Category Archives: Eastern Church

Louis Sako elected Patriarch of the Chaldean Church

Louis Sako.jpeg

Archbishop Louis Sako, 64, who since 2003 and until now the archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraq, has been elected the new Patriarch of Babylon, and the archbishop of Baghdad. He is XX worldwide leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Sako was elected this week by the Synod of the Chaldean Church, 15 bishops, which has been meeting in Rome this week to discuss the church life and to elect a successor to Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly who retired on 19 December 2012. Pope Benedict XVI quickly granted his request for full ecclesiastical communion, according to the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches.

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako is the point of unity among Chaldean Catholics and with the Bishop of Rome. His work will be to clearly preserve the life of the Chaldean Church, but also to chart the future of the ancient Christian community 

The new Patriarch is a native of Mosul, Iraq, ordained to the priesthood in 1974. He earned two doctorates–first in Patristics at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and the second in history at the Sorbonne, Paris. Sako did pastoral work in Mosul and was the rector of the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad for 5 years prior to being ordained as the archbishop of Kirkuk on 14 November 2003. He is a published author and speaks several languages.

An interview with Vatican Radio.

Rome Reports has a brief news piece.

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Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak elected new Patriarch for Catholic Copts

Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak.jpegThe Most Reverend Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, 57, was elected by the Synod of Bishop of the Catholic Coptic Church, to be Patriarch on January 15, 2013. He succeeds Antonio Cardinal Naguib.

Until now Patriarch Ibrahim has been the bishop of Minya since September 2002. He is the second bishop of Minya to be elected patriarch.
The Coptic Catholic Church is small with c. 165 thousand people. It was established in 1824. In Canada and the USA there are 5 parishes.

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Catholics and Orthodox need to preserve the good of the dialogue for unity

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Back on 31 October 2012, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk

delivered a lecture dedicated to the past and present of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue at Villanova University (Philadelphia, PA). The 46 year old Metropolitan earned a doctorate from Oxford University and was ordained a bishop in 2002. In addition to being a residential bishop he is also the head of the Department of the External Church Relations since 2009. He is a widely published author and an excellent musician of international repute. The two Churches share the same concerns, though there are nuances to be made but that is a conversation for another time. 


I think it is apropos to give a few extracts from the Metropolitan’s talk that pose some points for reflection on the unity of Christians. Remember we beginning the octave of Christian Unity on the 18th.

“The teaching of the holy fathers of the first millennium, when the Churches of the East and the West abided in unity, although at times this unity was subjected to serious trials, is the sure foundation upon which dialogue between Christians can develop successfully and fruitfully. It is my profound conviction that fidelity to the Christian tradition, the preservation of continuity in the teaching and life of the Church is the proper means for the restoration of unity among Christ’s disciples.

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The Syriac Catholic Church in North America

Referring to the Catholic Church as missionary may seem odd to some people. We don’t think of the Church in terms of being missionary, yet we are. To refer to a Catholic diocese in North America as a “mission diocese” may even rest uneasily on some ears. But both statements are true: the Catholic Church is missionary and there are some dioceses in North America that are mission dioceses. The Church always proposes the eternal truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and that the Church He founded is His extension of love and mercy in history.

The presence of the Syriac Catholic Church in North America is a mission diocese (eparchy in church-speak when referencing an Eastern Catholic jurisdiction). The headquarters here is the Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark.

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NJ.com carried a story by Father Alexander Santora today, “Syriac Catholic bishop is a very busy man,” covers a lot of ground in acquainting us with this particular Church which is not a mere rite, but fully in communion with the Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI.
As a Catholic jurisdiction established by Pope John Paul II in 1995, with Bishop Joseph Younan as the first eparch –who has since 2009 been the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church– and now governed by Bishop Joseph Habash, 61, as the second bishop.
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Chaldean Patriarch and Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, resigns

Cardeal Emmanuel III Delly.jpgThe 85 year old Chaldean Patriarch and Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly resigned today.

The Pope accepted his resignation and has called for a special synod of bishops of the Chaldean Church to meet on January 28, 2013 to be supervised by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.
The Chaldean Church will be governed by Archbishop Jacques Ishaq, 74, a curial bishop. The Chaldean Church in Iraq numbers about 450K+ and 1.5 million worldwide.
Patriarch Emmanuel III was ordained 60 years ago today; has been a bishop since 1963. When he was elected he was a retired bishop. Benedict XVI nominated him a cardinal in 2007.
Delly attended several sessions of Vatican II.
The Orthodox equivalent to the Chaldean Church is The Assyrian Church of the East who has its headquarters in Chicago, governed by Patriarch Dinkha IV. In the USA, there are two Catholic eparchies for the Chaldeans, one in Michigan and one in southern California. Whether Orthodox or Catholic, these church in Iraq considers the Apostle Saint Thomas to be a founder of the Church. Since November 11, 1994, the Church of Rome and the Church of the East (the Orthodox group) signed the Common Christological Declaration meaning that the Churches held Chalcedonian faith in Christ’s humanity and divinity.
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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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