Friday, 1 June 2007

Chaldean Church to Convene Synod in Iraq

Security of Community at Heart of Discussion

IRBIL, Iraq, MAY 31, 2007 Leaders of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq will gather for a weeklong synod and the issue of security in that war-torn land will be at the forefront of the prelates' discussions.

The meeting begins Friday in al Qosh, formerly the ancient city of Nineveh, reported.

Though the last synod was held in Rome for security reasons, this year, the bishops wanted to stay in Iraq.

"Despite security concerns, the patriarch and bishops chose to hold the synod on national soil to send a strong signal of solidarity to the entire community, to let them know that we are present and that their lives are dear to us," Monsignor Philip Najim, the procurator for the Chaldean Church to the Holy See, told AsiaNews.

"The issue of the security of the community, halved by forced emigration, will be at the heart of the synod discussions," Monsignor Najim added.

He said other topics for discussion will include the future of Babel College, the only faculty of theology in the country, which was recently transferred to the capital of Kurdistan, and the conditions of dioceses in Iraq and the entire Middle East.

Bishops from the Chaldean diaspora in the United States, Canada, Australia and Lebanon will also attend, as will Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the apostolic nuncio to Iraq.