– Bishop Bawai Soro was on Tuesday appointed bishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto, which serves Canada’s estimated 40,000 Chaldean Catholics.
The Oct. 31 appointment fills the vacancy left by August’s transfer of Bishop Emmanuel Shaleta to the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle of San Diego.
Soro was born in 1954 in Kirkuk, Iraq, and was baptized into the Assyrian Church of the East, based in northen Iraq. His family emigrated to Lebanon in 1973, and then to the U.S. in 1976.
The Assyrian Church of the East is descended from the Church of the East, which refused to accept the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431.
He was ordained a deacon in the Assyrian Church of the East in 1973, a priest in 1982, and a bishop in 1984. Whila a priest he served as pastor of a parish in Toronto, and was bishop of the Assyrian eparchies of San Jose and Seattle.
He obtained a master’s degree in theology from the Catholic University of America in 1992, and a doctorate from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in 2002. While a bishop, he was actively involved in ecumenical dialogue between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Catholic Church.
Soro was received into communion with the Catholic Church in 2008, along with nearly 1,000 families of his Church.
He was received into the Chaldean Catholic Church, which is the Catholic analogue to the Assyrian Church of the East. Both Churches use the East Syrian rite. They are both derived from the Church of the East, which experienced a schism in 1552.
In 2014 he was appointed protosyncellus, or vicar general, of the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle of San Diego.
Soro has been outspoken about the persecution of Christians in his native Iraq, and has applauded their perseverance.
In June, he told CNA that “the story of suffering of Iraqi Christians is an ongoing phenomenon.” He reflected on his family’s perseverance in the face of the Ottomans’ Assyrian genocide, saying that “if my grandparents survived this difficulty and were able to hand their faith to the next generations, this suffering generation will do the same.”
The Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto was established in 2011. It consists of 10 parishes and missions, and is served by 10 priests and two deacons.