In this season of Lent, we invite you to listen in on the traditions of the Chaldean Catholic church of Iraq, coming to you from St. Peter’s Seminary in northern Iraq – and a prayer that most likely arrived in Iraq with the Apostle Thomas in the First Century A.D.
Hear the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer that bridges the ancient Christian tradition with the current teachings of Christian churches around the world, in Eastern Syriac, a language believed to be close to the one that Jesus spoke. (The language, when spoken, is also called Chaldean or Sureth.) MCC worker Ann Ward, of Delavan, Wis., notes that in the Chaldean church, the priest and congregation recite this prayer in a songlike format at the beginning and the end of the liturgy. Before communion, the prayer is said by the congregation, with hands raised to God.
“Daily, I experience the Chaldean Mass and this simple appeal with utter humility as never before in my prayer life,” says Ward, an MCC peace development worker in Ankawa, Iraq. “To be in the presence of such strong spirit, such attention to worship and commitment to tradition among such human tragedy, humbles my soul. Daily I learn the details of my seminary students’ lives and hear of their families’ forced evictions, of killings, lost jobs, extreme poverty, orphaned children and I am in awe that they can still pray with such beauty and love, much less live their lives with faith in the future.”
See below for a written version fo the prayer in Eastern Syriac.
Read more about MCC’s work in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.