Enlightening Entertainment
The Past and Present of Iraq’s Accomplished Chaldean Civilization (In Arabic)      
Today’s Enlightening Entertainment will be presented in Arabic and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

About 2,600 years ago, a kingdom called Chaldea was established on the southern end of Tigris-Euphrates Valley, in present-day Iraq. Under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldeans soon became a strong presence in the entire Middle East region. The Chaldean, or the Neo-Babylonian, dynasty left significant traces of its civilization, including in architecture, technology, astrology, literature, and many more. Till today, the descendants of Chaldeans are still flourishing around the world.

We are descendants of Babylonians. Chaldeans of Babylon, people of Abraham migrated to the north then spread all over Iraq.

Situated at the lower end of the Euphrates River, Babylon was the capital city of the Chaldean civilization. It was one of the most magnificent cities in the ancient world. With facilitated highways and waterways, the city became a major trade center filled with merchants and their goods. Noted for their architectural achievements, Chaldeans built the Babylon City with amazing structures.

One of them was Ishtar Gate, which was known for its beautiful blue glazed tiles and mysterious animal patterns on it formed by yellow tiles. Of the three animals portrayed on the Ishtar Gate, lions represent the goddess Ishtar; dragons and bulls stand for the protective power. As part of the Walls of Babylon, the gate was once regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The main road, called the Processional Way, connected the Ishtar Gate to a seven-story ziggurat, or temple tower. This seven-story ziggurat was believed to be a reconstruction on the remains of the famous Tower of Babel mentioned in the Bible. Soaring to a height of 200 meters, the ziggurat was colored with red, blue, or orange to symbolize different heavenly spheres.

Another spectacular structure built by the Chaldean civilization was the Hanging Garden of Babylon, which was also considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Elevated 23 meters above the ground, the garden gained its name because it looked as if it was hanging in the sky. King Nebuchadnezzar built this lush garden for his wife, Ametis, to ease her longing for the hills and mountains of her hometown. Various kinds of shrubs, flowers, and trees were planted to create a beautiful niche with animals of different species.

The spirit of the Chaldeans was represented by the famous Lion of Babylon Statue that sits at the entrance of Nebuchadnezzar’s Southern Palace. The giant stone lion was carved in basalt, symbolizing the goddess Ishtar and the power of the civilization. Reverend Jacob Yasso, the founder of Chaldean Culture Center in Detroit, USA, shared with us about how Babylon was rebuilt in modern-day Iraq from the remains of ancient buildings.

You aware of the Lion of Babylon. The Lion of Babylon is a statue still there in southern Iraq within the ruins of ancient Babylon. In Babylon and in Assyrian in northern Iraq Nineveh, you can see today the new walls of Nineveh and Babylon in the south.

The ancient Chaldeans are well known for having invented the wheel. But they have also been noted for their contributions to astronomy. The many ziggurats of the city provided the best places for priests to observe stars and planets. They had discovered five planets, including Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and Mars.

The Chaldeans were also the first to make the system of naming the days of the week after these objects. For example, Sunday was named after the Sun, Monday for the Moon, and Saturday for the Saturn. In fact, they invented the seven-day week.

The philosophy of course is naturalistic; nature, observations of the world. So they invented, as I said, the timing of the world, the eclipses, etc., the mathematics.

Indeed, the numeral system based in 60, as used by the Chaldeans, laid an important foundation for modern mathematics. This numeral system is still used today to measure the time and to calculate the degrees in a circle. The Chaldeans also foretold the future by predicting celestial movements and believed that in every natural phenomena, there was a spiritual hand of a god.

Chaldean astrology and method of forecasting the weather were admired and incorporated by neighboring cultures. All Western astrology has roots in the Chaldean system.

Chaldeans left civilizations, art, culture, reading. If you look at your watch, who divided the time into 12, 24 units of time, for the 24 hours day and night? Who divided the days into weeks, month and year? (They) were the Babylonians because they were astronomers, they invented the wheel, now the center of civilization.

So most of those astrologies were founded by those Chaldeans, which also means for the Persians and Romans, Chaldeans means also magicians and astronomers. So it is an ancient civilization that influenced the new civilization.

Did the Chaldean civilization also contribute to the field of medicine?

Yes, they did. In fact, up to today we have some use of medical, natural medical and herbs, still used today. Especially in southern Iraq, which is former Babylonia, Babylon portion of Mesopotamia.

Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. When we return, Father Jacob will share more about the Chaldean people and their religion in the ancient land of Iraq.

