Chaldeans or Catholic Assyrians!
Assyria (northern Mesopotamia) was never inhabited by a race of people called
ethnically Chaldeans. History books never hinted of any sort of link between the
ancient Chaldeans, who lived predominantly in southern Mesopotamia; whose title
meant those dealing with sooth saying, Astronomy and astrology, and the
modern-day Chaldeans of the Mosul region in north of Iraq. The ancient Chaldeans
did not settle in Assyria after the fall of Nineveh at the hands of the Medes
and the Babylonians, as the latter were under the rule of the Chaldean kings at
the time. On the contrary, history books tell us that the Medes took control of
Assyria while the Chaldeans continued to rule southern Mesopotamia and extended
their power later into the upper Euphrates in Syria and down to Palestine. In
addition, there is no evidence whatsoever that a massive migration of a specific
race of people called Chaldeans from southern Mesopotamia to Assyria ever took
place. For more detailed info on this particular subject, please visit:
If there is any link between ancient Babylonians or Chaldeans and any modern
people, then that link is represented in the Mandaeans (Subbiyeen). The
Mandaeans still preserve many aspects of the ancient Babylonians and Chaldeans
and continue to live mainly in mid and southern Iraq. For more detailed info on
this specific subject, please visit:
Modern-day Chaldeans are simply Catholic Assyrians, or yet better put Catholic
Nestorian Assyrians. The Nestorian Assyrians who followed Rome and became
Catholics were given this title by the Vatican to distinguish them from the
Nestorian Assyrians or members of the Church of the East. There is a ton of
evidence that attest to this simple fact published by educators, scholars,
historians, theologists and others representing British, French, Americans,
Arabs, Assyrians and others. These accounts came from various religious groups
representing Moslems, Jewish, and different Christian denominations including
Orthodox, Catholic, Presbyterian, and Church of the East members and others.
Here are 61 references (66 quotes) stating that the Chaldeans are simply
- The Near East in History: a 5000 Years Story,
by Philip K. Hitti.
“One tangible result [from the Capuchins activities] was the creation of
the two Uniat communities: the Armenian Catholic Church, split from the
Gregorian, and the Chaldean, split from the East Syrian Church or
“Latin missionary work in Persia and Syria, among Nestorians, Armenians, and
Jacobites naturally affected Christian Iraqis. As early as 1663 a Syrian
Uniat Church was organized and later (1830) recognized by the Porte. Another
Uniat community, the Chaldean, was established in 1552; its patriarch of
Babylon chose Mosul for his residence.”
- The Mandaeans, by Prof. Edmondo Lupieri.
“Today the term Chaldean means only the Syriac-speaking Christians,
originally Nestorians, converted to Catholicism since the 16th century."
- The Political Dictionary of Modern Middle East,
by Agnes G. Korbani, University Press of America, 1995.
“Assyrians: Remnants of the people of the ancient Mesopotamia,
succeeding the Sumero-Akkadians and the Babylonians as one continuous
civilization. They are among the first nations who accepted Christianity.
They belong to one of the four churches: the Chaldean Uniat, the Syrian
Orthodox Church, the Syrian Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the
East. Due to the ethnic-political conflict in the Middle East, they are
better known by these ecclesiastical designation. The Assyrians use
classical Syriac in their liturgies while the majority of them speak and
write a modern dialect of this language. They constitute the third largest
ethnic group in Iraq with their communities in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran,
Russia and Armenia. Today they remain stateless and great numbers of them
left their homeland and settled in Western Europe, the United States and
- Minorities in the Middle East, by
Here is this passage, the author speaks of Tall Kayf, the heart of the
Catholic Assyrians, aka Chaldeans, but he calls them rightly Assyrians.
“The Mosul massacres of 1959-1960 found the Assyrians, particularly in Tall
Kayf, loyal to Kassem in his struggle against Nasserites insurrection. But
coup in 1963 forced many Christians to flee the North of Iraq.”
- Arabs and Christians? Christians in the Middle
East, by Antonie Wessels.
“In 1551, the Assyrian community refused to accept the appointment of
Shim’un VII Denka as Patriarch of the Church of the East. They sent a monk,
Youhanna Sulaqa, to Rome, where he was appointed Patriarch of Babylon and
head of the first church in the Middle East to unite with Rome. While the
name Assyrian refers to an ethnic identity, the name Chaldean refers to the
(Catholic) ‘rite’. He later died as a martyr in Diyarbekr (Eastern Turkey)
at the hands of the anti-Catholic community.
“In 1672, more than a century after the failure of Patriarch Sulaqa to
effect the ‘return’ of the Nestorians, a separate Chaldean rite was
- Aqaliyat shimal al-‘Araq; bayna al-qanoon wa
(Northern Iraq Minorities; between Law and Politics),
by Dr. Jameel Meekha Shi’yooka.
