The Chaldean Catholic Church (Classical Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܟܠܕܝܬܐ ܩܬܘܠܝܩܝܬܐ, ʿīdtha kaldetha qāthuliqetha; Arabic: الكنيسة الكلدانية al-Kanīsa al-kaldāniyya; Latin: Ecclesia Chaldaeorum Catholica, lit. 'Catholic Church of the Chaldeans') is an Eastern Catholic particular church (sui juris) in full communion with the Holy See and the rest of the Catholic Church, with the Chaldean Patriarchate having been originally formed out of the Church of the East in 1552. Employing the East Syriac Rite in Syriac language in its liturgy, it is part of Syriac Christianity by heritage. Headquartered in the Cathedral of Mary Mother of Sorrows, Baghdad, Iraq, since 1950, it is headed by the Catholicos-Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako. It comprises 640,828 members, mostly Chaldean Christians living in northern Iraq, with smaller numbers in adjacent areas in northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran, a region roughly corresponding to ancient Assyria. There are also many Chaldeans in diaspora in the Western world.
The background of the Chaldean Catholic Church is the Chaldean Patriarchate of the Church of Assyria and Mosul, formed out of the Church of the East in 1552 by Patriarch Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa, recognized as "of the Chaldeans" by the Holy See in 1553. However, his successors in the 17th and 18th centuries provoked a time of turbulence, with splits of varying connections to the Papacy. More than one claimant to the Catholic patriarchal seat left the Catholic Church unable to recognise either. In one patriarchal line, hereditary status of the office was reintroduced and relations with Rome formally broken, with this line eventually forming the Assyrian Church of the East in 1692. Subsequently, however, the two then-remaining Catholic successors of the original patriarchal line unified in 1830 in Mosul, remaining in uninterrupted full communion with Rome until this day.
Despite being known as "Chaldeans", their followers are generally accepted to be indigenous Eastern Aramaic-speaking Assyrian people, although a minority of Chaldeans (particularly in the United States) have in recent times began to espouse an identity from the land of Chaldea, extant in southeast Mesopotamia between the 9th and 6th centuries BC, despite there being no accredited academic study or historical record which supports this.
In 2015, while the patriarchate of the Assyrian Church of the East was vacant following the death of Dinkha IV, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako proposed a "merger", or reunion, of the Chaldean Catholic Church with the other denominations that trace their origins to the Church of the East: the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East, in order to recreate one united "Church of the East" with a single patriarch in full communion with the Pope. These efforts were stranded, however, when the Assyrian Church of the East decided to elect a new patriarch.
Chaldean Catholic Church
|Classical Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܟܠܕܝܬܐ ܩܬܘܠܝܩܝܬܐ|
|Primate||Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako|
|Region||Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, with diaspora|
|Liturgy||East Syriac Rite|
|Headquarters||Cathedral of Mary Mother of Sorrows, Baghdad, Iraq|
|Founder||Patriarch Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa|
Traces ultimate origins to Thomas the Apostle and the Apostolic Era through Addai and Mari
|Origin||1552 (1830) |
Amid (Mosul), Ottoman Empire
|Absorbed||Church of the East (1552)|
|Separations||Assyrian Church of the East (1692)|
|Other name(s)||Church of Assyria and Mosul|
The Chaldean Catholic Church traces its beginnings to the Church of the East, which it considers to have been founded between the 1st and 3rd centuries in Asōristān, a province of the Sasanian Empire. In the 5th century BC, this region was the birthplace of the Syriac language and Syriac script, both of which remain important within all strands of Syriac Christianity as a liturgical language, similar to how Latin or Koine Greek may be used in the Latin Church or Greek Orthodoxy, and the Old Church Slavonic (also called Old Bulgarian) in the Slavic Orthodoxy. The Church of the East was considered an Apostolic church established by Thomas the Apostle, Thaddeus of Edessa, and Bartholomew the Apostle. Saint Peter, chief of the apostles, added his blessing to the Church of the East at the time of his visit to the See at Babylon in the earliest days of the church when stating, "The elect church which is in Babylon, salutes you; and Mark, my son." (1 Peter 5:13).
Although considered founded in the 1st century by the adherents of its legacy, the Church first achieved official state recognition from Sasanian Iran in the fourth century with the accession of Yazdegerd I (reigned 399–420) to the throne of the Sasanian Empire. In 410 the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, held at the Sasanian capital, allowed the Church's leading bishops to elect a formal Catholicos (leader). Catholicos Isaac was required both to lead the Assyrian Christian community, and to answer on its behalf to the Sasanian emperor.
Under pressure from the Sasanian Emperor, the Church of the East sought to increasingly distance itself from the Greek Orthodox Church (at the time being known as the church of the Eastern Roman Empire). Therefore, in 424, the bishops of the Sasanian Empire met in council under the leadership of Catholicos Dadishoʿ (421–456) and determined that they would not, henceforth, refer disciplinary or theological problems to any external power, and especially not to any bishop or Church Council in the Roman Empire.
Thus, the Mesopotamian churches did not send representatives to the various Church Councils attended by representatives of the "Western Church". Accordingly, the leaders of the Church of the East did not feel bound by any decisions of what came to be regarded as Roman Imperial Councils. Despite this, the Creed and Canons of the First Council of Nicaea of 325, affirming the full divinity of Christ, were formally accepted at the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. The Church's understanding of the term hypostasis differs from the definition of the term offered at the Council of Chalcedon of 451. For this reason, the Assyrian Church has never approved the Chalcedonian definition.
