Chaldean Catholics from Mardin, 19th century.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Syriac Christianity (in union with Rome)|
Chaldean Christians // (ܟܠܕܝ̈ܐ) are ethnic Assyrian adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church (originally called The Church of Assyria and Mosul), that part of the Assyrian Church of the East which entered communion with the Catholic Church in the 17th century. In addition to their homeland, migrant Chaldo-Assyrian Catholic communities are found in the United States, Sweden, Germany, France, Canada and Australia.
The term Chaldean Christians is a Doctrinal and Theological term originating in the 17th century AD, rather than an ethnic one, and Chaldean Catholics should not be confused with the long extinct ancient Chaldeans, and do not originate from the far south east of Mesopotamia, which was the homeland of the unrelated ancient Chaldeans. They are in fact Assyrians from central and southern Assyria, the Nineveh plains, where the ruins of the ancient Assyrian capitals of Nineveh, Ashur and Kalhu(Nimrud) are located.
Similarly, Assyrian Chaldean Catholics should not be confused with the Saint Thomas Christians of India (also called the Chaldean Syrian Church), who are also sometimes known as "Chaldean Christians".
Chaldean Catholics in the Middle East
The 1896 census of the Chaldean Catholics counted 233 parishes and 177 churches or chapels. The Chaldean Catholic clergy numbered 248 priests; they were assisted by the monks of the Congregation of St. Hormizd, who numbered about one hundred. There were about 52 Chaldean schools (not counting those conducted by Latin nuns and missionaries). At Mosul there was a patriarchal seminary, distinct from the Chaldean seminary directed by the Dominicans. The total number of the Chaldean Christians is nearly 1.4 million, 78,000 of whom are in the Diocese of Mosul.
The patriarch considers Baghdad as the principal city of his see. His title of "Patriarch of Babylon" results from the identification of Baghdad with ancient Babylon (Baghdad is 55 miles north of the ancient city of Babylon and corresponds to northern Babylonia). However, the Chaldean patriarch resides habitually at Mosul and reserves for himself the direct administration of this diocese and that of Baghdad. There are five archbishops (resident respectively at Basra, Diyarbakır, Kirkuk, Salmas and Urmia) and seven bishops. Eight patriarchal vicars govern the small Assyrian Chaldean communities dispersed throughout Turkey and Iran. The Chaldean clergy, especially the monks of Rabban Hormizd Monastery, have established some missionary stations in the mountain districts dominated by The Assyrian Church of the East. Three dioceses are in Iran, the others in Turkey.
The literary revival in the early 20th century was mostly due to the Lazarist Pere Bedjan, an ethnic Assyrian Chaldean Catholic from Iran. He popularized the ancient chronicles, the lives of Assyrian saints and martyrs, and even works of the ancient Assyrian doctors among Assyrians of all denominations, including Chaldean Catholics, Orthodox Christians and the Assyrian Church.
In March 2008, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul was kidnapped, and found dead two weeks later. Pope Benedict XVI condemned his death. Sunni and Shia Muslims also expressed their condemnation.
Chaldean Catholics today number approximately 550,000 of Iraq's estimated 800,000 Assyrian Christians. Perhaps the best known Iraqi Chaldean Catholic is former Iraqi deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz (real name Michael Youhanna).
Hundred thousands of Assyrian Christians of all denominations have left Iraq since the ousting of Saddam Hussein in 2003. At least 20,000 of them have fled through Lebanon to seek resettlement in Europe and the US. The situation of the Chaldo-Assyrian community in Iraq has been described as very difficult. Their members and churches are frequently threatened by Muslim fundamentalists, Kurdish extremists and criminal gangs. As political changes sweep through some of the Arab nations, the Assyrian minorities in north east Syria and other countries have also expressed concern.
Predominantly Assyrian Chaldean Catholic towns in Iraq
- Alqosh (ܐܠܩܘܫ)
- Ankawa (ܥܢܟܒ݂ܐ)
- Araden (ܐܪܕܢ)
- Baqofah (ܒܝܬ ܩܘܦ̮ܐ)
- Batnaya (ܒܛܢܝܐ)
- Karamles (ܟܪܡܠܫ)
- Tel Isqof (ܬܠܐ ܙܩܝܦ̮ܐ)
- Tel Keppe (ܬܠ ܟܦܐ)
- BBC NEWS (March 13, 2008). "Who are the Chaldean Christians?". BBC NEWS. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
- Edmund Ghareeb, Beth Dougherty (2004). Historical Dictionary of Iraq. Scarecrow Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-8108-4330-1.
- a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Travis, Hannibal. Genocide in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire, Iraq, and Sudan. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2010, 2007, pp. 237-77, 293–294
- Iraq: Dutch MP calls for autonomous Assyrian Christian region in north
- "ASSYRIAN IDENTITY IN ANCIENT TIMES AND TODAY". "...many modern Assyrians originating from central Assyria now identify with "Chaldeans"..."
- Mgr. George 'Abdisho' Khayyath to the Abbé Chabot (Revue de l'Orient Chrétien, I, no. 4)
- "New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia".
- "Iraqi archbishop death condemned". BBC News. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2009-12-31. from BBC News
- Martin Chulov (2010) ”Christian exodus from Iraq gathers pace”The Guardian, retrieved June 12, 2012
- R. Thelen (2008) Daily Star, Lebanon retrieved June 12, 2012
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Chaldean Catholic Church|
- The Chaldean Catholic Church
- Iraq: Chaldean Christians UNHCR
- Chaldean Christians in the Catholic Encyclopedia
- BBC: Who are the Chaldean Christians?