| Cardinal |
Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans
|Church||Chaldean Catholic Church|
|Elected||31 January 2013|
|Predecessor||Emmanuel III Delly|
|Ordination||1 June 1974|
|Consecration||14 November 2003|
by André Sana
|Created cardinal||28 June 2018|
by Pope Francis
|Birth name||Louis Sako|
|Born||4 July 1948|
|Coat of arms|
Ordination history of
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.
Syriac, also known as Syrian/Syriac Aramaic, Syro-Aramaic or Classical Syriac, is a dialect of Middle Aramaic of the Northwest Semitic languages of the Afroasiatic family that is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet. Having first appeared in the early first century CE in Edessa, classical Syriac became a major literary language throughout the Middle East from the 4th to the 8th centuries, preserved in a large body of Syriac literature. Indeed, Syriac literature comprises roughly 90% of the extant Aramaic literature. Syriac was once spoken across much of the Near East as well as Anatolia and Eastern Arabia. Syriac originated in Mesopotamia and eventually spread west of Iraq in which it was became the lingua franca of the region during the Mesopotamian Neo-Assyrian period. During the establishment of the Church of the East in central-southern Iraq, speakers of Syriac split into two; those who followed the Eastern Syriac Rite and those who followed Western Syriac Rite. Syriac was the lingua franca of the entire region of Mesopotamia and the native language of the peoples of Iraq and surrounding regions until it was spread further west of the country to the entire Fertile Crescent region, as well as in parts of Eastern Arabia, becoming the dominant language for centuries, before the spread and replacement with Arabic language as the lingua franca. For this reason, Mesopotamian Iraqi Arabic being an Aramaic Syriac substratum, is said to be the most Aramaic Syriac influenced dialect of Arabic, sharing significant similarities in language structure, as well as having evident and stark influences from other ancient Mesopotamian languages of Iraq, such as Akkadian, Sumerian and Babylonian. Mesopotamian Arabic dialects developed by Iraqi Muslims, Iraqi Jews, as well as dialects by Iraqi Christians, most of whom are native ethnic Syriac speakers. Today, Syriac is the native spoken language of millions of Iraqi-Chaldo-Assyrians living in Iraq and the diaspora, and other Syriac-speaking people from Mesopotamia, such as the Mandaean people of Iraq. The dialects of Syriac spoken today include Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, and Mandaic.
The Chaldean Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic particular church 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.
Pope Francis made him a cardinal on 28 June 2018.
Sako was born in the city of Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan. He comes from a Chaldean Christian family that has roots in a religious community that has had a presence in the city of his birth since the 5th century AD.Before he was consecrated bishop, Sako had demanded to see President Saddam Hussein after the Iraqi Government refused to allow him to teach religious education. Saddam refused his request but Sako responded by doing a separate doctorate and, because it had little religious content, the Government gave him his teaching licence, which enabled him to teach the subject.
Zakho is a city in Iraq, at the centre of the eponymous Zakho District of the Dohuk Governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan, located a few kilometers from the Iraqi–Turkish border. The city has a population of 350,000.
Iraqi Kurdistan, officially called the Kurdistan Region of Iraq by the Iraqi constitution, is an autonomous region located in northern Iraq. It is also referred to as Southern Kurdistan, as Kurds generally consider it to be one of the four parts of Greater Kurdistan, which also includes parts of southeastern Turkey, northern Syria, and northwestern Iran.
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization the Iraqi Ba'ath Party—which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to power in Iraq.
On 1 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI granted him ecclesiastica communio (ecclesiastical communion)which the leaders of the Eastern-rite Catholic churches seek as a sign of their unity with the wider Catholic church. Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako speaks Chaldean, German, French, English, Italian, and Arabic.
The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, and in some historical cases Uniate Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian particular churches sui iuris in full communion with the Pope in Rome, as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. Headed by patriarchs, metropolitans, and major archbishops, the Eastern Catholic Churches are governed in accordance with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, although each church also has its own canons and laws on top of this, and the preservation of their own traditions is explicitly encouraged. The total membership of the various churches accounts for about 18 million, according to the Annuario Pontificio, thus making up about 1.5 percent of the Catholic Church, with the rest of its more than 1.2 billion members belonging to the Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church.