The theological controversy that followed the Council of Ephesus in 431 proved a turning point in the Church's history. The Council condemned as heretical the Christology of Nestorius, whose reluctance to accord the Virgin Mary the title Theotokos "God-bearer, Mother of God" was taken as evidence that he believed two separate persons (as opposed to two united natures) to be present within Christ. (For the theological issues at stake, see Assyrian Church of the East and Nestorianism.)
The Sasanian Emperor, hostile to the Byzantines, saw the opportunity to ensure the loyalty of his Christian subjects and lent support to the Nestorian Schism. The Emperor took steps to cement the primacy of the Nestorian party within the Church of the East, granting its members his protection, and executed the pro-Roman Catholicos Babowai in 484 and replaced him with the Nestorian Bishop of Nisibis, Barsauma. The Catholicos-Patriarch Babai (497–503) later confirmed the church's support for Nestorianism.
After this split with the Western World and adoption of Nestorianism, The Church of the East expanded rapidly due to missionary works during the Medieval period. During the period between 500–1400 the geographical horizons of the Church of the East extended well beyond its heartland in present-day northern Iraq, north eastern Syria and south eastern Turkey. The Church went through a golden age, and held significant power and worldwide influence during this period. Assyrian communities sprang up throughout Central Asia, and missionaries from Assyria and Mesopotamia took the Christian faith as far as China, with a primary indicator of their missionary work being the Nestorian Stele, a Tang dynasty tablet written in Chinese script found in China dating to 781 AD that documented 150 years of Christian history in China. Their most important conversion, however, was of the Saint Thomas Christians of the Malabar Coast in India, as they are now the largest group of non-ethnically Assyrian Christians on earth, with around 10 million followers when all denominations are added together and their own diaspora is included. The St Thomas Christians were believed by tradition to have been converted by St Thomas, and were in communion with the Church of the East until the end of the medieval period.
Around 1400, the Turco-Mongol nomadic conqueror Timur arose out of the Eurasian Steppe to lead military campaigns across Western, Southern and Central Asia, ultimately seizing much of the Muslim world after defeating the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria, the emerging Ottoman Empire, and the declining Delhi Sultanate. Timur's conquests devastated most Assyrian bishoprics and destroyed the 4000-year-old city of Assur, which was the cultural and religious capital of the Church of the East and its followers. After the destruction brought on by Timur, the massive and organized Nestorian Church structure, which at its peak extended as far as China, Central Asia, Mongolia and India, was largely reduced to its region of origin (with the exception of the Saint Thomas Christians in India), and stayed as such until the Assyrian genocide, when a large portion of this region was entirely, ethnically and culturally cleansed of its endemic population, and in effect also ended the Shimun Branch, which had to reestablish itself in America up until 2015 when they established their new see in Erbil. Along with the destruction of the Hakkari cultural region, the Assyrians of Tur Abdin, Amid, Urfa and other regions of the southeast suffered genocide as well, but due to an agreement with the Turks, the Syriac Orthodox Church was able to exist in the region after the end of the genocide, and a Syriac community still exists in Turkey until this day, and is the most geographically spread out Church still functioning in Turkey, with active churches in Adiyaman, Siirt, Istanbul, and its primary area of operation and seat at Mor Gabriel Monastery in Tur Abdin.
This blow by Timur to the structure of the Church of the East may have been one of the reasons for its decline, and the subsequent rise of the Chaldean Catholic Church in 1552, which would itself later suffer schism.
Dissent over the hereditary succession grew until 1552, when a group of Assyrian bishops, from the northern regions of Amid and Salmas, elected a priest, Mar Yohannan Sulaqa, as a rival patriarch. To look for a bishop of metropolitan rank to consecrate him patriarch, Sulaqa traveled to the pope in Rome and entered into communion with the Catholic Church, after first being refused by the Syriac Orthodox Church. In 1553 he was consecrated bishop and elevated to the rank of patriarch taking the name of Mar Shimun VIII. He was granted the title of "Patriarch of the East Assyrians", and his church was named the Church of Assyria ("Athura") and Mosul.
Mar Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa returned to northern Mesopotamia in the same year and fixed his seat in Amid. Before being put to death by the partisans of the Assyrian Church of the East patriarch of Alqosh, he ordained five metropolitan bishops thus beginning a new ecclesiastical hierarchy: the patriarchal line known as the Shimun line. The area of influence of this patriarchate soon moved from Amid east, fixing the See, after many places, in the isolated Assyrian village of Qochanis.
The connections with Rome loosened up under Sulaqa's successors: The last patriarch to be formally recognized by the Pope died in 1600, the hereditary status of the office was reintroduced and, in 1692, the communion with Rome was formally broken, with this part of the church once more rejoining the Assyrian Church of the East.
