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Sydney Assyrian School Students Hold Assembly Marking the Barnabas Fund ‘Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church’

The students of St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School of the Assyrian Church of the East in Sydney, Australia have participated in the Barnabas Fund Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. On 1 November 2013 the students gathered at the ‘H.H. Mar Dinkha IV Assembly Hall’ to remember and pray for suffering Christians throughout the world. During the program they also recited the Lord’s Prayer in the Assyrian language. The Rev’d Fr Ninos Elya, school chaplain noted during the program, “It’s good to pray for Christians but it takes greater strength to pray for your enemies.” Addressing the students, school principal Sargis Makko discussed the great importance of praying for fellow Christians and spoke about the tremendous work done by the Barnabas Fund in aid of suffering and persecuted Christians worldwide. The students expressed their gratitude to the Barnabas Fund, a partner of the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO), for the work it has done to support all Christians and in particular Assyrians in the Middle East. It is noteworthy that Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of the Barnabas Fund visited the St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School in November 2010. During Dr Sookhdeo’s visit, His Beatitude Mar …

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Bishop of California Attends Academic Year Opening in Rome

In response to an official invitation from the Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome for the opening of the 2013/2014 academic year, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, Diocese of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod was commissioned by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch to officially represent the Church at the academic function. Arriving in Rome on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, His Grace accompanied by his secretary and Mar Zaia Cathedral parish priest Rev’d Fr Genard Lazar, were received at the Pontifical Russian College in Rome, where accommodations were prepared by the rector of the same college, with the aid of Fr Claudio Ciubotariu SJ. Distinct arrangements for His Grace to participate at the General Papal Audience on Wednesday, October 23, 2013, with designated seating in the ‘Sagrato’ section prepared by the offices of Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. His Grace was personally greeted by His Holiness Pope Francis, and met the President of the Senate of the Dominican Republic along with his consort at the completion of the program. At this moment His Grace conveyed a brief message of fraternal greetings …

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Sydney College Students Commemorate 2010 Baghdad Church Massacre Anniversary

On 5 November 2013, the students of St Narsai Assyrian Christian College of the Assyrian Church of the East in Sydney, Australia gathered to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the October 2010 terrorist attack upon Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad, Iraq. During the heinous terrorist incident 58 Christians, many of whom were women and children lost their lives following a lengthy siege of the church. Addressing the assembled students, Jacob Awraham, Assyrian language coordinator at the College discussed the sacrifices and suffering of the Christians of Iraq following the commencement of the Iraq War in 2003. In particular, Mr Awraham noted that the storming of the church and martyrdom of the many faithful came during a time in which they had congregated to celebrate the liturgy and pray for peace and stability in their homeland. School principal John Haskal spoke urging the students to reflect upon the tragic events and immense suffering of Iraq’s Christian community which has led hundreds of thousands to flee the country. He exhorted the students to uphold their Christian values, Assyrian national identity and heritage. Mr Haskal went on stressing the great contribution of the Assyrian people to civilisation and urging …

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Lebanon Youth Mark Patriarchal Anniversary with Student Graduation Ceremony

On the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the consecration of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV as Catholicos-Patriarch, the Assyrian Youth Association of the Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon organized a graduation ceremony honouring Assyrian students having successfully undertaken secondary and university level studies. The ceremony, held on 20 October 2013 and held at Mar Guiwargis Cathedral in the Beirut suburb of Sed el-Bouchriyeh commenced with Assyrian and Arabic hymns. Following this Rev’d Fr Yatron Koliana delivered an address highlighting the importance of the occasion and the immense importance of the active participation of young faithful in the life of the Holy Church. Addressing the attendees, Rev’d Fr Georges Youkhanna, Parish Priest of Mar Guiwargis Cathedral emphasised the significant role of the youth in the church and the importance of renewing spirituality in the lives of the young faithful. Speaking next on behalf of the graduates being honoured at the event was Ms Carla Simonian who noted that the graduates were specifically honouring the memory of the renowned Assyrian journalist, nationalist and martyr Professor Ashur Yusef due to his significance as a champion of education as a means of national advancement of the Assyrian people. Assyrian youth leader …