“The Assyrians themselves are broken into Nestorians (not connected to
Rome or the Catholic Church and are the minority) and are members of the
Assyrian Church of the East, and besides the Nestorians there are the
Chaldeans, a majority who came out from the Nestorians and are connected
with the Catholic Church in Rome.” (a translation from Arabic)
- Asshur and the Land of Nimrod,
by Hormuzd Rassam.
“A difficulty now arose; the new converts styled themselves 'Sooraye'
and 'Nestornaye' . The Romanists could not call them 'Catholic Syrians' or
'Syrian Catholics' for this appellation they had already given to their
proselytes from the Jacobites, who also called themselves 'Syrians'. They
could not term them 'Catholic Nestorians,' as Mr. Justin Perkins, the
independent American missionary does, for this would involve a
contradiction. What more natural, then, than that they should have applied
to them the title of 'Chaldeans' to which they had some claims of
nationality, in virtue of their Assyrian Descent.”
- The Eastern Christian Churches,
by Ronald Roberson.
“In 1552, when the new patriarch was elected, a group of Assyrian
bishops refused to accept him and decided to seek union with Rome. They
elected the reluctant abbot of a monastery, Yuhannan Sulaqa, as their own
patriarch and sent him to Rome to arrange a union with the Catholic Church.
In early 1553 Pope Julius III proclaimed him Patriarch Simon VIII “of the
Chaldeans” and ordained him a bishop in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 9,
1553. The new Patriarch returned to his homeland in late 1553 and began to
initiate a series of reforms. But opposition, led by the rival Assyrian
Patriarch, was strong. Simon was soon captured by the pasha of Amadiya,
tortured and executed in January 1555. Eventually Sulaqa’s group returned to
the Assyrian Church of the East, but for over 200 years, there was much
turmoil and changing of sides as the pro- and anti-Catholic parties
struggled with one another. The situation finally stabilized on July 5,
1830, when Pope Pius VIII confirmed Metropolitan Youhanna (John) Hormizd as
head of all Chaldean Catholics, with the title of Patriarch of Babylon of
the Chaldeans, with his see in Mosul.”
- The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church,
by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone.
Chaldean Christians, definition:
“The convenient, if not very appropriate, title applied to that part of the
Church of the East in communion with the see of Rome. They fall into two
main groups, those of the Middle East (esp. Iraq), and those of Malabar
[India]. As a result of dispute over succession within the Middle Eastern
group, a separate line of Uniat Patriarchs came into existence in 1553, when
Simeon Sulaqa was consecrated in Rome after submitting his profession of
faith to Pope Julius III. Over the next three centuries, difficulties of
communication gave rise to problems. The Sulaqa line (normally with the name
Simeon) remained in communion with Rome until 1672, while members of the
other line (with the name Elias) briefly entered communion with Rome on
several occasions. In 1681 a new Uniat line of Patriarchs at Diyarbekr was
inaugurated (with the name of Joseph), to last for well over a century. In
1830 affairs were regularized and the Uniat Patriarchate was again restored,
now at Baghdad, with the title ‘of Babylon’. The customs and discipline of
the Chaldeans have been partially assimilated to those of the Latin rite,
and they follow the Gregorian calendar. Syriac liturgical tradition and
languages are, however, retained. In the Middle East the Chaldeans are said
to number c. 800,000. For the Indian group, see Malabar Christians.”
- Christianity in the Arab World, by El
Hassan Bin Talal, Crown Prince of Jordan.
“Attending the Council of Florence , alongside the representative
of the Jacobite patriarch Bahnam al-Hadli, were representatives of the
Cyprus branch of the Nestorian Church, whose principle base was still in
Iraq. These Nestorians, like the Jacobite patriarch, were persuaded to adopt
the Roman Catholic confession and declare allegiance to Roman papacy,
whereupon they came to be called the Chaldeans (as distinct from the
Nestorians who refused to unite with Rome... “Subsequently, in 1551, Pope
Julius III appointed a leading Catholic Nestorian, John Sulaka, as first
patriarch of his Uniate church. The successors of Sulaka later adopted the
title of patriarch-catholicos of Babylon and the Chaldeans.”
- The Middle East: a Physical, Social and Regional
by W. B. Fisher.
“During periods of Moslem persecution, the autonomous Christian sects of
the east obtained support from the Church of Rome, but often at the price of
obedience to Rome. Agreements were made whereby in return for recognition of
the Pope as head of the community, local usages in doctrine and ritual were
permitted to continue. Hence a number of eastern Christians broke away from
sects such as the Jacobites or Nestorians, and formed what are known as the
Uniate Churches--i.e. Communities with practices that differ widely from
those of the main Roman Church, but which nevertheless accept the supremacy
of the Pope. There have thus come into existence the Armenian Catholic, the
Greek Catholic, the Syrian Catholic, the Coptic Catholic, and the Chaldean
(Nestorian) Catholic Churches.”