The background of the Chaldean Catholic Church is the Church of Assyria and Mosul, formed out of the Church of the East in 1552 by Patriarch Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa, recognised as "of the Chaldeans" by the Holy See. However, the connections with the Papacy loosened up under his successors, split in different lines: the last patriarch in this unbroken line to be formally recognised by the Pope died in 1600. Although communions were reinitiated in 1672 and 1681, in one line, hereditary status of the office was reintroduced and full communion with Rome formally broken in 1692, with this patriarchal line eventually forming the Assyrian Church of the East. Following this turbulence, from 1771 to 1830, two claimants to the Catholic patriarchal seat left the Catholic Church unable to recognise either until a unification of the two in Mosul in 1830. The ensuing reunification with Rome has lasted unbroken until this day.
After the Shimun line cut off ties with Rome and re-established itself in Qodchanis, A second so-called 'Chaldean' Patriarchate began a few decades later in 1672 when Mar Joseph I, Archbishop of Amid, entered in communion with Rome, separating from the Assyrian Church Patriarchal see of Alqosh (of which his territory was formerly a part). In 1681 the Holy See granted him the title of "Patriarch of the Chaldeans deprived of its patriarch."
All Joseph I's successors took the name of Joseph. However, the life of this patriarchate was difficult. At the beginning there were problems due to the vexations from the traditionalists, under which they were subject from a legal point of view, and later it struggled with financial difficulties due to the Jizya imposed by the Ottoman authorities upon Christian subjects.
Nevertheless, its influence expanded from its original strongholds in Amid (modern Diyarbakir) and Mardin towards the area of Mosul and the Nineveh plains. The Josephite line merged in 1830 with the Nestorian Alqosh patriarchate. In order to do this, the Alqosh patriarchate entered into full communion with Rome, and the two Chaldean patriarchates combined, and the capital was designated as Alqosh. It was from this point that the modern Chaldean Catholic Church came into being.
The largest and oldest patriarchal see of the Assyrian Church of the East was based at the Rabban Hormizd monastery of Alqosh. It spread from Aqrah up to Seert and Nisibis, covering in the south the rich plain of Mosul. In the short period between 1610 and 1617 it entered in communion with Rome, and in 1771 the patriarch Eliya Denkha signed a Catholic confession of faith, but no formal union resulted. When Eliya Denkha died, his succession was disputed by two cousins: Eliyya Isho-Yab, who was recognized by Rome but renounced his Catholic faith, and Yohannan VIII Hormizd, who, although unrecognized by Rome, considered himself a Catholic.
In 1804, after Eliyya Isho-Yab's death, Yohannan Hormizd was made by default the patriarch of Alqosh. There were thus two patriarchates in communion with Rome now, the larger one in Alqosh, and the original one in Amid that was ruled by Joseph V Augustine Hindi. However, Rome did not want to choose between the two candidates: and granted neither the title of Patriarch, even though from 1811 it was Augustine Hindi who ruled the Church de facto. After Hindi's death, on July 5, 1830, Yohannan Hormizd of the Alqosh line was by default formally confirmed Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic church by Pope Pius VIII with the title of "Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans". In this act, The merging of the patriarchates of Alqosh and Amid was completed, forming a single Chaldean Catholic Church.
On the other hand, the Shimun line of patriarchs, based in Qochanis, remained in the traditional Assyrian Church, independent of the new Chaldean Church. When the large Alqosh branch took a Catholic profession of faith, the Shimun line remained the sole remaining Nestorian patriarchate left. The Patriarchate of the present-day Assyrian Church of the East, with its See in Erbil, forms the continuation of that line.
The following years of the Chaldean Church were marked by externally originating violence: in 1838 the monastery of Rabban Hormizd and the town of Alqosh was attacked by the Ottomans and the Kurds of Soran, and hundreds of Christian Assyrians died. In 1843 the Kurds started to extort as much money as they could from Assyrian villages, killing those who refused: more than 10,000 Assyrian Christians of all denominations were killed and the icons of the Rabban Hormizd monastery defaced.
In 1846 the Chaldean Church was recognized by the Ottoman Empire as a 'millet', a distinctive 'religious community' in the Empire, thus obtaining its civic emancipation. The most famous patriarch of the Chaldean Church in the 19th century was Joseph VI Audo who is remembered also for his clashes with Pope Pius IX mainly about his attempts to extend the Chaldean jurisdiction over the Indian Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. This was a period of expansion for the Chaldean Catholic Church.
In the early 20th century Russian Orthodox missionaries established two dioceses in north Assyria. Many Assyrian leaders believed that the Russian Empire would be more interested in protecting them than the British Empire and the French Empire. Hoping for the support of the Russians, World War I and the subsequent Assyrian Genocide (which saw the deaths of up to 300,000 Assyrians of all denominations) was seen as the right time to rebel against the Ottoman Empire. An Assyrian War of Independence was launched, led by Agha Petros and Malik Khoshaba. On 4 November 1914 the Turkish Enver Pasha announced the Jihad, the holy war, against the Christians. Assyrian forces fought successfully against overwhelming odds in northern Iraq, southeast Turkey and northwest Iran for a time. However, the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the collapse of Armenian resistance left the Assyrians cut off from supplies of food and ammunition, vastly outnumbered and surrounded. Assyrian territories were overrun by the Ottoman Empire and their Kurdish and Arab allies, and the people forced to flee: most who escaped the massacres and continuation of the Assyrian Genocide died from cold in the winter or hunger. The disaster struck mainly the regions of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean dioceses in north Assyria (Amid, Siirt and Gazarta) were ruined (the Chaldeans metropolitans Addai Scher of Siirt and Philip Abraham of Gazarta were killed in 1915).
