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Church for Chaldeans in Tbilisi (Tiflis) Georgia Grows
By Neda Ayar :: Thursday, October 2, 2008 :: 83681 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Tbilisi, GEORGIA - The world sat on edge as a democratically sovereign country of Georgia was invaded by the Russian military.  It has come to be known as the 2008 South Ossetia War.  While the country fights for independence, the people of Georgia turn to their faith for solace and prayer of peace.  One Chaldean church begins to grow and offer Georgian Chaldeans as well as non-Chaldeans comfort

Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River. The city is the size of Michigan and with a little more than a million people.   Chaldeans are to be found living all over the world, more is being learned about the Chaldeans of Georgia. 

The indigenous Iraqi Catholics have been present in Georgia since the middle of the 18th century and currently number around 7,000 members, living in various different cities in this country.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Chaldean community the freedom to worship was reenacted.  Chaldeans began a campaign to rebuild its religious life once again. In May 1995 an Assyrian-Chaldean mission was established in Georgia, under the direction of the Vatican, and in September 2000 a school for the faithful of this tradition was established.

Increasing numbers of Chaldeans has led to the call for a Chaldean church to be built in Georgia.  Faithful Chaldeans prayed in homes and in basements or cellars and after the ban on public worship was lifted, Chaldeans would use nearby churches.  Now the community has grown large enough to demand their own church, but the cost of the new parish with accommodations for a community center and sleeping quarters for priests and nuns is high. 

The parish priest, Father Benny Beth Yadegar, with the support of his bishop, Mgr. Guiseppe Pasotto, has turned to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for help.  ACN has promised a grant of $35,000 to help the faithful community.  To help raise funds for the Chaldean church ACN is appealing to the Chaldean community to assist. 

Americans wishing to help may contact the Chaldean Diocese of America in Michigan or California.  Europeans may contact Aid to the Church in Need efforts through their office in Sydney, Australia.

For contact information please e-mail info@chaldean.org

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.