In the afternoon of Friday, July 4, 2014, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, received in audience at the patriarchate Mr. David Tam, director of the Jingjiao Fellowship, who was accompanied by Mr. Faust Chan, a research student on Christianity in China. Also in attendance of the audience were: Their Graces Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California, President of CIRED and Secretary of the Holy Synod, and Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern USA.
Mr. Tam apprised His Holiness of the developments of Jingjiao since he first wrote to His Holiness in May 2009, expressing the wish to establish contact with the Church and return to communion. The highlights of events in these few years were His Grace Mar Awa’s visits to Hong Kong in 2010, and to Xian and Hong Kong in 2012. During these visits, His Grace celebrated liturgy the first times in many centuries on Chinese soil, gave seminars on history and sacraments, spoke to seminarians and scholars, and met with prelates of the various Christian Churches in the country. These visits helped raise the awareness of the Church of the East and Jingjiao, and their success was in large part due to the support of institutions such as the Institute of Sino-Chinese Studies, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Lutheran Theological Seminary of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Christian Council, as well as local churches such as the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (HK Anglican Church). Mr. Tam said that the Fellowship would continue to cultivate and sustain awareness through social media and seminars, while anticipating that a clergy would soon be sent and the Chinese Church of the East would soon be formed, God willing.
Mr. Tam and Mr. Chan presented His Holiness the Patriarch with a full set of the seven Jingjiao manuscripts, finely mounted on a traditional Chinese scroll. These manuscripts, written between the 7th and 8th centuries by the Church of the East fathers in China and discovered in early 20th Century, were the first Chinese Christian writings of the Christian faith and on Chinese soil. Mr. Tam briefly introduced the seven documents, and presented to His Holiness his study notes and translation of one of the documents, the Yishenlun, or ‘On One-God’ (i.e. a treatise on monotheism). He said that the scroll, and the translations, had been introduced to the participants of the Youth Conference being held in Chicago, whom Mr. Tam and Mr. Chan addressed on Friday, July 4th.
His Holiness was filled with joy at this visit and expressed his desire that this evangelistic work begin as soon as possible. He again thanked Mr. Tam for his own personal efforts in directing and beginning the Jingjiao Fellowship.