A minority of Assyrians have converted to Protestantism during the 20th century, leaving the Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church and Syriac Orthodox church in favour of the Assyrian Pentecostal Church and Assyrian Evangelical Church.
Assyrians of all denominations, and other religious minorities in Iraq, have endured extensive persecution since 2003, including the abductions and murders of their religious leaders, threats of violence or death if they do not abandon their homes and businesses, and the bombing or destruction of their churches and other places of worship. All this has occurred as anti-Christian emotions rise within Iraq after the American invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the rise of militant Jihadists and religious militias.
Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni, the pastor of the Chaldean Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul who graduated from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome in 2003 with a licentiate in ecumenical theology, was killed on 3 June 2007 in Mosul alongside the subdeacons Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed, after he celebrated mass.
Chaldean Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho and three companions were abducted on 29 February 2008, in Mosul, and murdered a few days later.
In recent years, particularly since 2014, the Assyrians in northern Iraq and north east Syria have become the target of unprovoked Islamic terrorism. As a result, Assyrians have taken up arms, alongside other groups (such as the Kurds, Turcomans and Armenians) in response to unprovoked attacks by Al Qaeda, ISIL, Nusra Front, and other Wahhabi terrorist Islamic fundamentalist groups. In 2014 Islamic terrorists of ISIS attacked Assyrian towns and villages in the Assyrian homelands of northern Iraq and north east Syria, together with cities such as Mosul, Kirkuk and Hasakeh which have large Assyrian populations. There have been reports of a litany of religiously motivated atrocities committed by ISIS terrorists since, including; slavery, beheadings, crucifixions, child murders, rape of women and girls, torture, forced conversions, ethnic cleansing, robbery, kidnappings, theft of homes, and extortion in the form of illegal taxes levied upon non Muslims. Assyrians forced from their homes in cities such as Mosul have had their houses and possessions stolen, and given over to ISIS terrorists or local Sunni Arabs.
In addition, the Assyrians have suffered seeing their ancient indigenous heritage desecrated, in the form of Bronze Age and Iron Age monuments and archaeological sites, as well as numerous Assyrian churches and monasteries, being systematically vandalised and destroyed by ISIS. These include the ruins of Nineveh, Kalhu (Nimrud, Assur, Dur-Sharrukin and Hatra.
Assyrians of all denominations in both northern Iraq and north east Syria have responded by forming armed Assyrian militias to defend their territories, and despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned have had success in driving ISIS from Assyrian towns and villages, and defending others from attack. Armed Assyrian militias have also joined forces with other peoples persecuted by ISIS and Sunni Muslim extremists, including; the Kurds, Turcoman, Yezidis, Syriac-Aramean Christians, Shabaks, Armenian Christians, Kawilya, Mandeans, Circassians and Shia Muslim Arabs and Iranians.
A recent development in the Chaldean Catholic Church has been the creation in 2006 of the Eparchy of Oceania, with the title of 'St Thomas the Apostle of Sydney of the Chaldeans'. This jurisdiction includes the Chaldean Catholic communities of Australia and New Zealand, and the first Bishop, named by Pope Benedict XVI on 21 October 2006, is Archbishop Djibrail (Jibrail) Kassab, until this date, Archbishop of Bassorah in Iraq.
There has been a large immigration to the United States particularly to West Bloomfield in southeast Michigan. Although the largest population resides in southeast Michigan, there are populations in parts of California and Arizona as well. Canada in recent years has shown growing communities in both eastern provinces, such as Ontario, and in western Canada, such as Saskatchewan.
On Friday, June 10, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI erected a new Chaldean Catholic eparchy in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and named Archbishop Mar Yohannan Zora, who has worked alongside four priests with Catholics in Toronto (the largest community of Chaldeans) for nearly 20 years and who was previously an ad personam Archbishop (he will retain this rank as head of the eparchy) and the Archbishop of the Archdiocese (Archeparchy) of Ahwaz, Iran (since 1974). The new eparchy, or diocese, will be known as the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mar Addai. There are 38,000 Chaldean Catholics in Canada. Archbishop Zora was born in Batnaia, Iraq, on March 15, 1939. He was ordained in 1962 and worked in Iraqi parishes before being transferred to Iran in 1969.
The 2006 Australian census counted a total of 4,498 Chaldean Catholics in that country.