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, is very
clear in defining Chaldeans as a Christian denomination of the Eastern
Church, since it states;
“Chaldeans: The name of former Nestorians now reunited with the Roman
Church. Ethnologically they are divided into two groups [Turco-Persian and
Indian], which must be treated apart, since in their vicissitudes one group
differs considerably from the other. The first group is usually known as
Chaldeans, the second as Christians of St. Thomas [also called the
- History of Syria, by Prof. Philip Hitti,
professor of Semitic literature at Princeton University.
“Before the rise of Islam the Syrian Christian Church [Assyrian] had
split into several communities. There was first the East Syrian Church or
the Church of the East. This communion, established in the late second
century, claims uninterrupted descent in its teachings, liturgy,
consecration and tradition from the time the Edessene King Abgar allegedly
wrote to Christ asking him to relieve him of an incurable disease and Christ
promised to send him one of his disciples after his ascension. This is the
church erroneously called Nestorian, after the Cilician Nestorius, whom it
antedates by about two and a half centuries. The term Nestorian was applied
to it at a late date by Roman Catholics to convey the stigma of heresy in
contradistinction to those of its members who joined the Catholic Church as
Uniats and received the name Chaldeans.”
- The Assyrians and their Neighbors, by
Rev. W. A. Wigram.
A. “Facts are too that the first time a Patriarch was associated with
the word Chaldean was Mar Youhannan Hurmizd who was called by Pope Pius XIII
in 1828 “Patriarch of Babil over the Chaldean Rite” in which the Church
became definitely Papal in its obedience as one of the “ Uniate Churches” of
the East. And the first to be called the “Chaldean Patriarch” was Mar
Nicolas Zaia in 1844 and later the word Babil was added in 1847 when Mar
Yousif Odo was consecrated as “Patriarch of Babil over the Chaldean.”
B. “It is sometimes said that the Assyrian or Nestorian Christians have no
connection with the Assyrians of antiquity, either by language or, so far as
is known, by race. With all respect, the present writer ventures to differ
altogether from that conclusion, and to assert his belief that the present
Assyrian, Chaldean, or Nestorian does represent the ancient Assyrian stock,
the subjects of Sargon and Sannacherib, so far as that very marked type
survives at all. It is not a matter that is capable of documentary or
monumental proof, from the nature of things, but certain facts that can be
quoted seem to speak at least as loudly as do the words of any historian.
Here are a people who, in the time of the beginning of the Christian era,
are founded living in the lands where, in the year 600 B.C. the Assyrian
stock had been established since history began; nor is there any record of
any considerable immigration into, or emigration from, that land, in the
- The Chaldeans of today and their relation to the
Chaldeans of yesterday,
by Dr. Bahnam Abu al-Soof, Professor of Archaeology in Baghdad
“All the inhabitants of the villages which are called Chaldean--TelKeif,
Alqosh, Batnaya, Telesqoof, Karamles, Qaraqoush, and others—no connection
with the Chaldeans of antiquity. Today’s Chaldean term is new to us, it came
from the west, and from Rome precisely. You people, the inhabitants of the
above mentioned villages are originally Assyrians, descendants of the
Assyrians of antiquity. I, for example, was born in Mosul, and belong to the
Chaldean Church, yet I am Assyrian and we all are Assyrians, being Syrians,
Chaldeans, or Maronites.”
- The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, by
Yousuf Malek (A
member of the Chaldean Catholic Church).
A. “The Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the
direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire as indicated in chapter 1, are
now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically
designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct
church governments, namely, Nestorian, Jacobite, Chaldean, Maronite and
B. “The Chaldeans are of the same stock and family as the Assyrians, and
their language is one. Like the Assyrians, they have preserved their
mother-tongue. In the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Missions, which were
at work in Syria, extended their missionary work to Basrah to the south of
Iraq and then to the north, in the Mosul regions. To avoid the oppression of
their rulers, the Chaldeans were forced by circumstances to seek the then
powerful protection of Rome. Until a century ago, Rome was able to win over
a considerable number of so-called Chaldeans.”
C. “The term, “Chaldean”, was originally given to the members of the Church
of the East, who lived in Iraq, first, for their geographical situation, and
second, for the historical surroundings.”
- Reasons for the backwardness of the Assyrians,
by Professor Ashur Yousuf (member of the Syrian Orthodox Church, published
on October 20, 1914).
“The hindrance to the development of the Assyrians was not so much the
attacks from without as it was from within--the doctrinal and sectarian
disputes and struggles like monophysitism and dyophsitism is a good example.
These caused division, spiritually and nationally, among the people who
quarreled among themselves even to the point of shedding blood. To this very
day the Assyrians are still known by various names, such as Nestorians,
- Iraq: A Country Study, edited by Helen
“The Assyrians are considered to be the third largest ethnic minority in
Iraq. Although official Iraqi statistics do not refer to them as an ethnic
group, they are believed to represent about 133,000 persons, or less than 1
percent of the population. Descendants of ancient Mesopotamian peoples, they
speak Aramaic. The Assyrians live mainly in the major cities and in the
rural areas of northeastern Iraq, where they tend to be professionals and
businessmen or independent farmers. They are Christians, belonging to one of
four churches: the Chaldean (Uniate), the Nestorian, the Jacobite or Syrian
Orthodox, and the Syrian Catholic.”
