New Chaldean Catholic Patriarch elected, vowed to maintain Christian presence in Iraq
CWN - February 01, 2013
Archbishop Louis Sako, who has headed the Chaldean Catholic archdiocese of Kirkuk, Iraq, since 2003, has been elected the new Patriarch of Babylon and worldwide leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
The 64-year-old Iraqi prelate was elected this week by the Synod of the Chaldean Church, meeting in Rome this week, and Pope Benedict XVI quickly granted his request for full ecclesiastical communion.
Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, as he will be known, succeeds the retired Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, who retired in December at the age of 85 after 9 years as head of the Chaldean Church.
The newly elected Patriarch said that he would work to preserve the vigor of the Chaldean Church, but especially to protect the future of the ancient Christian community centered in Iraq, which has been decimated by emigration, as young Iraqi Christians seek to escape from a campaign of intimidation by Islamic militants. “There is no stability and the security is getting worse,” the Patriarch told Vatican Radio. “Everybody is worried.”
The Iraqi prelate has frequently spoken about the threat to the Christian presence in Iraq, but vowed that the Chaldean community would remain active in spite of threats. He has pleaded for Christians in the West to show their solidarity with the suffering Christians in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
A native of Mosul, Iraq, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako was ordained to the priesthood in 1974. After earning two doctorates--first at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, then at the Sorbonne in Paris—he returned to pastoral work in Mosul. He spent 5 years as rector of the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad before being chosen as Archbishop of Kirkuk in 2003.
An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:
Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach five million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!
Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our final 2013 goal ($17,308 to go, assuming receipt of matching funds):
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!