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Church for Chaldeans in Tbilisi (Tiflis) Georgia Grows
By Neda Ayar :: Thursday, October 2, 2008 :: 81154 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

St. George, MI USA
St. George Chaldean Catholic Church
45700 Dequinder Rd.,
Shelby Twp., MI 48317
Tel: (586) 254-7221
Fax: (586) 254-2874
 
Pastor: Rev.
Emanuel Shaleta
Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Basel Yaldo

Rev. Emanuel Shaleta 
Rev. Emanuel Hana Isho Shaleta was born in the village of Peshabur in northern Iraq. After completing his primary education he applied and was admitted in September 1971, to the illustrious St. John Seminary in Mosul, Iraq. In 1977 Rev. Shaleta was awarded a scholarship to study philosophy and theology in the renowned Urbaniana Pontifical University in Rome. There he obtained a Ph.D. in Biblical Theology. 
 
The reverends impressive work earned him the honor to be ordained to the priesthood by the hands of Pope John Paul II, in St. Peter Basilica in Rome on May 31, 1984. 
 
On June 3, 1987, Fr. Shaleta was assigned to serve as pastor for St. Paul Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church in North Hollywood, California, where he served for just about a decade and a half. 
 
In December 2000, Fr. Shaleta was called to assist St. Jospeh Catholic Chaldean Church in Troy, Michigan and shortly thereafter was appointed pastor in 2002. Fr. Shaleta’s impressive leadership merited a unanimous appointment as the first pastor of St. George Chaldean Catholic Church, in Shelby Twp. Michigan, billed as the largest Chaldean church in the world. Fr. Shaleta continues to this day to impressively lead the faithful and offer wonderful opportunities and service to the community. 
 
Rev. Basel Yaldo
 
Rev. Basel Yaldo was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1970. Rev. Yaldo graduated from the National Teachers College in Iraq in 1989 and was drafted in the army in 1990. In 1993, he was honorably discharged for his service. A year later Rev. Yaldo was admitted to Babel College in Baghdad to study philosophy and theology. There Fr. Yaldo, received a scholarship to study in Rome at Urban College, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in theology in 2001. 
 
On November 23, 2002, Fr. Yaldo was ordained a priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim, Bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle for the Chaldeans. Fr. Yaldo continued his studies whereby he completed a masters degree in Dogmatic Theology with a focus on Marian studies from Urban College in 2003. 
 
The following year he was appointed assistant director of the seminary in the Dora district of Baghdad, and taught Dogmatic Theology at Babel College. His commanding leadership and steadfast skills earned him the secretarial appointment to Patriarch Emanuel III Delly. Upon completion of his duties as patriarchal secretary, Fr. Yaldo was nominated and selected as assistant pastor to St. George Chaldean Catholic Church Shelby Township, Michigan.