- Kanisat al-Mashriq fi Sahil Naynawa (The Church
of the East in the Plain of Nineveh),
by Habib Hannona (member of the Chaldean Catholic Church).
The author mentioned that the title ‘Chaldean’ was given by the Pope, to
those so called Nestorians of Cyprus who united with the Roman Church, in
August 7th, 1445. He says that in April 21st, 1553, Sulaqa went to Rome and
was elected ‘Patriarch of Babil over the Chaldeans’ and settled in Diar
Bakir. The beginning of the Catholic missionaries, says the author, started
in 1725 in Nineveh Plain where almost all were Nestorians before this date.
- The Luck of Nineveh: In Search of the Lost
Assyrian Empire, by Arnold C. Brackman.
“Among Mosul’s fifty thousand citizens were Moslems, Jews, and members of
various Christian sects. The Christians were largely Jacobites, Papal
Syrians, and Chaldeans, as Nestorian converts to Roman Catholicism were then
“In September, accompanied by Rassam’s youngest brother Hormuzd, Layard left
for the Tiyari Mountains, a district inhabited by the Nestorians or Chaldean
Christians, who claimed to be the nearest descendants of the ancient
- A History of the Arab Peoples, by Albert
The well-known historian Albert Hourani spoke about the Christians
during the 12th Centuery in Syria and northern Iraq. He clearly, and rightly
so, attested to the fact that there were no such people known as Chaldeans
and there was no Chaldean Church in north of Iraq during the 12th century.
Because this title was applied by the Pope in the 15th century in Cyprus, in
the 16th century in Diyar Bakir, and in 1830 in Mosul. He clearly mentioned
Monophysites (Jacobites) and the Nestorians only. He stated, quote:
“All over Syria and in northern Iraq Christians communities remained,
although in a diminished form. Some, mainly in the cities, belonged to the
Eastern Orthodox Church, but others were members of those other churches
which have their origins in the controversies about the nature of Christ:
the Syrian Orthodox or Monophysites, and the Nestorians.” unquote.
- L’Orient Syrien,
issue 10 by J. M. Fiey.
“The Christians who lived for generations in the land of Ashur, Kalah
(Nimrud), and Nineveh have the right, more than anybody else, to be called
Assyrians (Ashuriyeen) even though they are religiously known as Chaldeans
- Mosul and its Minorities, by Harry
Mosul: The living city “You find here, dwelling among the Arabs and the
Kurdish majorities, a great variety of Christians: Nestorians and Jacobites,
with their corresponding Uniate branches, Chaldeans and Syrian Catholics.”
Hence, Luke is telling us that Chaldeans were a branch of the Nestorians.
- The late Fr. Dr. Yousif Habbi of the Chaldean
Catholic Church, booklet consisting of (56) pages about the Rabban
From the Arabic section of the booklet we read under the sub-title ‘From
the 16th century to 1808’: “In early 1552, bishops and the party opposing to
Patriarch Shimun bar Mama, elected the Monk Youkhana Sulaqa Ballu, a
superior of Rabban Hurmizd Monastery, a new patriarch for them, ending a
tradition of hereditary succession of patriarchs from uncle to nephew and
putting an end to the unrest present those days in the church . In Rome,
Sulaqa was consecrated as the first patriarch over the Catholic followers of
the Church of the East on February 20th, 1553, and they were called
- Qaryaneh Jobyeh,
published in 1906 by Mar Toma Audo (a Chaldean Catholic Church Bishop).
On page 168, Mar Audo stated that after the fall of Babylon the
Chaldeans mixed with the Persians, Elamites, and then with Arabs and they
were assimilated COMPLETELY, in to these and other surrounding peoples. And
he wrote in defense of the Assyrian name: "We in fact call ourselves
generally "Surayeh" and not Suryayeh as some learned among us say. And it is
abvious that "Suraya" is derived from "Atouraya" (Athouraya) as the "A" was
dropped and the "T" (th) softened to an "S" as it has been customary in many
places. For example, in Sina and Seert they pronounce the softened "T" as
"S" and they say "meesa" instead of "meeta" (meetha) and "Alahosa" instead
of "Alahota" (Alahotha) . Even in Urmia they say "Asas al-Bait" instead of
"athath al-Bait" and "'Ausman" instead of "'Autman".
- The Modern History of the Kurds, by David
“Each Eastern Church in turn was rent by schism, as one part abandoned
its independence in favor of union with a powerful sponsor. In the case of
the new Chaldean, Armenian and Syrian Catholic Churches the impact was to be
seen with the arrival of Catholic missionaries and teachers. The
Protestants, not to be left out, soon set to work on the old churches,
hoping to bring the communities to a 'better' understanding of the faith.