Sako was ordained a priest on 1 June 1974 for the Chaldean Archeparchy of Mosul. After his election and subsequent confirmation in 2003 he was consecrated the Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Kirkuk on 27 September 2003. He was elected to the position by a synod of bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church on 24 October 2002.He was awarded the Defensor Fidei prize in 2008 and in 2010, he was awarded the International Pax Christi Award.
Mosul is a major city in northern Iraq. Located some 400 km (250 mi) north of Baghdad, Mosul stands on the west bank of the Tigris, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank. The metropolitan area has grown to encompass substantial areas on both the "Left Bank" and the "Right Bank", as the two banks are described by the locals compared to the flow direction of Tigris.
Kirkuk is a city in Iraq, serving as the capital of the Kirkuk Governorate, located 238 kilometres north of Baghdad. Kirkuk lies in a wide zone with an enormously diverse population and has been multilingual for centuries. There were dramatic demographic changes during Kirkuk's urbanization in the twentieth century, which saw the development of distinct ethnic groups. Kurds, Iraqi Turkmen, Arabs, and Assyrians lay conflicting claims to this zone, and all have their historical accounts and memories to buttress their claims.
Pax Christi International is an international Catholic peace movement. The Pax Christi International website declares its mission is "to transform a world shaken by violence, terrorism, deepening inequalities, and global insecurity."
In August 2009, and at the beginning of Ramadan, Sako sent out an appeal for national peace, reconciliation and end to violence along with other religious leaders in Kirkuk. Archeparch Sako explained that this is "a gesture of closeness to our Muslim brothers. We are all brothers, sons of the same God we must respect and cooperate for the good of the people and our country. " "Iraq – said Msgr. Sako – needs reconciliation and dialogue”. The participants included representatives of Ali Sistani and Muqtada al Sadr.Sako has stated that he would go against a centuries-old tradition of wearing the traditional Chaldean head cover "shash".
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (sawm) fasting, prayer, reflection and community. A commemoration of the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, the annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam and lasts twenty-nine to thirty days, from one visual sighting of the crescent moon to the next.
The Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church, convoked in Rome on 28 January 2013, elected him to succeed Emmanuel III Delly as Patriarch of Babylon. Sako chose Louis Raphael I as his regnal name.
Mar Emmanuel III Delly was the Patriarch Emeritus of Babylon of the Chaldeans and former Primate of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic sui juris particular church of the Catholic Church, and also a Cardinal. An ethnic Chaldean, he was born in Tel Keppe and was ordained a priest on 21 December 1952. He was consecrated a bishop ten years later in December 1962 at the age of 35. He was elected Patriarch of the Chaldean Church on 3 December 2003, succeeding the late Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid. He was created a Cardinal Bishop on 24 November 2007.
In July 2014 Sako led a wave of condemnation for the Sunni Islamists who demanded Christians either convert, submit to their radical rule and pay a religious levy or face death by the sword. At the Vatican, Pope Francis decried what he said was the persecution of Christians in the birthplace of their faith, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Islamic State's actions could constitute a crime against humanity. Hundreds of Christian families left Mosul ahead of the ultimatum, many of them stripped of their possessions as they fled for safety. They formed the remnants of a community which once numbered in the tens of thousands and traced its presence in Mosul to the earliest years of Christianity.
In September 2014 Sako said “The U.S. is indirectly responsible for what is going on in Iraq as it said it would ensure democracy and the well-being of the people, but 10 years have passed and on the contrary we have gone backward,” Sako told reporters at Beirut's airport. He was responding to a question following remarks attributed to him in the local daily Ad-Diyar in which he accused the U.S. of supporting ISIS. Sako had also criticized Muslim countries for lack of support. “Our Muslim neighbours did not help us,” he said, as he urged Muslim preachers to issue a religious ruling against the killing of all innocent people. “Issuing a fatwa preventing Muslims from killing fellow Muslims is not enough,” Sako said.
In October 2014, Sako suspended 10 priests that fled Iraq after they refused an order to return to the country.The priests, including Fr. Noel Gorgis, who has lived in the United States for 20 years, appealed to Pope Francis for relief from the order. In January 2015, Pope Francis granted permission to the 10 to remain in the United States. Patriarch Sako later renewed his order despite the Pope's decision.
