His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East has urged global Assyrian communities and associations to strive toward unity, during an official dinner which allowed faithful to share in a meal with the head of the Church on his sojourn to Sydney, Australia.
The dinner, held at Edessa Reception Centre on the evening of 18 September, was attended by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon, His Grace Mar Emmanuel Joseph, Bishop of Canada, Cor-Bishop Ashoor Lazar, all parish priests of the diocese, deacons, committees and many faithful.
Poems by many members of the community, hymns by the church choirs and DVD presentations were presented in honour of His Holiness and accompanying prelates.
In his keynote address, His Holiness stressed the importance of upholding our language, heritage and traditions.
Even though the church will not be involved in politics, said His Holiness, it is our nationalistic right as Assyrians to desire unity and peace between all our nationalistic associations.
His Holiness asked of all associations to work together in peace and love for one cause.
Updating parishioners on news within the universal church, His Holiness outlined the total number of prelates, mentioned many parishes around the world and highlighted the encouragements and challenges within each diocese.
His Holiness also mentioned the recently consecrated bishops of the church, including Mar Yohannan Yoseph and Mar Awgin Kuriakose of India, ordained last January, and Mar Narsai Benjamin, ordained for Iran last September.
Further outlining the work that needs to be done in fulfilling the spiritual needs of the church’s faithful around the world, His Holiness mentioned the importance of bible studies, sunday schools, youth associations and choirs.
Churches, halls and schools are highly necessary, said His Holiness, in allowing our faithful to gather in peace and with a sense of belonging that we are in our own premises.
Referring to parents as teachers in the home, His Holiness advised faithful to keep the faith at home. Fasting and prayer, he said, were significant, for wherever we are, it is the same God that desires those from us.
Speaking on the meeting that occurred in Ankawa regarding nationalistic leadership, His Holiness asked faithful to pray that God may help them in all that they do for our nation. For we are the indigenous people of Iraq, said His Holiness, and we are the Ninevites and the Babylonians of Mesopotamia.
His Holiness ended his address by stating that we have two gifts: our membership to the Assyrian Church of the East as Christians and our Nationalism as Assyrians. We must take care of our legacy, said His Holiness, and we must work for Christ in order to sustain our Church.
Earlier in the evening, His Beatitude Mar Meelis reviewed the expansion of the church in a brief summary for His Holiness. Future projects include the construction of Mar Odisho Church in Melbourne, Australia, as well as the building of Mar Narsai Assyrian College (MNAC) in Sydney, Australia which should commence late this year.
Additionally, His Beatitude acknowledged the growing parish communities of the diocese’s two English ministries, Sydney’s Ss. Peter and Paul Parish and Melboune’s St. George Parish with the help of Rev. John Kushaba and Rev. Narsai Youkhanis.
His Beatitude urged parishioners to always stand strong in faith and continue to thank God for our country of residence Australia, where we are able to protect our culture and faith.[nggallery id=272]