New Iraqi patriarch urges Catholics to stay put

March 18, 2013

The new patriarch of Chaldean Catholics pledged to foster coexistence and dialogue and urged Christian Iraqis not to leave their homeland, warning that if emigration continues, “there will be no more Christians in the Middle East.”

Ululating and applause nearly drowned out the choir as Patriarch Louis Sako approached the altar at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baghdad for his installation March 6 amid tight security.

The 64-year-old patriarch, who had served as archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraq, since 2003, replaces Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly, 85.

“I open my heart and mind to you all carrying my motto: ‘Authenticity, Unity and Renewal,’” Patriarch Sako told Church officials, religious, laypeople, imams and senior Iraqi officials gathered in the cathedral.