Election of new Patriarch amid Baghdad chaos
Bishops from 20 or more dioceses around the world have travelled to Baghdad for the synod to elect the leader of Iraq's largest Christian denomination, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church.
Aid to the Church in Need reports that the synod, which commenced on Tuesday, followed the 7 July death of Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid.
The German-based charity is particularly concerned by the mounting evidence of declining relations between Christians and Muslims in Iraq as Shiite fundamentalism intensifies. It says most Christian priests are afraid to leave their homes.
It says that against a backdrop of murder and looting, the new Patriarch of Baghdad of the Chaldeans, will face the tough challenge of bringing new hope to a Church with 480,000 members in Iraq.
The Chaldean Church is an Eastern-rite Catholic Church which resumed full communion with Rome in the 16th century. Its focus is catechesis, education, and aid to the Christian and Muslim poor. The Church's liturgical language is Chaldean, a form of Aramaic, which was spoken by Jesus Christ.
Aid to the Church in Need
Chaldean Synod in Iraq Aims to Elect New Patriarch (Zenit)
Archdiocese of Baghdad (Chaldean) - catholic-hierarchy.org
21 Aug 2003