(AINA) -- A coalition of Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) political and cultural organizations has sent a letter to two Assyrian Patriarchs, urging them to continue and expand the dialog between their churches. The Patriarch of the Chaldean Church of Babylon (a Roman Catholic uniate), Mar Emanuel III Dally and the Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV, are both in the United States visiting their communities.
The letter urges the Patriarchs to continue the dialog begun in 1997 between Mar Dinkha IV and the former Chaldean Patriarch, Mar Bedawid, stressing the critical situation of the Assyrian community in Iraq, and the forthcoming Iraqi constitutional convention. The letter asks the Patriarch to work to ensure that Assyrians will be fundamentally recognized in Iraq's new constitution.
It is not clear if the coalition sent a similar letter to the third Assyrian Patriarch, Mar Zakka I Iwas, who is the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Here follows the letter:
June 9, 2005
|To His Holiness Mar Emanuel III Dally |
Chaldean Catholic Church
|To His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV |
Assyrian Church of the East
With most reverence we offer our filial obedience to both of you, our beloved Fathers Patriarchs, who stand in the glorious succession of venerable Martyrs and Saints who served the Holy See of the Patriarchate of the Church of the East. On this exceptional occasion of your concurrent presence in the United States of America, we the heads and members of several Assyrian and Chaldean organizations and elements of our people's intelligentsia take this opportunity to present Your Holinesses with some of our concerns and requests, which seem to crown the list of crucial issues, confronting worldwide communities from both Churches.
- The historic and unprecedented chapter, which our beloved homeland Iraq is presently living through, demands from all our people to unite and make consensus among themselves and between our various Chaldean and Assyrian organizations and churches. If serious and sincere steps in this direction are not immediately taken, our people in Iraq will loose this historic opportunity to establish a unified category in the new Iraqi constitution and will have an increasingly weaker representation in future elections. Despite the attempts of those who are seeking to separate our people in Iraq today we must ourselves work to defuse them and instead unify our folds. Under Your Holinesses fatherly guidance, we urgently need an effective plan to advance this noble goal and bring about UNITY between all Assyrians and Chaldeans in Iraq.
- We urgently ask you to continue dialogue between the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East in all theological and non-theological levels. We can no longer afford to have the two most significant spiritual organizations cease collaboration that was started in 1997 in Chicago. Under Your Holinesses' guidance, we urge you both to continue this important process on the path of unity and for the sake of our future.
- This dialogue is so important for us we would like to humbly request that within the structure of its subcommittees Your Holinesses include members of the laity from both Churches. We feel we are not asking something that is extraordinary but that which falls within our obligation, as your sons and daughters, to sincerely serve our Lord Jesus Christ and faithfully assist our spiritual leaders achieve the best possible results for the benefit of our Churches and Nation.
- Since there are among us other brothers and sisters who belong to the Ancient Church of the East, we therefore also urge you to consider inviting His Holiness Mar Addai II as a partner in this dialogue and pastoral collaboration. We feel we should not spare any effort for the sake of bringing our people into a coherent unity and a brotherly solidarity.
Eight years ago we could have afforded to waste ample time on reflection and debate of these issues. But today, squandering more time on meaningless discussions and empty agreements is against our interest as individuals, as Churches and more so as a Nation, in a world that is increasingly outsmarting and outgrowing us in so many paths.
We urge you both to look upon these requests with the same spirit that our previous patriarchs and spiritual leaders have done while championing the cause of preserving their Christian faith, the unity of their one people and the survival of their common Mesopotamian culture and Aramaic language. With glory and respect, history shall remember those who sacrifice for the sake of Godly ideal and noble human principles. We respectfully and sincerely pray for your spiritual and physical welfare and for the prosperity of all of our people throughout the world.
Assyrian American National Federation
Representing 34 affiliated organizations in United States
Mr. Aladin Khamis, President
Assyrian Council of Illinois
Mr. Shiba Mando, President
Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Martin Manna, Executive Director and
Mr. Dave Nona
Chaldean Iraqi Association of Michigan
Mr. Adid Miri
ChaldoAssyrian National Council of America
Mrs. Jacklin Bejan, Council Coordinator