Despite the internal discords of the reigns of Yohannan Hormizd, Nicholas I Zayʿa and Joseph VI Audo, the second half of the 19th century was a period of considerable growth for the Chaldean church, in which its territorial jurisdiction was extended, its hierarchy strengthened and its membership nearly doubled. In 1850 the Anglican missionary George Percy Badger recorded the population of the Chaldean church as 2,743 Chaldean families, or just under 20,000 persons. Badger's figures cannot be squared with the figure of just over 4,000 Chaldean families recorded by Fulgence de Sainte Marie in 1796 nor with slightly later figures provided by Paulin Martin in 1867. Badger is known to have classified as Nestorian a considerable number of villages in the ʿAqra district which were Chaldean at this period, and he also failed to include several important Chaldean villages in other dioceses. His estimate is almost certainly far too low.
|Diocese||No. of Villages||No. of Churches||No. of Priests||No. of Families||Diocese||No. of Villages||No. of Churches||No. of Priests||No. of Families|
Paulin Martin's statistical survey in 1867, after the creation of the dioceses of ʿAqra, Zakho, Basra and Sehna by Joseph Audo, recorded a total church membership of 70,268, more than three times higher than Badger's estimate. Most of the population figures in these statistics have been rounded up to the nearest thousand, and they may also have been exaggerated slightly, but the membership of the Chaldean church at this period was certainly closer to 70,000 than to Badger's 20,000.
|Diocese||No. of Villages||No. of Priests||No. of Believers||Diocese||No. of Villages||No. of Churches||No. of Believers|
A statistical survey of the Chaldean church made in 1896 by J. B. Chabot included, for the first time, details of several patriarchal vicariates established in the second half of the 19th century for the small Chaldean communities in Adana, Aleppo, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Edessa, Kermanshah and Teheran; for the mission stations established in the 1890s in several towns and villages in the Qudshanis patriarchate; and for the newly created Chaldean diocese of Urmi. According to Chabot, there were mission stations in the town of Serai d’Mahmideh in Taimar and in the Hakkari villages of Mar Behıshoʿ, Sat, Zarne and 'Salamakka' (Ragula d'Salabakkan).
|Diocese||No. of Villages||No. of Priests||No. of Believers||Diocese||No. of Villages||No. of Churches||No. of Believers|
The last pre-war survey of the Chaldean church was made in 1913 by the Chaldean priest Joseph Tfinkdji, after a period of steady growth since 1896. The Chaldean church on the eve of the First World War consisted of the patriarchal archdiocese of Mosul and Baghdad, four other archdioceses (Amid, Kirkuk, Seert and Urmi), and eight dioceses (ʿAqra, ʿAmadiya, Gazarta, Mardin, Salmas, Sehna, Zakho and the newly created diocese of Van). Five more patriarchal vicariates had been established since 1896 (Ahwaz, Constantinople, Basra, Ashshar and Deir al-Zor), giving a total of twelve vicariates.
Tfinkdji's grand total of 101,610 Catholics in 199 villages is slightly exaggerated, as his figures included 2,310 nominal Catholics in twenty-one 'newly converted' or 'semi-Nestorian' villages in the dioceses of Amid, Seert and ʿAqra, but it is clear that the Chaldean church had grown significantly since 1896. With around 100,000 believers in 1913, the membership of the Chaldean church was only slightly smaller than that of the Qudshanis patriarchate (probably 120,000 East Syriac Christians at most, including the population of the nominally Russian Orthodox villages in the Urmi district). Its congregations were concentrated in far fewer villages than those of the Qudshanis patriarchate, and with 296 priests, a ratio of roughly three priests for every thousand believers, it was rather more effectively served by its clergy. Only about a dozen Chaldean villages, mainly in the Seert and ʿAqra districts, did not have their own priests in 1913.
|Diocese||No. of Villages||No. of Churches||No. of Priests||No. of Believers||Diocese||No. of Villages||No. of Churches||No. of Priests||No. of Believers|
Tfinkdji's statistics also highlight the effect on the Chaldean church of the educational reforms of the patriarch Joseph VI Audo. The Chaldean church on the eve of the First World War was becoming less dependent on the monastery of Rabban Hormizd and the College of the Propaganda for the education of its bishops. Seventeen Chaldean bishops were consecrated between 1879 and 1913, of whom only one (Stephen Yohannan Qaynaya) was entirely educated in the monastery of Rabban Hormizd. Six bishops were educated at the College of the Propaganda (Joseph Gabriel Adamo, Thomas Audo, Jeremy Timothy Maqdasi, Isaac Khudabakhash, Theodore Msayeh and Peter ʿAziz), and the future patriarch Joseph Emmanuel Thomas was trained in the seminary of Ghazir near Beirut. Of the other nine bishops, two (Addaï Scher and Francis David) were trained in the Syro-Chaldean seminary in Mosul, and seven (Philip Yaʿqob Abraham, Yaʿqob Yohannan Sahhar, Eliya Joseph Khayyat, Shlemun Sabbagh, Yaʿqob Awgin Manna, Hormizd Stephen Jibri and Israel Audo) in the patriarchal seminary in Mosul.
The Chaldean Catholic Church has the following dioceses:
The Latin name of the church is Ecclesia Chaldaeorum Catholica.
The current Patriarch is Louis Sako, elected in January 2013. In October 2007, his predecessor, Emmanuel III Delly became the first Chaldean Catholic patriarch to be elevated to the rank of Cardinal within the Catholic Church.
The present Chaldean episcopate (January 2014) is as follows:
Several sees are vacant: Archeparchy of Diyarbakir, Archeparchy of Ahwaz, Eparchy of 'Aqra, Eparchy of Cairo.
The Chaldean Catholic Church uses the East Syriac Rite.
A slight reform of the liturgy was effective since 6 January 2007, and it aimed to unify the many different uses of each parish, to remove centuries-old additions that merely imitated the Roman Rite, and for pastoral reasons. The main elements of variations are: the Anaphora said aloud by the priest, the return to the ancient architecture of the churches, the restoration of the ancient use where the bread and wine are readied before a service begins, and the removal from the Creed of the Filioque clause.