Welcome back to today’s program featuring the Chaldean civilization in Iraq. Since ancient times, the Chaldean culture placed great emphasis on the Divine. Throughout the city of Babylon, many altars and ziggurats were built for people to make offerings to gods. It is said that the number of temples built at the time was more than one thousand. The temples were mainly dedicated to Ishtar, Marduk, and Nanmakh, known as the great lady.

The main god of Babylonians was Marduk. From that idea of one strongest god of the gods with the small g’s, the Christians went further, the invisible God Marduk or Allah, Elohim – the Hebrews transfer that name into Elohim, which means God of gods.

According to legend, the Chaldeans were first introduced to Christianity through Saint Thomas, one of Jesus Christ’s select apostles. However, it was not until 1445 that the Chaldeans were officially recognized by the Roman Church. The Pope chose “Chaldean” as the name for the new Catholic rite to refer to their glorious historic homeland as well as that of the prophet Abraham.

Christianity entered Mesopotamia, land of two rivers, which is today Iraq, first century. The Christians spread all over Mesopotamia, which is Iraq, I said, and Persia. Even those Christians migrated to the south, crossing the Persian Gulf to India.

The history says that Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, went to India, spread the Christianity of Iraqi liturgies and traditions in southern India, called Province of Kerala. Now we have about 10 million Chaldeans of India, Catholics using the same traditions, same liturgies, same books of the Chaldean Catholics in Mesopotamia, in Iraq, and all over the world.

Since 1889, some Chaldeans started to immigrate to the United States. Most of them settled in metropolitan Detroit for religious and economic reasons. They speak English, Arabic, and Chaldean, a dialect of Aramaic, which was the language spoken by Jesus. Over the years, Chaldean Americans have remained faithful to their cultural heritage and Catholic belief, as the Iraqi Chaldeans do.

Folklore is beautiful, up to today. If you go to Christian villages in northern Iraq now, those Chaldeans migrated to the north. The Christians kept and are still using those traditions, that folklore even today, and it’s practiced and used here in this country, in the United States.

In 1947, Mother of God, the first Chaldean Church in the United States, was established in Detroit. Father Jacob Yasso was appointed to serve at the church as the 4th Pastor of Mother of God Parish.

I was born in northern Iraq in the city of ancient Nineveh, today called Telkaif, a city in the province of Nineveh near Mosul. I finished my high school in Iraq. I was sent to Rome for higher education, Ecclesiastical education. And I finished with a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Theology. Then I was back to Iraq for three years.

Father Jacob Yasso served as a school teacher in Mosul, then became rector of the Baghdad seminary. There, he also taught the history of the Catholic Church and philosophy.

After two years, Archbishop of Baghdad, sent me to Detroit to serve the growing community in Detroit, in 1964. So I came to this country and I start working. God gave me extraordinary energy to do something others before me didn’t accomplish.

As the congregation kept growing, Father Yasso built the Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, and later added the Chaldean Culture Center. This center presents the extraordinary history, arts, and traditions of the Chaldean people. The Sacred Heart Parish congregation also includes Assyrian people, an ethnic group sharing the same roots as the Chaldeans.

We are basically Christian Catholics. We have a portion of this Church, also non-Catholic called Orthodox, named themselves as Assyrians. The Assyrian people live in northern Iraq, the Chaldeans in south Iraq. So we are same tradition, same language, same liturgy.

Finally, Reverend Jacob Yasso would like to encourage all the Chaldeans worldwide to be proud of their identity and keep a firm faith in their religion.

Keep your culture, believe in God that one day you will be arisen with your faith and try to keep your identity as Chaldeans anywhere and all over the world. Now we are spread, I can say, all over the world. In US, in Australia, in Europe; all over you find Chaldeans. First thing, they start with the Church, because the Church gathers those Chaldeans around. Same thing do the Assyrians.

Okay. Father Yasso, thank you so much.

God bless. Thank you very much. (Thank you) Thank you.

Our appreciation, Father Jacob Yasso, for sharing with us the wonderful, impressive heritage of Chaldeans. May the splendid culture of the Chaldeans and Iraq be honored worldwide for generations to come.

Thank you, cherished viewers, for your company today. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Words of Wisdom, coming up after Noteworthy News. May your days be brightened by Divine love and light.

The work of visionary best-selling author and scientist Gregg Braden blends the profound wisdom of the ancients with modern discoveries in genetics and quantum physics.

What we know is that there is a message, an intentional message within the DNA of all life. The message occurs in layers and each layer has its own code that must be understood for that layer.

To find out the secret message hidden in your genetic code watch part 1 of “Gregg Braden: Seeking the Divine Code of Life,” Monday, July 5 on Science and Spirituality.

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