(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI has erected the Chaldean Eparchy of Canada under the title of Mar Addai of the Chaldeans of Toronto and appointed SE Archbishop Hanna Zora first Bishop of the new Eparchy, transferring him from the See of Ahwaz and retaining the title of Archbishop ad personam.
“We are very pleased at the news”, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk told Emer McCarthy “we Chaldeans are part of the universal Church. However, at the same time we are a little saddened by the continuing exodus from our land, where the Church has been present since the 5th century. We appeal to Christians not to abandon this land, their faith, their specific liturgical traditions, but to stay. We have a mission to remain here, to witness to our Muslim brothers”.
Archbishop Sako also appeals to Christians across the world and to nations to help Christians remain in Iraq by fostering projects and investing in the diminishing community. “We also need your prayers”, he adds. “The situation in Kurdisan in the North is safe for Christians, and also here in the city, nonetheless we must promote coexistence with our Muslim brothers but also employment for our young people”. The Archbishop of Kirkuk appeals to the Diaspora not to forget those who have chosen to remain in Iraq as a living presence of the ancient community.
Archbishop Hanna Zora was born in Batna (Alquoch - Iraq) 13 March 1937. Ordained a priest June 10, 1962, he was elected Archbishop of Ahwaz of the Chaldeans (Iran) on 1 May 1974, remaining an Iraqi citizen. In February 1987 he left Iran, remaining in Rome until 1993, when he was made responsible for the pastoral care of the Chaldean community in Canada.
The total number of Chaldean Christians in Canada is around 38,000. Pastoral care is offered by the Archbishop Hanna Zora as a community leader in Toronto, under the jurisdiction of the Latin Archbishop of Toronto, and four priests. Most of the Chaldean Christians are concentrated in certain areas of the country: Toronto, Montreal, London - Windsor, Hamilton and London – Ontario, Oakville, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Ottawa.
The Church of Mar Addai in Toronto, recently consecrated by the Chaldean Patriarch, Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, has been elevated to a eparchial Cathedral.