It is believed that the term "Chaldean Catholic" may have arisen due to a Latin misinterpretation and misreading of the Hebrew Ur Kasdim as meaning "Ur of the Chaldees". The Hebrew Kasdim does not mean or refer to the Chaldeans. Ur Kasdim is generally believed by many to have been somewhere in Assyria, northeastern Syria or southeastern Anatolia. It is also noteworthy that the Roman Catholic Church already had a long history of misapplication of the term Chaldean in an ethnic, historical and geographical sense; the term was used to describe 15th century Greek converts to Catholicism, and to designate the completely unrelated Chaldia in Asia Minor on the Black Sea. Rome also used the term Chaldeans to indicate the members of the Church of the East in Communion with Rome primarily in order to avoid the terms Nestorian, Assyrian and Syriac, which were theologically unacceptable, having connotations to churches doctrinally and politically at odds with The Vatican.
The term "Chaldean Catholic" is thus historically, usually and properly taken purely and solely as a doctrinal and theological term for Assyrian converts to Catholicism, without any ethnic and geographical implications.
Despite this, a minority of Chaldean Catholics (particularly in the United States) have in recent times confused a purely religious term with an ethnic identity, and espoused a separate ethnic identity, despite there being no historical, academic, cultural, geographic, archaeological, linguistic, anthropological or genetic evidence supporting a link (or any sort of Chaldean continuity) to the late Iron Age Chaldean land or people, both of which wholly disappeared from history during the 6th century BC. Chaldean Catholics are generally accepted to be Assyrian people, and a part of the Assyrian continuity.
Raphael Bidawid, the then patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church commented on the Assyrian name dispute in 2003 and clearly differentiated between the name of a church and the name of an ethnicity:
In an interview with the Assyrian Star in the September–October 1974 issue, he was quoted as saying:
The Church's relations with its fellow Assyrians in the Assyrian Church of the East have improved in recent years. In 1994 Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Dinkha IV of the Assyrian Church of the East signed a Common Christological Declaration. On the 20 July 2001, the Holy See issued a document, in agreement with the Assyrian Church of the East, named Guidelines for admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, which confirmed also the validity of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. In 2015, Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako proposed unifying the three modern Patriarchates into a re-established Church of the East.
St Peter, the chief of the apostles added his blessing to the Church of the East at the time of his visit to the see at Babylon, in the earliest days of the church: '... The chosen church which is at Babylon, and Mark, my son, salute you ... greet one another with a holy kiss ...' ( I Peter 5:13–14).
The Assyrian Evangelical Church is a Presbyterian church in the Middle East that attained a status of ecclesiastical independence from the Presbyterian mission in Iran in 1870.Its members are predominantly ethnic Assyrians, an Eastern Aramaic speaking Semitic people who are indigenous to Upper Mesopotamia (what had been Assyria between the 25th century BCE and 7th century CE), and descendants of the ancient Assyrians. (see Assyria, Assyrian continuity and Assyrian people).
Most Assyrian Evangelicals (as well as members of the Assyrian Pentecostal Church) had initially been members of the Assyrian Church of the East, its later 18th century offshoot; the Chaldean Catholic Church, or the Syriac Orthodox Church, before conversion to Protestantism. The vast majority of ethnic Assyrians remain adherents of these ancient Eastern Rite churches to this day.
There are several Assyrian Evangelical churches in the diaspora, e.g. in San Jose, Turlock, and Chicago.
In 2010, one of its Iranian pastors was arrested in Kermanshah and detained for 54 days for allegedly attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity.Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Aleppo
Saint Joseph's Cathedral, (Arabic: كاتدرائية القديس يوسف ) also called the Chaldean Cathedral of Aleppo, is the cathedral in Aleppo, Syria, of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Aleppo of the Chaldean Catholic Church.The eparchy has been operating since 1957 when it was created by Pope Pius XII through the Bull Quasi Pastor. Its titular bishop is Antoine Audo, S.J. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Joseph, considered by Christians to be the adoptive father of Jesus.
It is the episcopal seat of 14 parishes (in 2009) attended by a dozen priests who work for about 35,000 baptised (in 2009).Catholic Church in Iraq
There are over 300,000 Catholics living in Iraq, just 0.95% of the total population. The Catholics of Iraq follow several different rites, but most are members of the Chaldean Catholic Church. There are 17 currently active dioceses and eparchies in Iraq.Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto
The Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto is the sole eparchy (Eastern Catholic diocese) of the Chaldean Catholic Church (Syro-Oriental Rite) in Canada.
It depends directly on the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, without being part of any ecclesiastical province.
Its cathedral is the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, in North York, near Toronto, in Ontario.
As of 2013, the eparchy serves 18,886 Catholics. Seven priests and 40 permanent deacons preside over eight parishes, which are located in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle of San Diego
Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle (Latin: Eparchia Sancti Petri Apostoli urbis Sancti Didaci Chaldaeorum) is one of two eparchies (Eastern catholic dioceses) of the Chaldean Catholic Church sui iuris (Syro-Oriental Rite, Syriac/Arameic language) in the USA.
It is exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See, not part of any ecclesiastical province.
