Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako is encouraging Christians to return to Iraq and rebuild. He calls them the “indigenous people of this country” and presents a three-pronged strategy for rebuilding a “peaceful, safe, and stable atmosphere.” First, Christians should join forces to rebuild infrastructure. Second, he advises Christians to be a part of Iraqi political life. Third, Christians should develop a media office in Nineveh to elevate the mostly silent Christian voice in Iraq.
07/17/2017 Iraq (Crux) – Days after the liberation of the Iraqi Christian town of Mosul by national military forces, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako urged his people to “return quickly to reclaim their lands before others seize them, instead of wasting time in waiting, disputing, and dividing the community.”
His statement, published on the website of the patriarchate on Wednesday, comes after the July 9 liberation of Mosul by Iraqi forces. The town had been seized by the fundamentalist group known as the Islamic State (IS) in June 2014.
“Now is the right time to adhere effectually to the land of their parents and grandparents, their identity, history and heritage,” Sako wrote. “The fact that we are the indigenous people of this country and its ancient civilizations, and that our history is traced back to the oldest Christian Church in the world, should be kept in our mind always.”
Sako called this a “historic moment and a test for Christians” to renew their commitment and confirm their presence in Iraq. He also urged the faithful to claim compensation for their losses from the Iraqi Central Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, as well as the international community.
After celebrating the liberation of Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, the patriarch said there’s still “a long way to go” before IS is “completely eradicated from the region.”
Chaldean Catholics are the majority Christian group in Iraq, but, as with other Christian groups in recent years, most of those who survived the genocide perpetrated by IS have fled their towns, and many have left the country.