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Clergy of the Diocese of California Receive Master’s Degree in Theology and Philosophy

Two clergy of the Diocese of California have recently completed their graduate theological studies and have been awarded Master’s degrees from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, at Berkeley, California. These clergy are the following: Rev. Fr. Ephraim Alkhas Fr. Ephraim Alkhas completed a Masters of Arts in Philosophy as well as a Master of Arts in Theology from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, CA. He is a priest in the Diocese of California serving as the sole dedicated servant in the Commission on Inter-Church Relations and Educational Development (CIRED). Fr Ephraim’s thesis, which was applied towards both degrees, is titled: Philosophical Terms and Anthropology in the Christology of Mar Babai the Great and Saint Maximus the Confessor. This thesis studied how philosophical language was used in Greek (by Maximus the Confessor) and in Syriac (by Mar Babai the Great) to describe the person of Jesus Christ as both fully God and fully man. Today, Fr Ephraim continues serving CIRED and in the Diocese of California. He is also in his second year of graduate studies at the University of California Berkeley’s Department of History. Primarily concerned with how canon law functioned in the creation of …

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Assyrian Delegation Attends Conference on Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C.

At the invitation of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, and with the express blessing of His Holiness Mar Gewargis III, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, a delegation of the Assyrian Church attended the Conference: “Threats to Religious and Ethnic Minorities under the Islamic State,” on July 28, 2016. The conference was co-sponsored by the US Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom and the Georgetown University in Washington. The following day, a closed-session meeting took place at the State Department, with many diplomats and parliament representatives present from numerous countries. The Assyrian delegation, consisting of His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod, along with the Very Rev. Archdeacon William Toma of the Diocese of Eastern USA, took part in the public session of the conference held under the auspices of the Berkley Center’s ‘Religious Freedom Project.’ The conference was attended by representatives of the various religious and ethnic minority entities in Iraq and Syria. The US Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, David Saperstein, addressed all those in attendance. Also addressing the body was Knox Thames, the Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and …

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India Archdiocese Youth Conference 2016, and Visit of Assyrian Bishops to Thrissur, Kerala

India Archdiocese Youth Conference 2016, and Visit of Assyrian Bishops to Thrissur, Kerala The Youth Conference – 2016 organised under the auspices of the Arch-diocese of India was held from 21st to 24thJuly 2016 at Thrissur, Kerala. ‘Get Up! Don’t be afraid’ (Matthew 17:7), one of the most emboldening words of Jesus to his disciples was the theme chosen for the conference with a view to encourage and equip the youths to face the growing challenges and concerns of the contemporary society. The four-day conference commenced with a registration of more than 325 youth delegates from across the world including USA, Australia, Iran and Iraq. The Inaugural session was presided over by: H.B. Dr. Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of India & UAE. H.G. Mar Awa Royel Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod, H.G. Mar Yohannan Yoseph, H.G. Mar Awgin Kuriakose from India, H.G. Mar Narsai Benjamin Bishop of Iran and H.G. Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of Eastern USA, were the other prelates present. His Beatitude enlightened the gathering with a bird’s eye view on the history of the Church of the East and also encouraged to spread the faith and be responsible witnesses to the …

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SECRETARY OF THE HOLY SYNOD MEETS WITH SYNOD SECRETARY OF THE COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH

On Saturday, May 28, 2016, His Grace Bishop Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East paid a fraternal visit to His Grace Anba Raphael, the Bishop of Central Cairo and the General Secretary of the Coptic Orthodox Church, at the St. Antonios Coptic Orthodox Church in Hayward, California at 12:30 pm. Bishop Mar Awa was attended by the Very Rev. Nenos Michael, Archdeacon of the Diocese of California, and the Rev. Fr. Genard Lazar, parish priest of St. Mar Zaia Cathedral and secretary to the Bishop. The Assyrian clergy were received at the end of Bishop Raphael’s Holy Liturgy and spiritual lecture to the worshipping congregation at the Coptic parish by the Rev. Fr. Bishoy Ibrahim, parish priest of the Coptic Church in Hayward.   His Grace Mar Awa apprised His Grace Anba Raphael of the many attempts of the late His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV to communicate with His Holiness Patriarch Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria, and a dossier of documents was given to the Coptic Synod Secretary. A very warm and fraternal exchange concerning the faith and beliefs of the Assyrian Church of the East …

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Inauguration Dinner of the St Narsai Alumni Association, Sydney

On the evening of Tuesday 21st June, Sydney’s Saint Narsai Assyrian Christian College hosted an inaugural dinner celebrating the establishment of the St Narsai Alumni Association. The word alumni, in its Latin definition means pupil and is commonly used to refer to a graduate or former student of a specific school, college or university. Therefore, an association of alumni collects the graduates in an organisational manner. The College saw it fit to establish such an organization due to its growth over the years, reaching over 500 enrolments currently. The main purpose of this initiative was the reuniting of the graduates in maintaining their social and familial ties, as they once had during their schooling years. A number of the graduates from the classes of 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 attended the evening; reuniting friends after so many years. The official program was graced by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan along with clergy, Assyrian Schools’ board of directors and staff members. The program consisted of speeches, musical performances and video presentations. In His Beatitude’s remarks, the concept of fellowship and keeping close ties was emphasised. As the Assyrian Schools were founded on solid foundations, the friendships should last …

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Diocesan Spring Youth Retreat of Illinois

There was complete silence as we walked through the 2 mile hike.  We saw wild turkey, eagles, and beautiful spring scenery in the forest of Kansasville, Wisconsin without a word.  When else would children get an opportunity to be completely cut off from the world and learn how to be silent, still, and listen to the voice of God through nature?  The 2016 Assyrian Church of the East Spring Youth Retreat was a perfect chance for our youth members (ages 14-21) to not only have fun and grow closer as a youth, but also to learn biblical skills through bible studies and activities.  We were blessed during the retreat from April 22nd-24th to have His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, and St. Andrew’s Parish Priest, Rev. Cor-Bishop Fr. George Toma join us during the weekend.  The retreat theme was discipleship and the bible verse from Matthew, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  You are never too young to disciple to others and as church leaders we want to ensure that our children know how to preach the Word to their peers and family members.  The weekend was split into three parts.  Friday’s lesson …

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A Clarification on Recent Misinformation in the Assyrian-American Media

From the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation A Clarification on Recent Misinformation in the Assyrian-American Media 23 May 2016 Clarification The Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO) has become aware of recent claims broadcast in a number of Assyrian-American media sources pertaining to the release of Assyrian hostages held in north-eastern Syria from February 2015. These claims have included suggestions that members of other churches, politicians and/or others have helped with efforts to bring about the release of our people. In response to such claims, ACERO takes this opportunity to affirm that these claims are totally unfounded and without truth. As such, we ask kindly that the individuals who made and the media organisations who broadcast these false and untruthful statements retract them without delay. Such fabrications are irresponsible and could have consequences to the people making them. By way of our Facebook page, website and other social and mass media, ACERO has always released accurate and timely information relating to the matter at hand on a breaking-news basis. This information is still available online and a matter of public record. It is the only accurate information on these matters. ACERO urges caution and prudence from …

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