Its cathedral episcopal see is St. Peter's Chaldean Catholic Cathedral, located in El Cajon, California.Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Detroit
The Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Detroit (Latin: Eparchia Sancti Thomas Apostoli Detroitensis Chaldaeorum) is the sole eparchy (Eastern Catholic diocese) of the Chaldean Catholic Church sui iuris (Syro-Oriental Rite in Syriac/Aramaic languages) for half of the United States and is exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See, not part of an ecclesiastical province.
Its cathedral episcopal see is Our Lady of Chaldeans Cathedral, located in Southfield, Michigan, United States.Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon
The Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon (Latin: Patriarchatus Babylonensis Chaldaeorum) is the Patriarchate of the Chaldean Catholic Church, based in Cathedral of Mary Mother of Sorrows, Baghdad, Iraq. The current Patriarch is Mar Louis Raphaël I Sako. He is assisted by the archbishop of Erbil Shlemon Warduni and the Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad Basel Yaldo. Its cathedral is the Church of Mary Mother of Sorrows in Baghdad, Iraq.
Chaldean Catholics represent the majority of Iraqi Christians, and are an indigenous people of Iraq. The Chaldean Catholic Church of Babylon is an Eastern Catholic church representing symbolic origins to ancient Chaldæa, and is in full communion with the Holy See and the Catholic Church. The Chaldean Catholic Church was at first known as the "Church of the East" after being created due to a dispute known as the Schism of 1552, which split the Church of the East into two religious factions; Catholicism and The Church of the East. However, the Chaldean Church broke off from the Catholic Church, forming the modern day Assyrian Church of the East, or "Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East", so named as it was once aligned with the Catholic Church as the "Chaldean Church". Therefore, a new Catholic church was formed known as the Chaldean Catholic Church in 1672, with patriarchate established in Diyarbakir, Ottoman Empire.
Afterwards, in 1683, the patriarchate was moved to Baghdad, Iraq.Chaldean Catholic Territory Dependent on the Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Chaldean Catholic Territory Dependent on(or Patriarchal Dependency of) the Patriarch of Jerusalem is a missionary pre-diocesan jurisdiction of the Chaldean Catholic Church sui iuris (Eastern Catholic: Chaldean Rite, Syriac language) covering the Holy land (Palestine and Israel).
As Territory Dependent on the Patriarch, it is immediately subject to the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon (actually in Baghdad, Iraq), without being part of his or any other ecclesiastical province.
It isn't entitled to a (Titular) Bishop as Ordinary, the incumbents use the style Protosyncellus (normally an official in an episcopal curia).Chaldean Catholics
Chaldean Catholics (), known simply as Chaldeans (Kaldāye; ܟܠܕܝ̈ܐ or ܟܲܠܕܵܝܹܐ), are former Nestorian adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church which originates from the Church of the East.The community formed in the Upper Mesopotamia in the 16th and 17th centuries, originating from groups of Nestorians adhering to the Church of the East that split after the schism of 1552 and entered communion with the Holy See (Catholic Church). While indigenous to the region of north Iraq, southeast Turkey and northeast Syria, many Chaldean Catholic Christians have migrated to Western countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Germany. Many of them also live in Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iran, Turkey, and Georgia. The reasons for migration are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, the poor economic conditions during the sanctions against Iraq, and poor security conditions after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.List of Chaldean Catholic Patriarchs of Babylon
This is a list of the Chaldean Catholicoi-Patriarchs of Babylon, the leaders of the Chaldean Catholic Church and one of the Patriarchs of the east of the Catholic Church starting from 1553 following the schism of 1552 which caused a break in the Church of the East, which later led to the founding of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
This list continues from the List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East that traces itself back from the Church founded in Mesopotamia in the 1st century and which became known as the Church of the East.
Biblical Aramaic was until recently called Chaldaic or Chaldee, and East Syrian Christians, whose liturgical language was and is a form of Aramaic, were called Chaldeans, as an ethnic, not a religious term. Hormuzd Rassam (1826–1910) still applied the term "Chaldeans" no less to those not in communion with Rome than to the Catholic Chaldeans and stated that "the present Chaldeans, with a few exceptions, speak the same dialect used in the Targum, and in some parts of Ezra and Daniel, which are called 'Chaldee'."Louis Raphaël I Sako
Louis Raphaël I Sako (Syriac: ܠܘܝܣ ܪܘܦܐܝܠ ܩܕܡܝܐ ܣܟܘ; born 4 July 1948) is the current Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church since 1 February 2013.
Pope Francis made him a cardinal on 28 June 2018.Mar Oraha Monastery
Dayra d'Mar Oraha (Syriac: ܕܝܪܐ ܕܡܪܝ ܘܪܐܗܐ) (Saint Abraham Monastery) is a Chaldean Catholic monastery in northern Iraq close to the town of Batnaya.