In 2015, Sako proposed a "merger" or reunion of his own Chaldean Catholic Church with the Ancient Church of the East and the Assyrian Church of the East to create one united "Church of the East" with a single patriarch in union with the Pope. His proposal would have involved both his own resignation and that of Mar Addai II, followed by a joint synod of all of the bishops of all three churches to elect a new patriarch for the reunited Church of the East. (The patriarchate of the Assyrian Church of the East was vacant at the time, following the death of Mar Dinkha IV.)
On 14 November 2015, the Synod of Bishops announced that Pope Francis had named him as one of his three appointments to that body's council.
Pope Francis made Sako a cardinal bishop in a consistory on 28 June 2018.
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, is an Eastern Christian Church that follows the traditional christology and ecclesiology of the historical Church of the East. It belongs to the eastern branch of Syriac Christianity, and uses the Divine Liturgy of Saints Mar Addai and Mar Mari belonging to the East Syrian Rite liturgy. Its main spoken language is Syriac, a dialect of Eastern Aramaic, and the majority of its adherents are ethnic Assyrians.
The Ancient Church of the East, officially the Ancient Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East, is an Eastern Christian denomination founded by Thoma Darmo in 1968.
Assyrians in Iraq are an ethnic and linguistic minority in present-day Iraq, and are the indigenous population of the region. Assyrians are about 2-5% (500,000+) of the population of Iraq. Assyrians in Iraq are those Assyrians still residing in the country of Iraq, and those in the Assyrian diaspora who are of Iraqi-Assyrian heritage. They are and have direct cultural and genetic lineage from the ancient Mesopotamians, in particular from the Akkadian peoples who emerged in the region c. 3000 BC, and the Aramean tribes who intermingled with them from the 9th century BC onwards.
Ragheed Aziz Ganni was a Chaldean Catholic priest. On June 3, 2007, Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost, he was killed along with three subdeacons including his cousin Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed in front of Mosul's Holy Spirit Chaldean Church where he was parish priest.
Chaldean Catholics, known simply as Chaldeans, are former Nestorian adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church which originates from the Church of the East.
Mar Raphael I Bidawid † (April 17, 1922 – July 7, 2003) was the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church from 1989–2003. He was also a Syriac scholar.
The Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon 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.
Archbishop Mar Paulos Faraj Rahho was the Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, in the northern part of Iraq.
Christianity in the 21st century is characterized by the pursuit of Church unity and the continued resistance to persecution, and secularization.
After the schism of 1552 of the Church of the East, the secessions the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East each had around twelve dioceses each by the end of the 19th century.
The Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Kirkuk is an archeparchy of the Chaldean Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome. The archeparchy was created in the early years of the nineteenth century. Its present ordinary, Archbishop Yousif Thomas Mirkis, was consecrated in 2014.
Emil Shimoun Nona is the Archbishop of the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, prior to this he has been the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul in the northern part of Iraq since the consent of Pope Benedict XVI to his election on 13 November 2009. He took over the archeparchy after the murder of Paulos Faraj Rahho in early 2008.
Patriarch Moran Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rahi is the 77th Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, and head of the Maronite Church, a position he has held since 15 March 2011, succeeding Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir. Rahi was made a cardinal on 24 November 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Archbishop Mar Jacques Ishaq was a Curial Bishop of the Patriarchate of Babylon, Iraq, of the Chaldean Catholic Church. He served as locum tenens of the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans between the retirement of Emmanuel III Delly in December 2012 and the election of Louis Raphaël I Sako in January 2013.
Ibrahim Namo Ibrahim is a bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States. He served as the Apostolic Exarch of United States of America from 1982 to 1985, and then, following its elevation, as the first eparch (bishop) of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Detroit, from 1985 until his retirement was accepted by Pope Francis on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Bishop Francis Y. Kalabat was named to succeed him as Eparch.
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The Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Aqra is an Eastern Catholic eparchy (diocese) of the Chaldean Catholic Church in northern Iraq.
Archbishop Mgr. Yousif Thomas Mirkis, is the Archbishop of Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Kirkuk-Sulaimaniya whose cathedral, St Paul's, was repeatedly bombed and rebuilt by Islamic State in the early 2000s. He announced a policy of starting a new university in Iraq, and has been described as a both a journalist and a human rights activist; he organised the purchase of Kituk's first Ultrasound system.
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|Catholic Church titles|
| Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk |
Yousif Thomas Mirkis
Emmanuel III Delly
| Patriarch of Babylon |
of the Chaldean Catholic Church