Chaldean Catholics: "Christianity in the Middle East has had so much life, but it is now being destroyed in Iraq, Syria and the other countries of the 'Arab Spring.' "
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako, on the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, called for tolerance and forgiveness to fight extremism, hatred and terrorism.
Speaking at a prayer service Thursday in the Karrada section of Baghdad for the victims of the July 3 bombing that killed more than 290 people and wounded 200, the patriarch emphasized that "there is a spiritual, moral, and patriotic side for our prayer."
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad called for reconciliation and an end to all forms of extremism at an interfaith gathering he hosted.
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad implored moderate Muslims to reject "terrorism in the name of religion" and step up to challenge the actions of Islamic State militants against minority communities in Iraq.
During an international conference of Muslim and Christian leaders, Sako called the situation in Iraq an "unprecedented historic crisis" and called on Muslims in attendance to exercise their responsibility to protect Christian, Yezidi and other minority communities.
Aid to the Church in Need distributed the letter Sako read to the conference.
"It's not new for us. ... It's not a revolution. It's an affirmation of various intuitions of the church in Asia and of the universal church."
Pope Francis' personal envoy to the suffering people of Iraq joined the Chaldean Catholic patriarch in launching an appeal to the international community Monday, pleading for help to liberate villages controlled by the Islamic State terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection.
The pope also made a "pressing appeal to the international community to take initiatives to put an end to the humanitarian drama underway."
Pope Francis expressed his fears over increasing violence in Iraq and prayed for peace, security and reconciliation in the country.
He also announced he would be visiting Albania Sept. 21 to encourage the Catholic minority there and the people "who long suffered as a result of the ideologies of the past."
Pope Francis praised the dedication of the retired patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly, 86, who died Tuesday in a hospital in San Diego, according to the California-based Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle.
In a telegram of condolence to Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, Pope Francis recalled "with deep gratitude the late patriarch's dedication to his people and to the promotion of respectful, just and peaceful relations with followers of other religious traditions."
Pope Francis confirmed the head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and named among its new members Australian Cardinal George Pell, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis.
The Vatican announced Saturday that the pope confirmed Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz as prefect of the congregation, the Vatican office that oversees the world's religious orders.