|Obama and Talabani|
No, I'm not going through Benedict for this one. I think we can all agree that would be too easy. For this journey to John Paul, we're taking a trip to Iraq!
Third Degree: President Barak Obama met with the Second Degree: Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish president of Iraq. This photo was taken April 7, 2009. The Kurds were a persecuted minority in Iraq under the Saddam Hussein regime. So to were the Iraqi Christians. THERE HAVE BEEN CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ FOR 2000 YEARS! The majority of Christians have been forced from Iraq by the oppression of both Hussein's rule and the current Shiites. To read more about the persecution of the Assyrian and Chaldean Churches, click here. It is unclear to me that the Kurds are persecuting the Christians, but there is definitely a crisis for Christendom in Iraq.
Fun Linguistic Fact: Don't confuse "Talabani" with "Taliban". The "Taliban" is a group of Wahhabi Muslims in Afghanistan, their name comes from the Pashto word for "students." Jalal "Talabani" is a Kurdish man, he speaks Kurdish, not Pashto. I do not know what his name means in Kurdish, but it is unfortunate that it sounds so similar to "Taliban."
|Mar Delly was named a Cardinal by Pope Benedict in 2007.|
Here, the Chaldean Patriarch meets John Paul II
First Degree: Emmanuel Mar Dinkha IV , Patriarch of the Assyrian Church met with Jalal Talabani. Mar Dinkha and Mar Delly, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, continue to work tirelessly with Muslim leaders to bring peace to their people and all the people of Iraq.
When you view the pictures in the video below, look deeply into the faces. These are the characteristics of Iraqi people. They are beautiful features. The beards can be off-putting to Western eyes, but look past that to the humanity. When you see Iraqi faces on the news, look past the clothing and the beards and see the same faces.
To read about Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly of the Chaledean Church click here.
To read about Mar Delly and Mar Dinkha meeting in Chicago, click here.
To read about Chaldean Culture click here.
Currently, the Vatican is hosting a Synod of bishops from the Middle East. Can you spot anyone mentioned above?