Friday, April 18, 2014
St. Joseph News & Information
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Church for Chaldeans in Tbilisi (Tiflis) Georgia Grows
By Neda Ayar :: Thursday, October 02, 2008 :: 31786 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Tbilisi, GEORGIA - The world sat on edge as a democratically sovereign country of Georgia was invaded by the Russian military.  It has come to be known as the 2008 South Ossetia War.  While the country fights for independence, the people of Georgia turn to their faith for solace and prayer of peace.  One Chaldean church begins to grow and offer Georgian Chaldeans as well as non-Chaldeans comfort

Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River. The city is the size of Michigan and with a little more than a million people.   Chaldeans are to be found living all over the world, more is being learned about the Chaldeans of Georgia. 

The indigenous Iraqi Catholics have been present in Georgia since the middle of the 18th century and currently number around 7,000 members, living in various different cities in this country.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Chaldean community the freedom to worship was reenacted.  Chaldeans began a campaign to rebuild its religious life once again. In May 1995 an Assyrian-Chaldean mission was established in Georgia, under the direction of the Vatican, and in September 2000 a school for the faithful of this tradition was established.

Increasing numbers of Chaldeans has led to the call for a Chaldean church to be built in Georgia.  Faithful Chaldeans prayed in homes and in basements or cellars and after the ban on public worship was lifted, Chaldeans would use nearby churches.  Now the community has grown large enough to demand their own church, but the cost of the new parish with accommodations for a community center and sleeping quarters for priests and nuns is high. 

The parish priest, Father Benny Beth Yadegar, with the support of his bishop, Mgr. Guiseppe Pasotto, has turned to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for help.  ACN has promised a grant of $35,000 to help the faithful community.  To help raise funds for the Chaldean church ACN is appealing to the Chaldean community to assist. 

Americans wishing to help may contact the Chaldean Diocese of America in Michigan or California.  Europeans may contact Aid to the Church in Need efforts through their office in Sydney, Australia.

For contact information please e-mail info@chaldean.org

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.