The Chaldeans had walked out of the Nestorian Church as early as 1681 in
order to enter into union with Rome. In Kurdistan a sharp and enduring
conflict was unleashed between the old and new churches, with both playing
hard for Ottoman approval. In 1716 the Orthodox (Melkite) Church, in 1740
the Armenian Church, and in 1781 the Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Church were
rent by similar schisms."
- The Nestorians and their Rituals, by
Percy George Badger.
The origin of the term ‘Chaldean’ as applied to a Christian sect, is
correctly given in the following extract from Smith and Dwight’s ‘Researches
in Armenia:’ — “The present Chaldean Christians are of recent origin. It was
in AD 1681, that the Nestorian Metropolitan of Diarbekir, having quarrelled
with his patriarch, was first consecrated by the Pope patriarch of the
Chaldeans. The sect was as new as the office, and created for it. Converts
to papacy from the Nestorian and Jacobite churches were united in one body,
and dignified by the name of the Chaldean Church. It means no more than
Papal Syrians as we have in other parts Papal Armenians and Papal Greeks.”
- Aqaliyat fi sharq al-mutawasit (Minorities East
of the Mediterranean),
by Fa’iz Sara.
“Many vary on calling the Ashuriyeen (Assyrians), who are the most
ancient peoples in the region and numerous titles are present including
Athouriyeen (Atourayeh). Few refer to the Chaldeans or Nestorians, and at
times al-Siryan too, as Ashuriyeen (Assyrians). All these names refer to one
title Ashuriyeen (Assyrian) whose various titles were mentioned in
historical and religious sources.
- Fi Al-Asil wa Al-Fasil wa Mulahadat Ukhra
(Roots, Classifications, and Other Remarks),
by Dr. Saadi Al-Malih.
“Let's get back again to the names given to this nation of Al-Ashuriyon,
Al-Siryan, Nestorians, Catholics, Christians and now Chaldeans, they all
were fabricated to indicate this nation’s religious belief since groups of
Assyrians switched their religious beliefs so many times.”
- The Church of the East and the Church of England,
by J. F. Coakley.
“On the other side, the British government was now making strenuous
efforts to satisfy the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of
Nations that Iraq was ready for self-government and minorities had nothing
to fear. Briefed by the League of Nations Union, who shared the anxieties
about minorities in Iraq, Lang in July put down a question in the House of
Lords; to ask what provisions has been made in the Treaty between Great
Britain and Iraq signed at Baghdad on June 30th for the security of the
Assyrians, (Nestorian and Chaldean): and whether, in view of the serious
reports as to the conditions in which the Assyrians are now living, the
Government will take all necessary measures to secure the improvement of
- The Rage of Islam: An Account of the Massacre of
Christians by the Turks in Persia,
by Rev. Yonan H. Shahbaz.
“These Christians are also called Chaldeans, a designation which is
applied to those of the Syrians who have been converted to the Roman
Catholic belief.” The author stated that it was the Pope of Rome who gave
them this title to distinguish the Catholics of the East from those of the
West and also from the Nestorians. Rev. Shahbaz was an American citizen,
baptized into the fellowship of Calvary Church, New York in September 26,
1892, and sent with his American wife to Persia to start a mission there.
- The Discovery of an Assyrian Archaeologist,
by David B. Perley (member of the Syrian Orthodox Church)
An analysis and review of Rassam's book 'Ashur and the land of Nimrud'.
On Assyrian Sects
Quote: In the realm of sects, his journeys [Rassam’s] revealed that the
chief Christian sects or millets (subject nationalities) were Assyrians or
Chaldean Nestorians, Chaldean Catholic, Syrian Jacobite, and Syrian
Catholic, all of whom are of Assyrian origin … No matter how miscontrue the
Assyrian malaise in the intolerable confusion of titles, as do most clerics
who originated it, sustain, support, and cherish it now—the Chaldeans are
Assyrians! Rassam’s pronouncements are on record. Exclaimed he (page 168):
“What more natural, the, that they should have applied to them the title of
Chaldean, to which they have some claim nationally, in virtue of their
Assyrian descent?” unquote.
- Assyrian-Chaldean Christians in Eastern Turkey
and Iran, by Dr. J. C .J. Sanders.
Dr. Sanders made many journeys - on his own or together with students -
to towns in Eastern Turkey such as Seert and Van, which are mentioned in
this atlas, and from those to Syria via Nisibis, the town of Saint Ephrem
the Syrian (d. 373). He also made occasional visits to Northern Iraq, to the
towns of Alqosh and Amadiya near the border with Turkey. He often stayed at
the Assyrian-Catholic, or Chaldean, monastery of Rabban Hormizd, where he
was kindly accommodated, sometimes in a cave.
- The Assyrian Star, No. 5,
September-October issue 1974.