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Sydney Youth Raise Thousands for Breast Cancer Research and Syria Relief Effort in Annual ‘Walkathon’

The annual ‘Walkathon’ of the Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association – Sydney (ACEYA – S) was held on Sunday 22 September 2013 with the participation of over four hundred faithful participants. The annual event seeks to generate funds for the support of both a local Australian charitable organisation, the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO) and the general work of ACEYA – S. The event was held under the theme: ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7). Therefore, the walk communicated to faithful the Christian message that life’s journey is one of faith and that this faith will triumph the obstacles or adversities faced in life, whether sickness or other trials. The attendees gathered eagerly in front of St Hurmizd Cathedral following the Eucharistic Liturgy registering their names and receiving their packs which included a t-shirt, hat and bag. The event was this year graced by the presence of His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon who welcomed the hundreds of attendees, spoke about the importance of the causes being supported and bestowed his episcopal blessings on all participants. Shortly afterwards balloons were released into the …

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Challenges Facing Middle East Christians Conference Held in Amman, Jordan

His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis, Bishop of the Diocese of the Western United States has attended a conference in Amman, Jordan between 3-4 September 2013 examining the challenges and persecution facing Christians throughout the Middle East. His Grace attended representing His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East at the invitation of His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad on behalf of His Majesty Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. His Holiness was unable to attend personally due to a range of prearranged programmes. The conference was attended by most Patriarchs of the Middle East, a large number of church representatives and religious leaders from around the world in addition to senior Islamic scholars from the Middle East. On the opening day of the conference His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, Chief Advisor to King Abdullah of Jordan for Religious and Cultural Affairs opened the conference stressing the need to promote a culture of democracy and mutual respect in the Middle East. In his remarks His Royal Highness noted: “We in Jordan feel that, for the first time in hundreds of years, Arab Christians have become targeted in …

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“We Believe In” National Youth Conference 2013

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.’” Ecclesiastes 12: 1 ​The Assyrian Church of the East’s 26th National Youth Conference was hosted by the Diocese of California, from the 10th to the 15th of July of 2013. The conference was attended by over two hundred and seventy youth from around the nation, as well as representatives of our Church’s youth from as far as England. ​This year’s theme was “We Believe in…,” symbolizing the Nicene Creed which is recited at nearly every one of our blessed Church’s services. The goal of the theme was to invite the attending youth to reflect on the fundamentals of our faith, especially those items which are currently being challenged and scrutinized by other Christian denominations and non-Christians alike. Session topics chosen for this year’s conference included: ‘Proofs for the Existence of God’, ‘The Apostolicity of the Church’, ‘Moral Issues Facing the Church’ and ‘Mary and the Saints’, presented by a team of highly esteemed and well-versed clergy from our beloved Church from around the nation. ​The program commenced on Wednesday, July 10th, …

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Assyrian Church of the East Receives Rev. Ephraim Ashur Alkhas

On the Fourth Sunday of Summer, 28 July 2013, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Diocese of California, formally and publicly received the Rev’d Qashisha Ephraim Ashur Alkhas into the Assyrian Church of the East for the Diocese of California. The reception by clerical confession of faith, oath of obedience and vesting was given and completed before the witness of the clergy and faithful at Mar Zaia Cathedral in Modesto, California. ​On 14 July, Fr. Ephraim was officially but privately received into the Assyrian Church as a priest of the Diocese of California. He was received from the Diocese of Los Angeles of the North American Archdiocese of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch (الروم الأرثوذكس). ​Fr. Ephraim grew up in Saint Mary’s Assyrian Church of the East in North Hollywood, later Tarzana. Here he was baptized by Qashisha Barkho Oshana. During his teenage years he enjoyed participating in the daily services at St Mary’s. He learned to love the Church and her services through the Very Rev’d Cor-Bishop George Bet-Rasho and Rev. Deacon Dan Daniel, his close lifetime mentor and friend. He was tonsured and ordained a Reader by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch, at the …

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