelated to their priesthood, although there are backlogs in the past, our parishioners in Europe face many difficulties and are in need of someone to take care of them and works with them in a parental spirit .
Also, Monsignor Philip Najim delivered a statement in which he reviewed the courage of all the priests who were present, and their endurance to hardships and difficulties in order to serve the faithful in Europe. And, Patriarch Sako, from his side confirmed his full support for Europe, saying “the Patriarchate is not only to Baghdad or Iraq but to all our Chaldean believers in the world“.
Archbishop Ramzi Garmou also delivered a speech in which he said: “I did not ask for this new responsibility by myself, but I feel it’s a call from God to serve our Church and our people to keep the faith and Christian witness”. He promised to work together with every priest who “is not measured by the number of buildings he owns nor by the number of languages he knows, but as much as he is an example of Christ our Lord“.
Participants then discussed several topics, including: Organizing the parishes by country and the adoption of transferring the priests, the relationship between priests and the Apostolic Visitor, regulating the services within each parish whether ‘Free of Cost’ in accordance to the system of the country, organizing the Parishes’ Councils and accountancy, organization and standardization of rituals, spirituality and cultural aspects …