HistoryChaldeans began immigrating to the metropolitan Detroit area from Chaldean villages in the northwest of Iraq as far back as 1910. The majority of the families came from the village of Telkaif, which means “Hill of Stones” in Aramaic. Others came from Baghdad, the capital, and urban areas of Iraq . Factory jobs in the automobile industry and the area's large Arabic speaking community were appealing to immigrants.
The Church's GrowthIn 1982, Pope John Paul II established the Apostolic Exarchate for Chaldeans in the United States and appointed the Reverend Ibrahim Ibrahim as the first Apostolic Exarch on March 7, 1982. On August 3, 1985, the U.S. Apostolic Exarchate was raised to the status of Eparchy (diocese) and named the Chaldean Diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle, with its seat in metropolitan Detroit at Our Landy of Chaldeans Catholic Cathedral (Mother of God Parish) under the leadership of Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim.
LanguageLanguage has become a major issue in the church. As younger members, who are born in the United States, speak English and are unable to understand the Chaldean, or "Old Aramaic" language used in the church's rituals, and more recent immigrants from Iraq are more likely to speak Arabic rather than modern Aramaic, all three languages have to be used. Each Sunday Mother of God holds an early mass in Arabic, another mass in English, and high mass in Aramaic. A Saturday afternoon mass is also said in Aramaic.
Date Center Founded
1,700 average Sunday attendance; over 100,000 Caldeans in the metropolitan Detroit area
Most members come from Iraq, including the village of Telkaif, villages in the Northwest, as well as urban areas such as Baghdad.
Affiliation with Other Communities/Organizations
Apostolic Exarchate for Chaldeans