Card. Louis Raphael Sako
Louis Raphael Sako took over as the leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church in 2013. This is the oldest Christian community in Iraq. As an Archbishop, for years now he has been urging the various social groups, authorities and the government to start a dialogue with each other. During the time the Islamic State was ravaging the country, he spoke out against them very firmly. With his emotional cries for help he managed to direct the international Christian community’s attention to what was going on in Iraq and Syria. Among other things he pointed out that half of the one million strong Iraqi Catholic Community were forced to leave their homes and flee from the violent acts committed by extremist Sunni forces. Hundreds of thousands of people left Iraq too. They either had to live in crowded refugee camps or tried to make their way to Europe in hope of a starting a new and more secure life. The Patriarch is an advocate for dialogue. “I myself, have visited a Muslim settlement near Mosul on several occasions to try and help the four thousand Muslim families who live there. We gave them food and medicine and I told them that we were Christians from Bagdad, and we had come from 400 kilometres away to support them, because we are brothers, and we are not faithless. Those who persecuted us and who hurt them too are the faithless.” Since the end of the war, with assistance received from abroad including Hungary too, Luis Raphaël Sako and his Christian community have been doing a lot to make it possible for displaced people to return to their rebuilt homes and to start a new and more peaceful life.