Who are the Chaldean Christians

Who are the Chaldean Christians?

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 The Chaldean Christians of Iraq

Is the Chaldean name Correct?

Chaldean Christians Identity

Chaldean Christians Today



The Chaldean Christians of Iraq

The Chaldean Christians of Iraq are the indigenous people of Mesopotamia who were converted to Christianity by St. Thomas the Apostle shortly after the rise of Jesus Christ. The Chaldeans originally belonged to the 'Church of the East' until they split in the year 1552 and joined in full communion with Rome forming the Chaldean Catholic Church also known as the Chaldean Church of Babylon.

Chaldeans form the majority of Iraq Christians - about 550,000 - of the estimated 700,000 Christians. Their spiritual leader, Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, is based in Baghdad. He was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

Originally the Chaldean Church comprised members of the Nestorian Church, and has had a presence in the country now known as Iraq since the 2nd Century. The Chaldeans speak a traditional liturgical language, Syriac - a linguistic descendant of Aramaic, the language thought by most scholars to have been spoken by Jesus and his disciples.

Emmanuel III Delly was made a Cardinal by Pope Benedict in 2007


Some claim that the CHALDEAN name is no longer correct, is that true?

The name Chaldean is absolutely correct and most representative of the Iraqi Christians today. Shortly after Christianity spread throughout Mesopotamia or current country Iraq, the new Christians identified themselves as Chaldean Christians and expressed their Chaldean ethnic and cultural identity for the following reasons:

1) The Chaldean Empire is the last national self-rule by the people of Mesopotamia. It represents the last and most illustrious glory of ancient Mesopotamia with international repercussion through the ages. It was the Prince Nabupalassar who led the Chaldean people, surrounding Babylon, to infiltrate the fabulous city, then control it independently from Assyria.

2) It was during the Chaldean rule, the Aramaic language became the dominant language not only of the Mesopotamian population, but of the court and nobility as well. Though Akkadian language continued to be used by a minority of conservative scribes for several more centuries, Aramaic language became gradually the most popular form of communication and writing.

3) It was during the Chaldean rule that Babylon became the first capital of Mesopotamia, politically, administratively and religiously. Babylon, because of her unique splendor, became the most illustrious symbol of Mesopotamia. Everyone in the world saw Babylon as the symbol of Mesopotamian culture and history.

Chaldean Flag


So what should we call Iraqi Christians today?

The Iraqi Christians today identify themselves with the name Chaldean because they speak the Chaldean language, they carried on the Chaldean heritage, they practiced the customs that were undeniably Chaldean. Therefore, the name "Chaldean" has come to bear national significance, linguistic and cultural aspects, as well as religious connotations. Additionally, it is justified that we should call all Iraqi Christians of today as Chaldeans for the following reasons:

1) It is the last national name reflecting Mesopotamian identity before having the country conquered by foreigners.

2} The Chaldeans were an Aramaic people; during their rule, the Aramaic language became the dominant language of Mesopotamia and the lingua franca of the Middle East.

3) Babylon, or the cities around it (Seleucia-Ctesiphon & Baghdad) was for most periods of history the administrative, cultural and symbolic capital of Mesopotamia. In religious as well as civil history, for Christians and pagans alike, Babylon is the most illustrious name of all.

4) Compared with the "Assyrian" name, the name "Chaldean" reflects a more comprehensive and generic identity.

Chaldea Map


Chaldean Christians today

Today, the Chaldeans of Beth Nahreen (Mesopotamia which is current days is Iraq, east Syria, and south east Turkey) are a continuation of all the indigenous people of Mesopotamia whether their tribal names were Sumerians, Akkadians, Amorites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Aramaeans. Classical Aramaic is used in the Chaldean liturgy; the vernacular Aramaic Chaldean is used at home and in daily life. Aramaic has an alphabet of twenty- two letters and is the mother tongue from which Hebrew and Arabic were later derived.

Chaldeans educated in Iraq also speak and read Arabic. Many Chaldeans are tri-lingual, understanding Chaldean, Arabic, and English. A few families also speak Spanish, having lived in Mexico before their immigration to the United States.

A large number of Chaldeans immigrated to the United States with approximately 150,000 Chaldeans and another 100,000 who go by Assyrians, in addition to approximately 30,000 who go by Syriacs (Suryoyo). The centers of the Chaldeans is Metropolitan Detroit, MI (where the majority of the Chaldeans are) in addition to San Diego, CA, and a smaller population in Phoenix, AZ, Las Vegas, NV, Sacramento, CA, and Chicago, IL. While the Assyrians have their biggest concentration in Chicago, IL, with sizable population in San Francisco Bay Area and Turlock-Modesto in California. The Syriacs are found more in Los Angeles area with sizable concentrations in Chicago and Detroit.

Chaldean Mass




Chaldeans On Line








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