Back to Index

IRAQ: The Chaldean Catholics

In our discussion of the Iraq's Chaldean Catholics the question arose of their relations with Rome. They must have been in communion, since the announcement of the death of their spiritual leader, Patriarch Raphael I. Bidawid, came from the Vatican (7/12/03). Born in Iraq, he had studied theology and philosophy in Rome. He was an outspoken critic of UN sanctions against Iraq. In a 1991 visit to the Vatican he said the Gulf War allies were guilty of genocide against the people of Iraq. He was accused of being an apologist for Saddam Hussein. Presumably he fled after the US started its campaign against Iraq, since he died in Beirut.The funeral service was held in the Chaldean cathedral there. Chaldean Catholics are the largest Christian community in Iraq. Their numbers, somewhere between 500,000 and 7000,000, are shrinking.

Ronald Hilton - 7/13/03