Statement on Withdrawal of the Chaldean Patriarch’s Republican Decree
Patriarchal Media Office
Iraqi Christians in Iraq and abroad were surprised to hear about the withdrawal of Republican Decree No. (147) of 2013 of the Chaldean Church Patriarch, His Eminence Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako pretexting that it has no constitutional or legal basis.
Historically, this decision is an unprecedented in Iraq. Since the Abbasid Caliphate, His Beatitude the Patriarch used to be granted an official acquittal, and the matter continued during the Ottoman era, by issuing a Farman to the (Patriarch), which we have a copy named as “the Taghra”. The same status was respected through the period of Iraqi Royal and Republican Governments along history. Furthermore, the situation was the same in other Arab countries that have Christian denominations, such as Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.
We actually consider such decision “political”, because we do not know the reasons behind it. However, it is not against the person of His Beatitude Patriarch Sako, who is known nationally and internationally for his integrity and patriotic stances, but rather against the very well-known Iraqi rooted Patriarchal position.
With that said, we do not hope for the withdrawal of Republican decrees from 20 Leaders and Bishops of Sister Churches. Yet, we don’t see any problem in issuing new decrees for the “Heads” of other Christian denominations, which would reflect the government’s respect for this beautiful historical Iraqi fabric and provide assurance for Christians and all Iraqi components in such difficult circumstances that we are going through.
Hence, Chaldean Church (the largest Church in Iraq), calls upon the President of the Republic of Iraq, who is well-known for his kindness, to restore the situation, before it turns to a crisis and unbearable consequences.
Overall, Iraqi Christians were and still are loyal to their homeland and carry Iraq in their hearts.