Chaldean Catholic Church

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Chaldean Catholic Church
Latin Ecclesia Chaldaeorum Catholica ,
classical Syriac ܥܕܬܐ ܟܠܕܝܬܐ ܩܬܘܠܝܩܝܬܐ īṯa kaldetha qāthuliqetha
Basic data
Jurisdiction status Patriarchal Church
rite East Syrian / Chaldean
Liturgical language Syrian
calendar Gregorian calendar
Establishment date 16th Century
Seat Baghdad
Hierarch Patriarch of Babylon the Chaldeans Louis Raphaël I Sako
Jurisdictions 23
Believers 537,000
Bishops 22nd
Parishes 164
Diocesan priest 114
Religious priest 33
Permanent deacons 215
Friars 83
Religious sisters 166
Stand 2013
Template: Infobox rite church / maintenance / picture is missing

The Chaldean Catholic Church ( Classical Syriac ܥܕܬܐ ܟܠܕܝܬܐ ܩܬܘܠܝܩܝܬܐ īṯa kaldetha qāthuliqetha ) is an Eastern Church united with Rome with an East Syrian (Chaldean) rite. It forms the Catholic branch of the "Church of the East" , that is to say the early church Catholic of Seleukia-Ctesiphon . She is in full church fellowship with the Pope in Rome . Its head is the Patriarch of Babylon the Chaldeans , who has been based in Baghdad since 1950 .

Chaldean Catholic Church


In the 15th century the Catholic was declared hereditary (from uncle to nephew) within the East Syrian "Church of the East" . This led to an internal split in the church in 1553, with the elected (counter) Catholicos patriarch of the faction rejecting this kind of succession, Sulaqa Mar Shimon, approaching the Roman Catholic Church and establishing his own patriarchal line. The seat of the Catholicos of the traditional line at that time was Alqosh in the plains of Mosul , the seat of the Patriarch of the Younger, initially Diyarbakir , via Qudjani intermediate stations in the mountains of Hakkâri . This "patriarchy of the mountains" lost communion with Rome around 1662, became autocephalous and also hereditary.

A third East Syrian patriarchate arose in the 1680s when Bishop Joseph I of Diyarbakir entered into communion with Rome and received the title of patriarch. The Patriarchate of Diyarbakir existed until 1830 and was then united with the Catholic "Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans".

The older line of the "Patriarchate of the Plain" died out in 1803 and became Catholic with Johannes Hormizd . The remaining non-Catholic minority then accepted the hierarchy of the Qudjanis Patriarchate . After the dissolution of the Catholic Patriarchate of Diyarbakir in 1830, Johannes Hormizd, the nephew who had long since converted to Catholicism and the incumbent successor of the last non-Catholic Patriarch of Alqosh, was officially awarded the title of "Patriarch of Babylon" by the Chaldean Catholic Church. His first two successors, Nikolaus Zaya and Joseph VI. Audo , got into conflict with Rome over patriarchal rights, but ultimately submitted.

Both competing church organizations, the autocephalous ("Assyrian") and the Catholic ("Chaldean"), had roughly the same number of people around 1900, each with 100,000 believers, although their jurisdictions rarely overlapped. The non-Catholic branch, the Assyrian Church of the East , was subsequently weakened by the First World War, the flight and emigration of its members to the diaspora and the forced resettlement of their Catholicos patriarch to the USA.

In contrast to the Latin Church , the members of the Chaldean Catholic Church celebrate the liturgy in Syriac-Aramaic . However, since the majority of the faithful speak Arabic, the Arabic colloquial language of the population is increasingly being used for biblical readings, prayers and liturgical formulas and the Holy Mass is often bilingual. With the exception of the mountain villages in northern Iraq, where Aramaic is still spoken, religious instruction takes place in Arabic. Married people can be ordained priests , but unmarried priests are no longer allowed to marry after ordination.

Under certain conditions, members of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East have the opportunity to participate in the Eucharist and sacraments in the other church.


Assyrian St. Mary Church in Campbell , California

The Chaldean Catholic Church had around 537,000 members in 2013. Of the approximately 200 priests, around half worked in Iraq in 2013, the other half in the diaspora , including 20 in the USA.

Iraq and Syria

Because of the insecure situation in Iraq , many Chaldean Catholic Christians have left the country since the Iraq war in 2003. Thousands initially flee to neighboring Syria in order to emigrate from there to safe third countries. At the end of 2006 there were around 25,000 Chaldean Catholic Christians in Damascus alone . Before Chaldean Catholic Christians fled Iraq, there had been only 14,000 Chaldeans in Syria. It is estimated that half of Iraqi Christians left the country between 2003 and 2006. In the meantime the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchal Seminary of St. Peter and the Babel College , the Chaldean Catholic University, had to be closed. At the beginning of 2007 the seminar and the university could be reopened.

The number of Christians in Baghdad fell from around 400,000 to just under 100,000 between 2003 and 2006. Of the 30,000 Chaldo Assyrians in Basra , only about 1,000 remained in the city. In Mosul , where around 80,000 Christians used to live, were all expelled by the Islamic State terrorist group in 2014 . The Archbishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho , kidnapped by unknown persons , was found dead on March 13, 2008 near Mosul.

The Chaldean Catholic Church in the Diaspora

With the exception of Iraq and Syria, the Chaldean Catholic Church is represented in France , Georgia , India , Iran , Israel , Jordan , Lebanon , the Palestinian territories , Turkey and the USA . In 2013 there were around 160,000 Catholic Chaldeans in the USA and around 18,000 in France.

Around 6,000 Chaldean Christians live in Germany (2017 estimate), around a third of them in the greater Stuttgart area . The Stuttgart Chaldeans have been celebrating their services in the St. Paulus Church in Stuttgart-Rohracker since 2014 .

See also


  • Joseph Tfinkdji: L'église chaldéenne catholique. Autrefois et aujourd'hui . In: Annuaire Pontifical Catholique . 1914, p. 449-525 . (Print separately online: [1] )
  • Anthony O'Mahony: The Chaldaean Catholic Church: The Politics of Church-State Relations in Modern Iraq . In: Heythrop Journal . 2004, p. 435-450 , doi : 10.1111 / j.1468-2265.2004.00265.x .
  • Albert Lampart: A Martyr of the Union with Rome. Joseph I (1681–1696) Patriarch of the Chaldeans . Einsiedeln 1966.
  • Giuseppe Beltrami: La Chiesa caldea nel secolo dell'unione (Orientalia Christiana 29). PISO, Rome 1933.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c The Eastern Catholic Churches 2013. (PDF) Catholic Near East Welfare Association, accessed on January 21, 2015 .
  2. Iraq: Struggle for Religious Freedom . ( Memento of March 2, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Vatican Radio , January 1, 2007
  3. ^ Vatican Radio : Iraq: Seminar and University reopened ( Memento of February 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), January 15, 2007, accessed on December 23, 2017.
  4. Germany must accept Iraq's Christians . Society for Threatened Peoples , December 22, 2006.
  5. BBC , March 13, 2008.
  6. ^ Catholic News Agency, October 17, 2017.
  7. Melanie Maier: Chaldeans in Stuttgart. Own church for Christians from Iraq , Stuttgarter Nachrichten, November 29, 2014, accessed on December 23, 2017.