Father Albert Hisham – The Chaldean Patriarchate Media Administrator :Today was really “a sign of hope” to Baghdad and Iraq, as previously described few days ago in an interview with His Beatitude Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako, where His Beatitude celebrated the ordainment of six permanent deacons for the Chaldean Diocese of Baghdad, on Friday evening, 6 December, at St. Joseph Church, Kherbendah.
The new Deacons are: Hikmet Isho of Our Lady The Virgin Mary of the Sacred Heart parish – Palestine Street, Imad Daoud and Bassam Sabri of Mar Gorgisparish – Baghdad Aljadida, Salam Israel of Mar Eliya parish – Baghdad Aljadida,Yousif Putrus of The Ascension parish -Almashtal, Wael Matti of St. Joseph parish – Kherbendah.
The Ordination ceremony was attended by His Excellency Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni along with the priests and deacons of the diocese with the participation of ‘The Harp of the Spirit’ Choir (the Chaldean Patriarchate Choir) for the first time. The ceremony started with reading the pledge of the wives of deacons, expressing their full consent to the ordination of their husbands and their support for them in their service to the Church, as provided for in Canon law, according to this cliché: “I … the wife of Deacon …, I pledge before the Holy Church and before our Reverend Shepherd and the community present here to my complete acceptance in my free will to accept my husband’s service in this blessed parish, and will do whatever I have to accompany him in his mission to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the guidance of the ecclesiastical authority, and therefor signed this pledge asking your prayer and cooperation”.
Patriarch Sako, in his homily after reading the Bible, pointed to this ordination as a “profound spiritual experience” and “a source of renewal, growth, console, hope and joy to our Church in Iraq”, adding, “thank you, dear deacons”. His Beatitude also emphasized on two fundamental concepts of Christianity: The Brotherhood and The Service, saying, “Brotherhood is the good news announced by Jesus: You are all brothers, and this overall brotherhood has deep echo in the writings of the New Testament and the life of the early Church… In Christianity all barriers fall , down, whether social or tribal citizenship or nationality; they all share the same dignity of ‘the sons’, and for this reason the early Christians called each other “The brother saints”, or “the selected brothers”. As for the service “Dikonia”, it is a characteristic of Christianity. Jesus says, “The greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves… here am I among you as one who serves!” (Luke 22:25-28). And when washing the feet of His disciples at the last supper, He commanded them, “I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you” (John 13:15).
His Beatitude added, stressing on the characteristic of the service associated with the different ranks of priesthood and the liturgical celebrations, “In our Chaldean Church every celebration is called ‘Service’, and all priesthood holders are called ‘Servants’. The ‘Service’ is not limited to certain aids, but it is above all a conviction and faith that imprints all our deeds and attitudes. The Church, up to recent centuries, has ordained women as deacons along with men, and they have special rank in the book of ordainment!”.
And directing his speech to the new deacons, His Beatitude said, “Today, you have officially announced that you are the servants of all. This is what distinguishes you, and it is the charisma that the Church needs today. And how happy we are for the consent of your wives to accompany you in your noble mission, and this is a great help to you. This service is linked to the status of continuous and permanent prayer that you live and be witness to.”
At the end, His Beatitude prayed for peace in our country and in Syria and the region, to stop the logic of violence and to support the logic of dialogue. His Beatitude also prayed for the release of the nuns of Maaloula, the two Archbishops, and the priests and all the kidnapped”.
At the end of the ceremony, Deacon Bassam Sabri addressed a speech on behalf of his Deacon Brothers thanking God for His Grace, and thanking His Beatitude Patriarch Sako for his fatherly care, and everyone who gave them lessons over more than two months and a half in Theology, Canon Law, Bible, etc.
The new Deacons will help their parish priest in serving the Sacraments, and continue their work in Christian education and upbringing of the youth. This Deacon rank is called “permanent” because it does not necessarily lead to the priesthood, there is also a rank of “Temporary Deacon” where the ordained becomes qualified to get in the Holy Priesthood Order.
Among the beautiful postures in the ceremony of ordainment as Deacon, the consecrated kneels on one knee, as a symbol to receiving one weight, and puts his thumbs on the ears and the remaining fingers lifted up, as a symbol of silencing the voice of the world to hear only the voice of God who invited him to this holy service.