Iraqi Church Installs New Patriarch

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Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church installed a new patriarch Wednesday, under tight security arrangements.

Monsignor Louis Sako, 64, replaced retiring patriarch Emmanuel III Delly in a ceremonial mass at St. Joseph's Chaldean church in downtown Baghdad.

Iraqi troops sealed off roads around the church and searched people as they entered the sanctuary.

Sako said he will push for dialogue with Muslim clerics hoping to achieve co-existence and cooperation.

"I will work along with my Muslim brothers in order to provide our country with a better future," the new patriarch said.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Sunni Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi attended the installation.

Iraqi Christians have suffered heavy persecution by Islamic groups, and thousands have fled the country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

A 1978 census showed 1.4 million Christians in Iraq, a number that's dwindled to a few hundred thousand today.

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