Kristian spoke of the history in Iraq of the Chaldean Catholic Church and its progenitor, the Church of the East. Kristian recognises the religious, social and political contributions of the Chaldean Catholic community to Iraqi Society during the 20th Century which are far greater than its minority demographic status might suggest. His paper describes the range of issues which have shaped the contribution of the Chaldean Church;
- the rise of Assyrian nationalism in the Church of the East and its affects on political stability in the Christian community both in Iraq and Kurdistan.
- the challenge in an Islamic society to remain safe where association with the West suggests a lack of commitment to Iraqi ideals of pan Arabism and dominance of Islam.
- the power politics played out between the Sunni Kurdish peoples, the Shia' majority and the Southern Sunni minority of Iraqi particularly with the rise and fall of the Baath party.
- the drive towards ecumenical relationships between the Roman Catholic and Chaldean Catholic churches and Church of the East in discussion over theology and liturgy as the increasing exodus of Christians from Iraq reduces political influence and ecclesial viability
- the challenge to Church identities in the
contemporary Middle East
and the growth and development of eastern churches in the diaspora in North America and Europe.
Kristian and others also commented on the woeful and damaging ignorance of international church and political leadership of the existence and challenge of the historical and contemporary churches whose origin is in the Middle East and the part that this community does continue to play in the lives of ordinary people.
At our Meeting 20th March 2013