Mar Rafael BeDaweed, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, said in
“...Personally, my family became Chaldean only some 100 years ago, my
grandfather Daweed was a Nestorian priest, and the same is true with all the
rest of us ...”
“...We need to differenciate between nationality and Church, between church
and politics... the Chaldean title for us does not mean ethnicity or
nationality, historically there is not an Assyrian religion. True
Assyrianism is an ethnicity and we all are Assyrians. We could be Assyrians
ethnicly, but we are Chaldeans religiously. We can not have our Church
associated with ethnicity or nationality.”
Kurds and Christians, by Rev. F. N. Heazell &
“After leaving Amadiya I went to Alqosh and Mosul. The road lay through many
Syrian [authors mean Assyrian] villages, which at one time owed allegiance to
Mar Shimun; but now they have all, save a small number, joined the Latin
Obedience and are known as Uniat Chladeans. In Alqosh I saw signs of a great
educational work being done by the Dominicans; the Syrians [i.e. Assyrians]
there seemed more prosperous and better cared for, though I heard not a few
complaints from priests who were dissatisfied with their new ecclesiastical
rulers, and much more so with the Liturgy which had been imposed on them.”
The Nestorian Christians Before the Lord Mayor,
an Article published in
The London Times - 22
“…A Nestorian deacon, already in this country [England], is receiving
instruction, and is to proceed forth with to St. Augustine’s Canterbury; and
the son of the Arch-priest of Mosul is also here having left the Romanized,
or Chaldean section of the Assyrian Christians in order to join us and take
part in our intended work…”
To Mesopotamia And Kurdistan in Disguise,
by E.B. Soane.
A. “The Mosul people, especially the Christians are very proud of their
city and the antiquity of its surroundings. The Christians, regard
themselves as 'direct descendants of the great rulers of Assyria'.”
B. “Chaldeans themselves are fully aware of the circumstances under which
their forbears-and contemporaries became absorbed into the Roman Catholic
Church, and "there are very few of them whom I ever heard express any
sentiment upon the matter save deep regret, the more so that they know now
that it was possible to have the much-prized education the Roman Catholic
supply without the disintegration of their Church...”
Iraqi Assyrian Christians in London, by Dr.
“…Assyrian nationalists regard the establishment of the Chaldean Church as
an attempt to divide the Assyrian Church of the East and the Assyrian nation.
One writer shows how this took place: In 1551 Mar Youkhana Solaka, the bishop of
Mosul who did not agree with the hereditary succession in one family and wanted
the Patriarch to be elected by a council of bishops (such elections were held
before the 14th century), went to Rome and he was ordained by the Pope as the
Patriarch of Babylon. This Mar Solaka tried to affiliate his group with the
Roman Catholic Church. This is the first division perceived to have taken place
among Assyrians. Another bishop Mar Yousip joined the Roman Catholic Church and
was ordained in 1681 by the Pope as the ‘Chaldean Patriarch’. According to the
same source, the ‘Patriarch of Babylon’ and the ‘Chaldean Patriarch’ were joined
together under the title ‘the Patriarch of Chaldean over Babylon’. The author
asserts: It is a historic fact that both names ‘Patriarch of Babylon’ and
‘Patriarch of Chaldean’ were branded by the Pope of Rome on a portion of the
Assyrian Nation, seeking protection from the West, in an attempt to divide the
ancient Assyrian Church.”
The Patriarchs of the Church of the East from the
Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, a study by H. L. Murre-Van Den Berg.
“…The patriarchs of Rabban Hormizd repeatedly tried to establish closer
links with Rome, but only in the early nineteenth century did this lead to Roman
Catholic recognition of its last patriarch, Yukhannan Hormizd. In 1830, after
Yosep V Augustin Hindi of Diyarbakir had died, this Yukhannan Hormizd became the
sole Uniate, i.e. Chaldean, patriarch 'of Babylon'. Here lies the origin of the
present Chaldean patriarchate of Babylon, which now has its see in Baghdad…”
State and Provincial Society in the Ottoman Empire:
Mosul, 1540-1834, Cambridge University, 1997, p. 199, by Prof. Dina Rizk
“…the Nestorian Christians of Telkayf became Catholic Chaldeans…”
Ethnic and Religious Minorities: and their Influence on
the Political and Social Environment in Mosul, by Sa’ad Ibrahim Mohammad,
Department of the General Security / Iraq.
“This term Chaldean, given to those who separated from the Nestorians, is a
term given by Pope Eugene IV since there were historically Chaldeans who lived
in Bet Nahrain. George Habib wrote in an article titled “Aramiya Siryaniya” in a
magazine called “al-Turath al-Sha’abi” [The National Heritage] page 86 stating:
“It is clear from this that those who call themselves Chaldeans are not the
descendants of the Chaldeans of antiquity”.
The Christian Churches of the East. Vol. I: Churches in
Communion with Rome, by Donald Attwater. 1948.
