The Chaldean Church in Kirkuk announced on Tuesday, December 17 that about 6 Christian families leave Iraq every day, criticizing foreign consulates and embassies for easily giving visas to these families. The Church also revealed that a successor to Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako I has been nominated awaiting the Vatican Pope's approval.
"Emptying the Middle East from Christians is a great loss. Their presence, competence and liberality are vital to the society and the Muslim majority appreciates that", said church priest Stephan Banan in a statement to Alsumaria. He also highlighted that: "approximately 6 Christian families leave Iraq daily due to a comprehensive strategy adopted to help Christians flee by giving them visas to foreign countries".
"Some Christians leave Iraq in fear of being targeted after hearing threats", clarified the Church's communiqué, asking "why do Christians leave the secure areas such as the northern parts of Iraq after tens of villages were built for them?"
"The Chaldean Church also agreed to name a priest to head the Chaldean Church in Kirkuk after its current Sheppard, Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako I was elected head of the Chaldean Church in Iraq and the world", clarified the press release. It pointed out that "the name of the successor will be announced as soon as we receive the Vatican's approval and an official ceremony will be held".
On October 15th, 2013, Patriarch Sako called upon Iraqi Christians who migrated to return to their home country warning against an unknown future. He confirmed that if Christians were to return, they would become the second largest religious group and the third largest ethnicity in Iraq.