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Wednesday, 3 December 2003 


Your Beatitudes,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
Pastors and Sons of the Venerable Chaldean Church,

1. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 1: 7).

I welcome you with great affection at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod of your Church, which proceeded to elect the new Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans, "Head and Father" of your Church, successor of the late Patriarch Raphaël I Bidawid.

To You, dear Emmanuel III Delly, I extend my cordial greetings, as I invoke upon you an abundant effusion of spiritual gifts.

I greet the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, to whom I entrusted the task of presiding over the synodal work. I thank him for his work and for his courteous address just now.

I greet all of you, venerable Brothers, gathered at St Peter's to celebrate the highest act of synodal responsibility. I ask you to communicate my affectionate thought and the assurance of my prayers to the communities of which you are Pastors. The Pope is close to all of the people of Iraq and knows of their yearning for peace, security and freedom.

2. Your Beatitude, you have asked for "ecclesiastica communio" [ecclesiastical communion]. I very willingly comply with this request. In view of this, I entrusted the responsibility of its confirmation to Cardinal Moussa I Daoud, according to the praxis, in the Eucharistic Celebration that will be held in St Peter's Basilica. Communion with the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, principle and visible foundation of unity in faith and charity, enables the individual Churches to live and work within the mystery of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

The Chaldean Church is proud to witness to Christ in the land from which "Abraham, our father in the faith" set forth, and to draw its apostolic origins from the preaching of "Thomas, one of the Twelve".

As a living member of the one vital sap that flows from Christ, the Chaldean Church must continue to flourish, faithful to her own identity, producing abundant fruit for the good of the entire ecclesiastical body.

3. Venerable Brothers, develop ever more the unanimous consonance which resounded among you in this Synod. Indeed, the unity of intentions will allow for a full growth of the ecclesial life.

Harmony is all the more necessary looking at your Country, today more than ever in need of true peace and tranquillity of order. Work to "unite the strength" of all believers in respectful dialogue, which favours the building of a stable and free society at every level.

As I call upon the intercession of the Holy Mother of God who gave the Prince of Peace to the world, I impart to you the Apostolic Blessing, which I extend wholeheartedly to all the sons and daughters of the beloved Chaldean Church.


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