ASIA/IRAQ – Patriarchal note explains why the reference to Babylon in the name of the Chaldean Patriarchate has been removed

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Baghdad – The reference to “Babylon”, so far contained in the name of the Chaldean Patriarchate, has been removed on the initiative of the last Chaldean Synod of Bishops because it has no historical basis. This emerges from a communication from the Patriarchate, which is intended as an answer to questions and disapproving comments that were published on the Internet after the decision of the Synod.
During the last Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church, which took place from August 9th to 14th in Baghdad, the participating bishops, together with Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, unanimously decided to give up the previously used designation “Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans” and replace it with the simple definition” Chaldean Patriarchate”. The synodal decision had also led to critical reactions. For example, in an online appeal, the Chaldean Writers’ Association expressed its “regret” at a synodal resolution which, according to the authors of the communiqué, “calls into question a legacy of which we are proud”.
The Patriarch’s reply emphasizes that many critical comments come from circles of the Chaldean diaspora, while in Iraq “no one opposed the decision of the Synod”. “Babylon”, as the Patriarchate said, “was the capital of the Babylonian Empire, and it was never an episcopal or patriarchal seat and is now an Iraqi-Muslim city”.
The denomination of “Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans” has no historical basis, for several reasons. By the time Christianity came to Mesopotamia, Babylon was already in ruins. The complex historical events that in the sixteenth century saw a part of the Assyrian Church of the East reaffirm full unity with the Church of Rome, led to the establishment of the Chaldean Patriarchate, linked by bonds of hierarchical communion with the Successor of Peter. But the reference to “Babylon” was included in the title of the Chaldean Patriarch only in 1724 by Patriarch Youssef III, who resided in Diyarbakir .