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
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.
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.
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
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.