Friday, February 01, 2013

Archbishop Sako

 At the start of the Iraq War in 2003, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians in Iraq and they lived primarily in nothern Iraq (the Kurdistan Regional Government), Baghdad, Basra and the disputed, oil-rich Kirkuk.  Iraqi Christians, after the start of the Iraq War, quickly became one of the targeted populations.  (Other targeted populations include women, academics, doctors, nurses, LGBTs, Sunnis and non-Christian religious minorities.)  Though they made up a small number of the total population of Iraq (2003 total population was around 26 million with 1.5 said to be Christians), they made up a large portion of the Iraqi refugee population.

They fled Iraq due to threats and violence.  The most infamous assault on Christians was the October 31, 2010 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad.  As a result of the deaths and the fleeing, the population of Christians in Iraq is now less than half what it was at the start of the war (with some figures saying 400,000 or 345,000).

Today there's big news on Iraqi Christians comes via Twitter:

  1. Vatican: Abp. Louis Sako elected Patriarch of the Chaledean Church... -

Yes, these days, even The Vatican is on Twitter.  Online at the official site, The Vatican's posted:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI has granted ecclesiastical communion, in accordance with Canon 76 § 2 of the code of canons of the Eastern Churches to His Beatitude Raphael I Louis Sako, canonically elected Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans in the Synod of Bishops of the Church, held in Rome January 28, 2013.
The Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church, convoked by the Holy Father under the presidency of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, canonically elected the Archbishop of Kirkuk, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans on January 28th. The new patriarch succeeds Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, and has chosen the name of Louis Raphael Sako I".
Born in Zakho (Iraq) July 4, 1948, Patriarch Sako completed his primary studies in Mosul, before attending the local seminary of St. John, run by the Dominican Fathers.
Ordained a priest on June 1, 1974, he undertook the pastoral service at the Cathedral of Mosul until 1979. Sent to Rome, he attended the Pontifical Oriental Institute, receiving his doctorate in Eastern Patristics. He later received his doctorate in history from the Sorbonne in Paris. On returning to Mosul in 1986, he was appointed parish priest of the Parish of Perpetual Help.
From 1997 to 2002 he held the office of Rector of the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad. He then returned to Mosul took over pastoral care of the Parish of Perpetual Help until the election as Archbishop of Kirkuk September 27, 2003. He received episcopal ordination on 14 November.
He has published several books on the Fathers of the Church and several articles.
Apart from Arabic and Chaldean, the Patriarch speaks German, French, English and Italian.
More to follow...

Alsumaria covers the news and adds that Archbishop Sako is the author of over 200 articles and 20 books on religion and theology.   AFP covers the news here.  In 2000, the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services prepared a fact sheet entitled "Iraq: Chaldean Christians" which included the following:

Chaldean and Assyrian Christians have the same ethnic and linguistic background, though as Eastern Rite Catholics, Chaldeans recognize the primacy of the Roman Catholic Pope while Assyrian Christians, who are not Catholic, do not (Journalist 17 May 2000; Minority Rights Group International 1997, 346). The Assyrians and Chaldeans are non-Arab, though the Iraqi government defines them as Arab, purportedly to increase identification of Iraqi Christians with the largely Sunni-Arab regime in Baghdad. The Kurdish government in northern Iraq refers, at least to Assyrians, as Kurdish Christians (USDOS 9 Sept. 1999).
[. . .]
1994 figures state that 220,945 of Iraq's Christians are Chaldean, though this number may now be down to 200,000 (UK Immigration & Nationality Directorate Sept. 1999). News sources state that there are anywhere from 500,000 to two million Christians in Iraq, of which Chaldeans reportedly predominate (Associated Press 26 Dec. 1998; The Economist Intelligence Unit 10 Feb. 2000; Knight-Ridder Tribune News 18 Feb. 1998). The US Department of State cites "conservative estimates" which place over 95 percent of Iraq's population, estimated at 17,903,000 in 1991, as Muslim, while the remaining less than 5 percent is broken down among Christians, Yazidis, and Jews (9 Sept. 1999).

Alsumaria notes the US Embassy in Ankara (Turkey) has been targeted by a bombing. CBS News reports it was a suicide bomber.

