The Chaldean Christians inaugurated the Saint Jean Apôtre church in Arnouville, Val d'Oise

The Chaldean Church in France has inaugurated a second place of worship and meeting in Arnouville, Val d'Oise. Bishop Louis Raphaël Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldeans who came especially from Baghdad (Iraq), presided over the consecration of this new church.

En the presence of the Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve, the Chaldean community inaugurated the Saint Jean Apôtre church on Sunday March 6, 2016. This inauguration is for Bishop Sako "The sign of the faith of the Chaldéens and the vitality of this community in France ”. Present for more than 50 years in France, this church is made up of 20 people; 000 of them live in Ile de France including 12 in the Val d'Oise. As the only Chaldean church in Sarcelles was becoming too small, construction work in Arnouville, a stone's throw from the RER D station, began in 000.

The Chaldean Church whose patriarchate is in Baghdad (Iraq) is one of the oldest Christian churches. The Chaldeans speak Aramaic which was the language of Christ. In its history, this church has often been persecuted, and its martyrdom has always strengthened its faith and missionary work. In France, 4 waves of immigration of the Chaldeans took place. The first at the end of 1970 came from Turkey. In 1980 Iraqi Chaldeans arrived in France. After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, then following the atrocities of Daesh in 2014, Iraqi Christians fled the insecurity of their country.

“The Chaldean diaspora makes it possible to share the treasures of its tradition and its spirituality with the rest of Christendom. Today in France, we do not build that many churches; the building of Saint John the Apostle is a sign of hope for our future and theirs ”, Marc Fromager, director of Aid to the Church in Distress (AED),

The church is a real home for the Chaldeans. They find there their Aramaic language and their tradition. Strong in oriental hospitality, the community, far from turning in on itself, is a model of integration both in civil society and in Christianity. They share with the Latin Catholic Church activities such as catechesis, WYDs or pilgrimages.

“We have 90 marriages and 250 baptisms a year, as well as 1 catechized children. And to supervise them, there are only young people ”, relates Father Sabri Anar, pastor of the Chaldean church of Saint-Thomas-Apôtre de Sarcelles“ The only place of unity for expatriates is the church. . The rooms allow reception, help with administrative procedures, catechesis… but also to maintain the social, cultural, linguistic and liturgical link ”

The architecture of the Church of Saint John the Apostle emphasizes the Eastern origins of the Chaldeans. It has a place of worship with 500 places upstairs and meeting rooms, a library, and a kitchen on the ground floor. The building also includes a presbytery. A Chaldean family shares their visit to the church in this video:

Nathanael Bechdolff

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