Iraqi President’s decree revoking Chaldean Patriarch Sako as head of Chaldean Endowment sparks concern and outcry

ERBIL, Iraq / BAGHDAD — Earlier, the Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid issued a decree in which he revoked the decree that had been issued by the former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in 2013 regarding the appointment of Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Mor Louis Raphael Sako role in administering the Chaldean Endowment.

The political parties of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people in Iraq, including the e Bethnahrin Patriotic Union in Iraq (Huyodo Bethnahrin Athroyo, HBA), issued a statement regarding this decree.

The statement affirmed that the parties stand by the Patriarch, his religious authority, and his national status as the head of a religious institution that represents an important part of the ethnic components of Iraqi society.

They declared that the decree is a concerning message to the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people and will have negative repercussions.

The statement also indicated that this decree directly targets the Christian community of Iraq and is the latest salvo affecting a people already subject to displacement, killing of clergy and civilians, kidnappings, and the bombing of churches and holy sites.

The parties expressed their rejection of this decree and warned that it would lead to more targeting of Christians and would allow the manipulation of church endowments by influential and corrupt parties.

The statement called on the President of the Republic to withdraw this decree.

The Chaldean National Congress also denounced the decree. It called on the President Rashid to reverse his decision, saying that no party has the right to interfere with the decision of the Council of Churches, and that the cancellation of any decree must come in accordance with the same contexts in which the appointment came.

Defending his decree, President Rashid emphasized that the withdrawal of the republican decree does not undermine the religious or legal status of Cardinal Louis Sako, as he was appointed by the Apostolic See as the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq and worldwide. The decision to withdraw the decree was made to rectify a constitutional situation since Decree No. (147) of 2013 lacked a constitutional or legal basis. Additionally, the President called upon the leaders of various churches and sects to refrain from issuing similar republican decrees without proper constitutional grounding.

President Rashid underscored the Presidency of the Republic’s profound respect and appreciation for Patriarch Louis Sako in his capacity as the patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq and globally.