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Victors of War Go the Spoils Angers Chaldeans
By Rita Abro :: Thursday, December 4, 2008 :: 150323 Views :: Article Rating :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Law & Order, Business & Finance, Government & Society

 

New York, USA – Chaldeans and Assyrians in American are appalled at Christie’s Auction House of New York.  “They are war profiteers moving the spoils of war,” says Chaldean art collector Enas Namoo from his downtown Chicago office.  The Chaldean art collector, well known for his Mediterranean art collection, was furious for what he saw in the catalog of the ancient art and antiquities auction at Christie's next week.  Among the collection was a pair of neo-Assyrian earrings established as artifacts of Mesopotamia.  “This belongs in the museum, not on an auction block,” said a angered Namoo.  

 

Along with Namoo, Iraqi authorities have also appealed to have the pair of neo-Assyrian earrings returned.  The 9,000–10,000-year-old earrings are expected to bring in up to $65,000, but Iraqi officials say they are part of the treasures of Nimrud and thus rightfully the property of Iraq.

Chaldean archeologist, art curator, antiquity expert, and former director of the Iraq Museum Donny George says, “I am 100 percent sure they are from the same tombs from Nimrud. I witnessed the excavation."

The treasures of Nimrud were discovered by Iraqi archaeologist Muzahem Hussein after a 19th-century British excavation of Nimrud, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire, missed the royal tombs.

Eight pairs of seemingly identical gold earrings were unearthed there, along with hundreds of bowls, ceremonial objects, and other gold jewelry. The finds were placed in bank vaults and displayed only once at the Iraq Museum before Saddam Hussein was ousted.

After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, U.S. investigators and Iraqi officials tracked down the treasures of Nimrud in a vault within a vault in the basement of Iraq's destroyed central bank.

“They know they will be challenged on this.  That is why they try to say the earrings were owned prior to the war,” says Namoo. 

Christie's listing for the pair of earrings on offer says they were acquired from their previous owner before 1969. The auction house's Web site refers potential buyers to a German archaeological text "for a similar pair from a royal tomb at Nimrud."

www.CHALDEAN.org has placed numerous calls and e-mails to the auction house asking for documentation, proof of ownership, or official certificates of rights to resell for antiquities, in the hopes that a confirmation can be made that the earrings were not part of a war booty.   All requests have gone unanswered at the time of this report.   

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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.