Chaldeans, a people here and now, spread over all the continents of the world.
When we hear the name ‘Chaldeans’ we think of Babylon, Ur of the Chaldees, of father Abraham, of a combative people of antiquity, at the cradle of civilization etc. Few people think of modern Chaldeans from ancient Mesopotamia, which today consists of redesigned countries such as Turkey, Iraq and Syria.
A large part of the Chaldeans still live in their homeland and another larger part in the diaspora.
A Christian population from the Middle East, who, like other Christian companions from the Middle East, have been confronted for centuries with war, persecutions, flights, etc. To this day, Chaldeans still live with the dilemma of ‘staying or leaving the homeland’. Despite these poignant situations, the Chaldeans live with their heads in the diaspora, but with their hearts in their homeland.
They link their homeland to their identity, culture, language, faith, traditions, etc. In short, they link their homeland to who they are. They attach great importance and value to their identity, because that is what they will always be able to keep, together with their Christian faith.
They may live in the diaspora, but they are always connected to each other because of their faith and their precious identity. Chaldeans belong to the ‘Catholic Apostolic Church of the East of the Chaldeans’, which is united with the Catholic Church of Rome. Bound to their identity, language and culture, Chaldeans need to integrate into various societies around the world.
Today we find Chaldean communities in every part of the world. We start in the homeland, contemporary Iraq, Turkey and Syria. Since the invasion of the United States in Iraq in 2003 and the war unleashed by the terrorist group ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq, the number of Chaldeans in these countries, along with other Christian populations, has shrunk further. Nevertheless, there are still many Chaldeans and other Christian populations in Iraq and Syria.
The Chaldean villages in South-East Turkey have been evacuated and destroyed since the 1990s, partly due to the Turkish-Kurdish conflicts. However, there are Chaldeans who live in Istanbul. Many Chaldeans have also moved to other countries in the Middle East and Asia, in particular to Jordan, Iran, Lebanon, Georgia.
Then we travel to Europe, where we find Chaldean communities in the United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Greece.
Large Chaldean communities are also represented in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. We end up in the United States where the largest Chaldean community of the diaspora is located, namely in Michigan and California.
The dissemination of the Chaldean people does not make solidarity easy, but nevertheless the Chaldeans manage to find each other again through their faith.
The Church of the East of the Chaldeans plays an immense role here. With many dioceses and parishes led by a large number of bishops and priests, the Chaldeans are connected worldwide. At the head of this church is the church father, namely the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans. This Church has always played a key role in keeping the Chaldean people together, in defending the rights of Chaldeans, but especially in keeping the Chaldean identity alive.
With the Chaldeans, there is no separation between church and state, since there is a church of its own, but no state of its own. To further strengthen the alliance between the Chaldeans throughout the world, in 2015, thanks to an impulse from ‘Mar Louis Raphaël I Sako’, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, the Chaldean League was founded.
A league with several branches spread over the whole world that aims to represent the Chaldean people globally in cooperation with the Church of the East of the Chaldeans.