“By the middle of the 15th century the office of Nestorian katholikos had
become hereditary in a family, passing from uncle to nephew, and on the
succession of Simon VIII Denha in 1551 a disaffected party elected a rival, John
Sulaka. Sulaka at once turned to the Franciscans for help; they sent him to
Rome, where he made a profession of Catholic faith and was appointed by Pope
Julius III to be patriarch of those of his rite who should follow his example.
It was at this time that the name ‘Chaldean’ began to be used to distinguish
such people, as to call them ‘Catholic Nestorians’ was obviously impossible.
From now on there were two lines of patriarchs (or katholikoi), one Catholic,
the other Nestorian.”
Memoirs of Reverend Henry Lobdell, Boston: American
Tract Society, 1859, p. 211-212, by William Seymore Tyler.
“Telkayf, for example, had been a Nestorian village and its inhabitants
converted to Catholicism and became known as Chaldeans in the 18th century.”
Baghdad and Beyond, by Mora Dickson.
In chapter XVII, Mora Dickson mentioned about her encounter with the
Chaldean priest in 'Aqra, and she wrote:
“...Up to this moment I had not fully grasped what the Chaldean community
consisted of, but now we discovered that there were a number of nuns in the
house on top of us. Chaldean is the name given to those Assyrians who in 1552,
led by one of their bishops, accepted the authority of Rome. They retain to a
certain extent their own ecclesiastical constitutions and discipline, and have
within their fold approximately 70% of the Assyrians.”
Al-dhat al-Jareeha (The Wounded Self), by Saleem
Mattar, 1997, Beirut.
“Rivalry continued between the Nestorian and Jacobite sects for long
centuries. Further complications were added after the 15th century with the
activities of the western missionary as many of the Nestorians became Catholics
and were called the Chaldean Church.” [p. 473]
Al-Athouriyoon (The Assyrians) in Arabic, by
Abdul Majeed Haseeb al-Qaysi, London, 1999.
“What weakened the Nestorians was the splitting of a part of them and
joining the Catholic Church and those became known as Chaldean Catholics and the
latter became in a better shape and more powerful than the Nestorians…” [p. 26]
A Compendious Syriac Dictionary by R. Payne
Smith (edited by J. Payne Smith), First ed. 1903, Oxford. Reprint in 1998,
“Chaldeanism means Astronomy and astrology.” [p. 215]
“Chaldeans mean “ancient Syrians or Suryaye”. [p. 371]
L'eglise Chaldeenne: Autrefois et Aujour d'hui,
article by Catholic Priest Fr. Joseph Tfinkdji of Mardin. Published in Annuaire
Pontifical Catholique in 1914.
“…Surayeh was a historical title of the Chaldean Patriarchs…”
The Armenians, Assyrians and Kurds: Three Nations, One
Fate?, by Burchard Brentjes, California, 1997.
“The adherents of the Antiochia church preferred the name ‘Syrian’, while
the expression ‘Assyrian’ was limited now to the independent Nestorians. Since
the late 19th century the Catholics of these Aramaean-speaking population call
Nestorian Missionary Enterprise: A Church on Fire,
by Rev. Dr. John Stewart, Great Britain, 1928, Reprinted in India in 1961, p.
“In the year AD 1551, they [Nestorians] split into two sections and a
patriarch was elected by each of the different factions. One of these, unable to
secure nomination by his fellow metropolitans, and in order to strengthen
himself against his rival, went to Rome and received ordination at the hands of
the Roman pontiff. He, however, did not join the Roman communion, but continued
Nestorian with his residence at Mosul. When more than a hundred years later, at
Diarbekir and elsewhere, some of the Nestorians went over to Rome, they were
called Uniate or Chaldean Christians while the others continued to be known as
The Holy Spirit: Eastern Christian Traditions,
by Stanley M. Burgess, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers Inc. 1989.
“The Portuguese found an Assyrian Church in India in Malabar in the 16th
century. It was reunited with Rome in 1599 and strongly Latinized. In 1830 a
Catholic patriarch, called “Chaldean” was created in Mesopotamia, so there now
are some Assyrians in union with Rome.”
Statement by Rev. William A. Shedd, D.D., of the
American Presbyterian Mission in Urmia, [Edited by Ara Sarafian. “The
Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916”, by James Bryce and
Arnold Toynbee, Princeton, 2000, p. 137].
“The Christian population in this region [Azerbaijan] is partly Armenian and
partly Nestorian — or Syrian, as they call themselves… The Syrians or Nestorians
include not only members of the old Nestorian Church but also Protestants,
members of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Roman Catholics — or Chaldeans, as
the last are generally called.”
Whither Christian Missions?, by
David B. Perley, J.S.D. Revised Edition 1946, USA.
