Thursday, May 25, 2017
St. Thomas News & Information
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Iraqi Christians Hope to Inspire Peace via Diplomacy and Dialogue
By Huda Metti :: Saturday, February 23, 2008 :: 71032 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Churches

Kirkuk, IRAQ - Chaldean Archbishop Sako has been elected interim chairman of the Iraqi Council of Christians.  A newly formed body that works to broker peace in Iraq and help communicate the importance of Christians in the Middle East.  The Archbishop explains that the goal is to create a single unit to engage with the authorities and Christians’ Muslim brothers, but not to be a political party.

The idea developed after a series of deadly coordinated attacks against Christian early this year across Iraq.  Iraqi Christians remain at risk and weakened by persecution and continual harassment.  Mass emigration and without proper political representation the indigenous people of Iraq are fast faltering.  Working at first at the local level the Christian Council is hoping to create a unified voice that will work to promote peace and solidarity among all Iraqis. 

For now their initiative is limited to Kirkuk and chaired for the time being by Chaldean archbishop, Mgr Louis Sako.  The Council will engage in dialogue local political authorities and promote peaceful co-existence with Christians’ and “Muslim brothers.”

Backed by Iraqi President Talabani, the Council will help bring together Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syro-Catholics and Armenian Orthodox and share a “common voice.”

The council will be composed of 30 members, clergy and laity, and meet once a month. “The Christian community welcomed the news about the Council’s creation,” he said. “I hope other cities follow Kirkuk’s example.”

According to Monsignor Sako, the lack of internal cohesion and shared views and goals are the Christian community’s greatest weakness.  “The main goal” in setting up the council “is to create a Christian common front,” he said. “If we have questions and problems we must be united to study them and propose solutions to the government.” But the newly-established council “is not a political party; it does not represent any side and has no intention of interfering with the work of parties.”

In Kirkuk, there are 12,000 Christians out of a population of about a million. In the last few years the city has taken in a lot of internally displaced people who fled the north from more dangerous areas like Baghdad and Mosul. 

The city has recently received the solidarity of Europe’s Christians. A 12-member delegation from Pax Christi France-Italy visited the archdiocese last Sunday.

Led by French bishop Mgr Marc Stenger, the delegation also visited Christian villages located in the Nineveh Plains and in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Mar Addai Church, MI USA

Mar Addai Chaldean Catholic Church
24010 Coolidge Hwy.
Oak Park, MI 48237
Tel: (248) 547-4648
Fax: (248) 399-9089

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Founding Pastor:
Rev. Stephen Kallabat

Current Pastor:
Rev. Stephan Kallabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Fadi Habib Khalaf

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Sulemina Denha
 


 

Rev. Stephen Kallabat


Fr. Stephan Kallabat was born in Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing seven years of scholarly work for the priesthood in Mosul, Iraq Fr. Kallabat was accepted at the prestigious university in Rome.  There he spent six additional years of scholarly work in the areas of philosophy and theology and an additional four years in scriptural studies. 

Ordained a priest in 1966 by Pope Paul VI he returned to Iraq to serve the Holy Family parish until his departure to Michigan, U.S. in 1979 to serve the growing population of Chaldeans.  Fr. Kallabat was appointed assistant pastor, then pastor of Mar Addai Parish in Oak Park, Michigan. 

Hitting the ground running, Fr. Kallabat is credited with raising the necessary funds to provide Chaldeans in the local area a church and community center of their own.  Fr. Kallabat continues to serve the parish and Chaldean community as their pastor.   

Rev. Fadi Habib Khalaf

Fr. Fadi Habib Khalaf was born in Baghdad May 10, 1974.  Fr. Khalaf graduated from Baghdad University in 1997 and soon after joined the Chaldean seminary in Baghdad.  While there Fr. Khalaf earned a scholarship to attend the Urbanian Pontifical University in Rome.  There he earned another bachelor’s degree in theology and was ordained deacon in Rome on May 8, 2004. 

Fr. Khalaf then returned to Baghdad where he was officially ordained as a priest.  Afterward Fr. Khalaf returned to Rome to further his studies.  In 2006 Fr. Khalaf was appointed to serve Chaldeans in the United States.  

In the summer of 2006 he arrived to the Chaldean diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle and was cardinated into the Diocese and elected to serve at Mar Addai parish on March 15, 2007 as the Parochial Vicar.

Rev. Suleiman Denha

Rev. Suleiman Denha was born in Telkaif, Iraq.  He began his priestly studies in 1951 in Mosul, Iraq and was ordained in 1959.  Fr. Denha taught in Telkaif until 1961, when he was appointed pastor in Basra, Iraq in 1966. 

After immigrating to the Unite States in 1979, he was appointed to serve the Chaldean community in Virginia.  A year later, Fr. Denha was recruited to assist the much larger population of Chaldeans in Detroit. 

Upon his arrival Fr. Denha assisted Fr. Yasso at Sacred Heart Church.  In 1982 he was asked to temporally assist St. Joseph Church in Troy, returning a year later Sacred Heart. 

In 1991, he was appointed to Mar Addai Church in Oak Park, Michigan as the Parochial Vicar, where he still serves the community today.