Is the Chaldean Church in Communion With Rome?

By Michael Ferguson

The Chaldean Church, also known as the Assyrian Church of the East, is an ancient Christian community with deep roots in the Middle East. Many people wonder about the relationship between the Chaldean Church and Rome – specifically, whether they are in communion with each other.

Understanding Communion

In the context of Christianity, communion refers to the state of being in spiritual and ecclesiastical union with other churches or denominations. Communion is a vital aspect of Christian unity and can have implications for doctrine, sacraments, and governance.

The Chaldean Church

The Chaldean Church traces its origins back to the first century AD when it was founded by Saint Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. It has a distinct liturgical tradition and has historically been centered in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) and neighboring regions. The church has faced numerous challenges throughout its history, including persecution and displacement.

Relations with Rome

The question of whether the Chaldean Church is in communion with Rome requires some historical context. In the fifth century AD, there was a division within Christianity known as the Nestorian Schism. This schism resulted in a separation between churches that held different views on Christ’s nature – those who believed he had two separate natures (human and divine) and those who believed he had one nature (a combination of human and divine).

The Chaldean Church was part of the Nestorian tradition but experienced a significant change in its relationship with Rome in modern times. In 1551, Pope Julius III appointed Yohannan Sulaqa as the first Chaldean Catholic patriarch. This appointment led to a reunion between some members of the Chaldean Church and Rome, marking an important step towards communion.

However, it’s essential to note that not all Chaldean Christians entered into communion with Rome. Some members of the Chaldean Church chose to remain independent and continue the ancient Assyrian Church of the East tradition. This division means that while some Chaldeans are in communion with Rome as part of the Catholic Church, others are not.

Chaldean Catholic Church

The Chaldean Catholic Church is the portion of the Chaldean community that entered into full communion with Rome. It recognizes the authority of the Pope and follows Roman Catholic teachings while incorporating its own liturgical traditions and customs. The Chaldean Catholic Church has its patriarch and hierarchy but remains in communion with Rome, just like other Eastern Catholic Churches.


In summary, whether the Chaldean Church is in communion with Rome depends on which branch is being referred to. The Chaldean Catholic Church, which is part of the wider Catholic Church, is in full communion with Rome.

However, there are other branches within the broader Chaldean community that have chosen to remain independent and continue their ancient traditions separate from Rome. It’s important to understand this distinction when discussing the relationship between the Chaldean Church and Rome.