The monastery is traditionally attributed to Mar Oraha, who was forced to abandon his hermitage in Mount Alfaf due to a draught, and descended to the plains of Nineveh, where he built his monastery during Ishoʿyahb I's patriarchy (581-596). It was occupied by monks of the Church of the East until 1719, when it passed to the Chaldean Catholic Church. The monastery was completely destroyed and its monks were killed at the hands of Nadir Shah during his campaign in the region in 1743. In 1921, it was rebuilt with the help of the Dominican Order.The feast of Mar Oraha is held twice at the monastery: the first Sunday of the Great Lent, and the second Sunday after Easter.Neo-Aramaic languages
The Neo-Aramaic or Modern Aramaic languages are varieties of Aramaic, that are spoken vernaculars from the medieval to modern era that evolved out of Imperial Aramaic via Middle Aramaic dialects, around AD 1200 (conventional date).The term strictly excludes those Aramaic languages that are used only as literary, sacred or classical languages today (for example, Targumic Aramaic, Classical Syriac and Classical Mandaic). However, the classical languages continue to have influence over the colloquial Neo-Aramaic languages.Northeastern Neo-Aramaic and Central Neo-Aramaic dialects are spoken primarily (though not wholly exclusively) by ethnic Assyrians, who are members of the Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church (Eastern Rite Catholics), Syriac Orthodox Church, Ancient Church of the East, Assyrian Pentecostal Church and Assyrian Evangelical Church. The Assyrians are an indigenous people of Iraq, northeast Syria, southeast Turkey and northwest Iran, sometimes claimed to be descendants of the ancient Mesopotamians.Today the number of fluent Neo-Aramaic speakers is significantly smaller, and newer generations of Assyrians generally are not acquiring the full language, especially as many have emigrated and acculturated into their new resident countries.Rabban Hormizd Monastery
Rabban Hormizd Monastery is an important monastery of the Chaldean Catholic Church, founded about 640 AD, carved out in the mountains about 2 miles from Alqosh, Iraq, 28 miles north of Mosul. It was the official residence of the patriarchs of the Eliya line of the Church of the East from 1551 to the 18th century, and after the union with Rome in the early 19th century, it became a prominent monastery of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
The monastery is named after Rabban Hormizd (rabban is the Syriac for monk) who founded it in the seventh century.Sacred Heart Chaldean Church
The Sacred Heart Chaldean Church (Aramaic: ܥܕܬܐ ܕܠܒܗ ܕܡܪܢ ܕܟܠܕܝ̈ܐ ʿēttāʾ d-lebbēh d-māran d-ḵaldāyēʾ) was a Chaldean Catholic Church located in Chaldean town, a neighborhood in Detroit on 7 mile road. It was built in 1975 using Assyrian Revival architecture. The Church was closed in 2015, as the local Assyrian population was very thinned out, and so it moved to a new facility in Warren, Michigan as "Our Lady Of Perpetual Help". The building is being sold, with a "for sale" sign visible from a google street view from October, 2015.The old and new churches are part of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Detroit.Senaya language
The Senaya language is a modern Eastern Syriac-Aramaic language. It is the language of Assyrians originally from Sanandaj in Iranian Kurdistan. Most Senaya speakers now live in California, United States and few families still live in Tehran, Iran. They are mostly members of the Chaldean Catholic Church. Since the speakers are ethnically Assyrian, the language would be, at times, considered a dialect of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.Shemon VII Ishoyahb
Shemʿon VII Ishoʿyahb (Classical Syriac: ܫܡܥܘܢ ܫܒܝܥܝܐ ܝܫܘܥܝܗܒ) was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 1539 to 1558, with residence in Rabban Hormizd Monastery.His reign was widely unpopular, and discontent with his leadership led to the schism of 1552, in which his opponents rebelled and appointed the monk Shimun Yohannan Sulaqa as a rival patriarch. Sulaqa's subsequent consecration by Pope Julius III saw a permanent split in the Church of the East and the birth of the Chaldean Catholic Church. His body is buried in the Rabban Hormizd Monastery near Alqosh, modern Iraq, belonging to the Chaldean Catholic Church.Syriac
Syriac may refer to:
Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic
Syriac (Unicode block)
Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars
Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syriac as their liturgical language
West Syriac Rite, liturgical rite of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Syriac Catholic Church
East Syriac Rite, liturgical rite of the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Chaldean Catholic Church
Assyrian people (Syriacs)
Suriyani Malayalam, dialect of Malayalam influenced by SyriacTuroyo language
Turoyo (also called Surayt) is a Central Neo-Aramaic language traditionally spoken in southeastern Turkey and northeastern Syria by Assyrians. Most speakers use the Classical Syriac language for literature and worship.
Turoyo speakers are currently mostly members of the Syriac Orthodox Church, but there are also Turoyo-speaking members of the Chaldean Catholic Church, especially from the town of Midyat, and of the Assyrian Church of the East. It is also currently spoken in the Syriac Diaspora, although classified as a vulnerable language.Turoyo is not mutually intelligible with Western Neo-Aramaic having been separated for over a thousand years, while mutual intelligibility with Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and Chaldean Neo-Aramaic is limited.Contrary to what these language names suggest, they are not specific to a particular church, with members of the Assyrian Church of the East and Chaldean Catholic Church speaking Turoyo, and members of the Syriac Orthodox Church speaking Assyrian or Chaldean Neo-Aramaic dialects.
Chaldean Catholic Church episcopal hierarchy
|Other former eparchies|
of the faithful
|West Syriac, legacy of |
the Patriarchate of Antioch
Saint Thomas Christians
|East Syriac, legacy of|
the Church of the East
(the "Nestorian Church")
|Saint Thomas Christians,|
the Malankara Church