Ankawa (Agenzia Fides) - The annual Synod of the Chaldean Church, housed in the town of Ankawa, a few miles from Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, began on Tuesday, June 24, with the celebration of the Mass presided by Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako. During the Mass the Chaldean bishops and all those present called the gift of peace throughout the Middle East, starting from Iraq, which is sliding towards a civil war on a large scale, triggered by the offensive of the jihadist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Besides the Chaldean Bishops from Iraq, even Bishops from Lebanon and Syria, also from Iran, Canada, the U.S. and Australia are taking part in the meeting. The works - which are held in the local patriarchal seat named after the Saints Addai and Mari, and will conclude on Saturday, June 28 with the publication of a final declaration - yesterday was also attended by the Apostolic Nuncio in Iraq and Jordan, His Exc. Mgr. Giorgio Lingua .
In the initial plans, the Synod of the Chaldean Church was to take place in Baghdad, and should have dealt with issues largely related to the internal life of the Church, such as the choice of new Bishops for the vacant sees and the beatification of the twentieth century Archbishop martyrs.
The dramatic developments in Iraq have led to shift the venue of the meeting in the city of Iraqi Kurdistan, a region not involved in the conflict, even to facilitate the participation of the Bishops of northern Iraq. "Obviously", said to Fides Agency Father Albert Hisham, a spokesman for the Patriarchate, "the new situation in Iraq involves a change of programme. The Bishops will evaluate new emergencies that mark the condition of the Christian community and across the Country. " (GV) (Agenzia Fides 25/06/2014)