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.
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