The following community sites -- plus and Pacifica Evening News -- updated last night and this morning:

This note is appearing in both posts this morning. There are certain things we've helped with in the past.  "We" is Martha, Shirley, Eli, Beth, KeShawn, Jess, Dona, Jim, Kat, Ruth, Isaiah, Ava and myself.  For example, every election cycle -- since the reporting on Congressional hearings became a part of the Iraq snapshots -- results in e-mails from campaigns about when did ___ say that?  And that's fairly obvious -- or should be -- but we respond.  Sometimes even after being presented with the date and the fact that the hearing is streamable at whatever page it's archived at, we'll have another e-mail asking but when in the hearing?  So I'll get very quiet and try to think (if it's not obvious in the snapshot) was this the first round or second round of questioning?  And we'll reply to that.  If -- and this does happen -- an e-mail comes in after that asking, "No, at what time into the hearing is it said?" we just blow that e-mail off.  You need to be responsible enough to stream a hearing.  We're not here to spoonfeed you.  But because it is an election issue, we do answer prior to that point -- and have answered for the campaigns of Democratic, Republican, Green and Constitutional Party candidates.  And would for any other party.

Last night, as I worked through returning calls, I spoke to Shirley who was having a real headache with an e-mail.  A week ago at the site a link to an article didn't work.  That happens.  Sometimes a mistake is made, sometimes a link goes out.  But the person gave a date and Shirley went through all of that day's entries trying to find where the link was.  She shouldn't have had to do that and no one will in the future.  She found it and then attempted to answer the e-mail's request for a real link but it's an Arabic article and I'm the only one working the e-mails that reads Arabic. That's where she hit a wall.

This is the only answer "catbird" will get, by the way.  I told Shirley I appreciated the time she was taking but that this was wasting her time and I'd be explaining that in the morning.  It is not this site -- or any site's -- responsibility to track down a link for you.   In addition to a mistake being made by me or someone I'm dictating too, links can change.  We stopped using "Yahoo News" for several years after we learned that they ditched a report within 3 months.  If we were responsible for providing alternate links, there's a period of about fourteen months that we'd have to be responding on every day.  (We link to Yahoo columnists now but we still avoid linking to a Yahoo repost of an article from another outlet due to the past ;vanishing'.)

If you see a broken link in a 24-hour period -- within 24 hours of something going up here -- you can e-mail.  If it was that morning and I'm mentioning it in the snapshot later that day and your e-mail's red prior to that, the link will be changed.  But, no, we're not your link hunters and I'm not too bothered by the fact that, in something written a week ago, you can't use the link.

That's on any topic at all.  But catbird was writing about avian flu.  I typed "avian flu" and "Karbala" into a basic Google search and the death turned up on several results including one from the United Nations.  Why didn't someone who grasps how to e-mail think to do that?

 We are not Net For Dummies.  Repeating, we are not here to spoonfeed.  The public account has enough problems currently -- too many e-mails and last week's hacking.  We all have limited time.  Beth, for example, had a request from an author about a book review she'd done that was mentioned in the year-end-review on books.  He emailed wanting to know if she could get him a copy.  The e-mail was passed on to her by whomever saw it that day.  Beth hoped to find time to type up her review.  She found it in the gina & krista round-robin (they are PDF files), she kept hoping she'd have time.  Instead, she had her own birthday, she had the death of a co-worker and she had the death of a family member.  When we were on the phone Sunday, she said Sunday that she just wasn't going to be able to do it.  I said if she wanted my thoughts, I understood and just to forget about it but that if she was asking my permission she didn't need to bother.  I had nothing to do with the review and did not write the year-end look at books and was just glad the e-mail hadn't been sent to me or I would have felt like I had to make the time to type it up and send it. So I understand the guilt Beth felt.  But it's also true that Beth reviewed the book for the gina & krista round-robin -- a private conversation in a less-public sphere.  (Gina coined the tagline that, here at The Common Ills, this is a private converstaion in a public sphere.)  The newsletters are for members only and that allows me to bring in friends to participate in the roundtables and for the friends to know they can speak freely because it is private.  So a newsletter can't be forwarded to the book author either and Beth has no time to type it up.  Oh well.  That's life.  Her duty or obligation was to review it, she did that.  If she could do other things, fine.  If she can't, that's fine too.  Everyone has a busy life -- on both ends of this computer or cell phone or tablet screen.  When something can be done, we're happy to do so but no one answering the public e-mails is going to do research.  If one phone call -- to me or whomever -- can provide the information, that's one thing.  But people answering the public e-mail are not your research assistants. 

The e-mail address for this site is

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq