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Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon

Announcement of Sydney Clerical Ordinations

On Sunday 26th February being the beginning of the Great Lent in the church’s liturgical calendar, His Eminence Mar Meelis Zaia AM offered the Holy Eucharistic service at St Hurmizd’s Cathedral, Greenfield Park. By which the announcement of Sydney’s clerical ordinations was made to the congregation, to take place 8:00 am on Sunday 2nd April at St Hurmizd’s Cathedral, and are as follows: Reverend Father Ninos Elya to be elevated to the ranking of Archdeacon for the Holy Church, in preparations for his consecration as bishop on Sunday the 16th July in St Abdisho’s Church, Melbourne as elected by the Holy Synod. The Church will be anticipating the attendance of His Holiness Mar Gewargis Sliwa Catholicos Patriarch accompanied by a number of esteemed prelates. Reverend Father Narsai Youkhanis to be elevated to the ranking of Chor-Bishop for the Holy Church, in commencing his international youth ministry as elected by the Holy Synod. Deacon Neil Makko to be elevated to the ranking of priesthood and taking on the responsibilities of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Cecil Park, Sydney. Deacon Neil will relieve Rev’d Fr Ninos as he commences his bishop duties for Melbourne in July 2017. At the same time, …

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Metropolitan Mar Meelis Meets Lebanese President

During the latest visit to their diocese, His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM met with the Lebanese President General Michel Aoun in his presidential palace Baabda – Beirut. His Beatitude conveyed his sincere congratulations and well wishes to the President, on behalf of the Assyrian Church of the East’s Holy Synod and the Assyrian community in Lebanon in its entirety for the presidential elections of the Republic, and prayed for Lebanon and its people to live in peace and harmony. Upon His Beatitude’s visitation, a thorough update on the living conditions of the Assyrian community who have been displaced from their homeland and are currently seeking refuge in Lebanon was presented. The great sufferings of these families was brought to the attention of the President, and a recount of their traumatic experiences in Iraq and Syria. In concluding their visitation, His Beatitude conveyed his best to the President, praying that the Lord strengthens and guides him with the work entrusted to him by the Lebanese people; to bring process and prosperity.   His Beatitude Mar Meelis was accompanied by Rev’d Chor-Bishop Yatron Kilyana and Mr. Essam El-Assaad.

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ACERO Australia’s Inaugural Luncheon

The Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization (ACERO) is the international aid agency of the Assyrian Church of the East. ACERO Australia is the Australian arm of the international aid agency, and is established to provide benevolent aid and relief to refugees, the displaced and other victims of persecution, war or natural disaster. On Sunday 9th October 2016, ACERO Australia’s NSW Chapter held a luncheon as a gesture of the Charity’s appreciation for the overwhelming generosity extended by its various business and association sponsors during times of intense need. The blessed occasion was presided over by His Eminence Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, and Founding Chairman of ACERO and ACERO Australia. Attending as guest of honours was the NSW Ecumenical Council, represented by the Council’s General Secretary, the Very Reverend Fr Shenouda Mansour. The occasion was a resounding success and saw in excess of 40 businesses and associations gather to offer their collective support to the Charity and its aid and relief works. Guests were treated to various informative presentations delivered by the following esteemed individuals: • Keynote address from His Eminence Mar …

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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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Australia and New Zealand’s Youth Associations #ServeHim at the Auckland’s 3rd Archdiocesan Youth Conference

Youth Associations of the Archdiocese met in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday the 1st July. His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM Metropolitan, Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis (Sydney), Rev’d Fr Ninos Elya (Sydney), Rev’d Fr Antwan Mikhail (Melbourne), Syriac Scholar Prof Rifat Ebied (Sydney) and members of the youth from Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington were welcomed by the Auckland Youth Committee, parish priest Rev’d Fr Toma Kanoon and the Church committee. The clergymen and conference speakers and attendees checked into Auckland Mercure Hotel in the heart of the city. The 2015 youth conference officially began with a warm and traditional welcome by a Maori entertaining group performing the Haka in honour of the guests followed by prayers in St Mary’s Church Manurewa led by His Beatitude. Following the prayers, welcoming speeches were presented in Mar Narsai DeBaz Hall (rear of the Church) by MC Deacon Oliver Sliwa, Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis Youth Chaplain, Rev’d Fr Toma Kanon Parish Priest and His Beatitude Mar Meelis. The second day of the conference comprised of seminars at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) where Rev’d Mark Beale of the Anglican Church spoke about Serving God in Body and Spirit, Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis spoke …

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Inaugural ACERO Benefit Dinner Held In Sydney, Australia

On 1 February 2015 ACERO Australia in association with NSW Ecumenical Council were proud hosts of the Inaugural ACERO Benefit Dinner held in Sydney, Australia. The blessed evening was presided over by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon. The inaugural ACERO benefit dinner was held with two key aims which were focused on raising awareness of the plight of Assyrian and Christian minority groups across the Middle East in addition to raising much needed vital funds for ACERO’s life giving relief works across this region. The occasion was a resounding success and saw in excess of 500 guests across Sydney’s local and wider community gather to offer their collective support to the Middle East’s Christian communities. Guests were treated to informative presentations on the subject of Christianity and plight of Christians across the Middle East from the following esteemed individuals; – His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon – The Very Reverend Father Shenouda Mansour, General Secretary of the NSW Ecumenical Council; – Sr Elizabeth Delaney, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Australia; – Reverend the Honourable Fred Nile MLC, of the Christian Democratic …

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Catholicos-Patriarch Calls 3-Day Rogation for Christians of Iraq

His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, has sent an epistle imploring all members of the church and the Assyrian nation to hold a 3 day fast (Rogation) beginning Monday the 1st of September. The purpose of this rogation is to beseech the mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ upon our Assyrian nation and all who are being persecuted in the Middle East, in particular Northern Iraq. May God accept our rogation just as He accepted the rogation of our forefathers the Ninevites.

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Inaugural Jerusalem Pilgrimage for the Metropolitan See of Sydney

On the 30th June 2014 180 Sydney and Melbourne parishioners departed Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport and travelled to the Holy Land of Jerusalem, accompanied by Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis and Rev’d Fr Ninos Elya and numerous deacons. The pilgrimage took approximately ten months to organise, with the 180 attendees divided into six groups of thirty pilgrims: red, yellow, green, blue, purple and orange. Each group with its own tour guide and air-conditioned coach busses from the St Thomas Church Touring Services in different languages; English (red, blue, orange and purple) and Arabic (yellow and blue). The pilgrims were accommodated at the Ritz Hotel in Jerusalem where a full buffet was served for breakfast and dinner, and lunch was provided at different restaurants depending on the locations of the day’s schedule – all three meals’ cost covered. Aside from meals, chilled bottles of water were provided for each pilgrim throughout the day. The ten-day tour began with a free day on Tuesday the 1st July – allowing time for check-in to the hotel, relaxing and unwinding after a 30 or so hour flight from Sydney via Bangkook, Thailand. On the following day the tour schedule commenced visiting sites such as …

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New Church Consecrated in Auckland, New Zealand

Courtesy – Manukau Courier A new church is helping forge cultural roots for a small community. The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East opened its doors in Manurewa on Saturday. Father Toma K Toma, who came to New Zealand from Iran in 1992, acknowledges the church has come a long way from its early beginnings and is happy to see it thrive in South Auckland – “it’s a dream come true”, he says. People in the neighbourhood are very impressed with the new building and ask many questions, and he’s proud to share his religion and culture, he says. When he first arrived in the country only 10 families attended his services which he would run using Anglican church facilities. Now he has a congregation of more than 200 families. The Church of the East began during the early Christian missionary activity in the middle of the first century. It established itself through the regions of Mesopotamia which included areas of modern-day Iraq and Syria. The Assyrian people are the major ethnic community within the church but Father Toma says its doors are open to everyone. He hopes its facilities will be available for community events and weddings. …

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Grand Opening and Consecration of St Abdisho’s Church in Victoria, Australia

In a weekend of joy and adulation, the Assyrian Church of the East in Victoria, Australia has celebrated the grand opening and consecration of St Abdisho’s Church in the suburb of Coolaroo. Both events, on 3 and 4 May 2014 respectively, saw thousands of Assyrians and faithful of sister churches join the festivities for the long-awaited milestone in the life of Victoria’s Assyrian community.

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3rd Annual Rejoice Resurrection Festival Attracts Thousands in Sydney

This year’s annual Rejoice Resurrection Festival of the Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association Sydney (ACEYAS) was held on Easter Monday, 21 April 2014, with the event attracting thousands of faithful and members of the local surrounding community. In coming together to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 2014’s festival found a new home, the grounds of Saint Hurmizd’s Cathedral and Saint Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School, with the new location proving a resounding success. The day was filled with fun rides and amusements, appearances by movie characters such as Captain America, Superman and the festival’s famous friendly clown. Later in the evening, well known Assyrian singers and entertainers, including Helen Isaac, Flora Simon and Ben Barkho, took to the stage and performed for hours, leaving everyone to dance the night away. A rendition of Disney’s ‘Up’ house was built with a large number of balloons hung to it as a centrepiece; this was used as a donation box with all proceeds going to the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO). ACERO also provided attendees with a chance to make a difference to the lives of children and families in the Middle East by …

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Scholar Dr Erica C.D. Hunter Visits Assyrian Communities in Australia

In a visit to Australia the distinguished Syriac Studies scholar Dr Erica C.D. Hunter has visited Assyrian Church of the East communities in Victoria and New South Wales. During her visit Dr Hunter gave two lectures ‘The Christian Library from Turfan Project’. The lectures, held on 14 March 2014 at Ishtar Reception Centre in Victoria and on 22 March 2014 at Edessa Hall in New South Wales were very well attended by members of the Assyrian community and individuals from other communities. Dr Hunter’s lecture in both states was entitled ‘The Christian Library from Turfan: New Discoveries and New Dimensions for the Church of the East’. Special guests at the Melbourne lecture on 14 March 2014 were Ms Beryl Turner, Researcher and Editorial Assistant of the Syriac Language Research Centre, Whitley College at the University of Melbourne along with Syriac Studies scholar Dr Nicholas Al-Jeelo. The Sydney lecture of 22 March 2014 was graced with the presence of His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon and the parish priests of New South Wales. Also present was the longstanding friend of the Assyrian community Professor Rifaat Ebied of the University of Sydney. ‘The Christian Library …

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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell Visits Assyrian Primary School in Sydney

On Thursday the 13th February 2014, St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School (SHAPS) along with St Narsai Assyrian Christian College (SNACC) warmly welcomed The Honourable Barry O’Farrell MP, Premier of the State of New South Wales to a special reception held at the Assyrian Church of the East’s Edessa Hall in Greenfield Park, New South Wales, Australia. Premier O’Farrell was received by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon accompanied by reverend priests, SHAPS Principal Mr Sargis Makko, SNACC Principal Mr John Haskal, church trustees, members of the Assyrian Schools Board and a large congregation of students, staff and parents. The program commenced with the performance of the Australian National Anthem, Assyrian Church Anthem and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the Aramaic language by the school choir, followed with a welcoming speech given by Mr Makko. In his remarks Mr Makko noted that the growing size of both schools and growing population of the Assyrian community in Australia was cause for both joy and happiness. Mr Makko went on to thank the Australian government for the significant contribution it has made in making the existence of the Assyrian Schools possible …

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Assyrian Church of the East Hosts Major Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Event in Beirut

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 The Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon has hosted an ecumenical celebration marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The event, on 26 January 2014, was held at St George Cathedral of the Assyrian Church of the East in the Beirut suburb of Sed el-Bouchriyeh. The ecumenical gathering, the largest of its kind ever held in Lebanon, saw representatives of 10 churches come together to celebrate the important event. These churches were: – Antiochian Orthodox Church – Armenian Orthodox Church – Assyrian Church of the East – Chaldean Catholic Church – Coptic Orthodox Church – Maronite Catholic Church – Melkite Catholic Church – National Evangelical Church of Lebanon – Syriac Catholic Church – Syrian Orthodox Church Senior prelates and clergy from the noted churches were represented at the event. The ecumenical prayer event commenced with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic, followed by an address from The Rev’d Fr Michel Jalakh, Secretary-General of the Middle East Council of Churches. The Secretary-General welcomed all prelates and distinguished guests present stressing that the spirit of ecumenism should be the …

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