David Perley quotes F. W. Chardin’s English Review (London Conservative
Monthly) October 1925, giving a classification of the Assyrian Oriental
Christians in Mosul. Chardin, who was the British Assistance Political Officer
in Mosul, stated that: “their [Assyrians’] Churches are divided into:
(a) The Old Syrian or Jacobite Church, a truly Oriental Church with no western
(b) The Syrian Catholic Church, the Uniat off-shoot of the foregoing:
(c) The extremely Nestorian Church:
(d) Its Uniat off-shoot, the Chaldean Church.”
The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life,
introduced and translated by Sebastian Brock, 1987, USA.
Explaining various Syriac-speaking churches, Brock wrote:
“The Eastern Rite Syrian Catholics and Chaldeans (the branches of the Syrian
Orthodox Church and the Church of the East which have entered into communion
with Rome), of course, also accept the Council of Chalcedon.”
East Syrian Rite, by Henry Jenner, transcribed
by Joseph P. Thomas. In memory of Father Mathew Kanippillil. The Catholic
Encyclopedia, Volume XIV Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company / Online
Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight.
“The Syrian and Mesopotamian Catholics are now commonly called Chaldeans, or
Syro-Chaldeans; the term Chaldean, which in Syriac generally meant magician or
astrologer, denoted in Latin and other European languages Syrian nationality and
the Syriac or Aramaic language (especially that form of the latter which is
found in certain chapters of Daniel), until the Latin missionaries at Mosul in
the seventeenth century adopted it to distinguish the Catholics of the East
Syrian Rite from those of the West Syrian Rite, whom they call "Syrians", and
from the Nestorians.”
The Baquba Refugee Camp, by Brigadier-Gen. H. H.
Austin, 1920, London.
“It may not be out of place, therefore, to point out that there were
exceeding few Roman Catholic Assyrians or “Chaldeans” as they are generally
termed when they embraced Rome, among the refugees at Baquba. The very large
majority of the Roman Catholic Assyrians in the Mosul vilayet did not join the
mountaineers and fight against the Turks; and in consequence were permitted by
the Turks to continue to dwell practically unmolested in their homes about
The Tragedy of the Assyrians, by Lt.-Col. R. S.
Stafford, 1933, London.
“In the 16th century one of the rival candidates to the Patriarchate
appealed to the Pope against another. One hundred years of hesitations and
refusals to submit completely to Rome followed, and in 1680 Pope Innocent XI
appointed the third Patriarchate, Mar Yusuf, who lived at Diarbekir. One hundred
years later Mar Elia of the plains, the rival to Mar Shimun of the mountains,
submitted to Rome. His followers came to be called Chaldean Uniates, and were
recognized by the Turks as a ‘Millet’ in 1845.”
The Flickering Light of Asia, by Rev. Joel E.
Werda, (Evangelical Church) second edition 1990, Chicago, p. 199.
“The Assyrians are better known by their three Ecclesiastical designations
representing the three main divisions:
a. The Nestorians…
b. The Chaldeans predominate in the province of Mosul, abounding also in the
various locations in lower Mesopotamia down to the Persian gulf, with Mosul as
their patriarchal See.
c. The Jacobites…”
Al-Ashoriyoon wa al-mas-ala al-Ashoriya fi al-‘Asir
al-Hadeeth (The Assyrians and the Assyrian Question in the Modern Era),
K. B. Matviev, 1989,
Damascus, p. 35.
“On April 9, 1553, Sulaqa was consecrated patriarch of Babylon. The new
church united with the Roman Catholic Church as it preserved its own private
daily life….the followers of this church were called the Chaldean Assyrians, and
Sulaqa returned to Beth Nahren hoping to unite all Assyrians under the Roman
Translation from the Arabic provided by
Mosul Before Iraq, by Sarah D. Shields, New
York, 2000, p. 49.
“The presence of European Christians in the city led to crisis between and
within the local churches, which grew more troublesome as the century
progressed. By 1901, the new Catholic Nestorians, or Chaldeans, seem to have had
a recognized Patriarch, supported by the papal delegate in Mosul and often by
the French consulate as well, who supplanted the Nestorian leader.”
Politics and Minorities In The Near East:
Reasons for the Explosion by Laurent Chabry & Annie Chabry,
translated from the French by Dr. Thoqan Qarqoot, 1991.
Under the sub-Chapter III “The Assyrians (Nestorians and Chaldeans)”, we
We find the 550,000 Assyrians today mainly in north of Iraq (areas of Mosul,
Arbil, Kirkuk) & Baghdad. These Assyrians are descendents of the Assyrians
of pre-history who established in the early history a Semitic kingdom in
Mesopotamia at the 21st century B.C. The Assyrians are a unique race with a
unique national Christian religion and divided today into two parts; The
Nestorians, not united with Rome, under "the Assyrian Church of the East",
and the Chaldeans, split from the Nestorians, united with Rome, and
therefore Catholic, since 1553 and under "The Chaldean Catholic Church".
I only hope that the above overwhelming references would finally convince those
who refuse to accept the fact about what the term Chaldean really meant …
Catholic Assyrians, simple.