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BISHOP OF CALIFORNIA REPRESENTS ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST AT SIXTH PRO ORIENTE COLLOQUIUM SYRIACUM

​His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod, represented the Assyrian Church of the East at the Sixth Colloquium Syriacum, held under the aegis of the Pro Oriente Ecumenical Foundation at the Palottihaus in Vienna, from November 25-28, 2019. ​The theme of this year’s Colloquium Syriacum was titled: “With Hope Towards the Future: Living Together and Common Witness of the Syriac Tradition.” His Grace presented a paper on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, with the title: “The Common Challenges and Opportunities of the Syriac Churches in North America, with Special Attention to the Assyrian Church of the East.” The bishop’s presentation outlined the history of the Assyrian Church’s role and activities in the ecumenical movement since 1964, and traced the immigration of the Assyrian faithful to North America—with special attention to the United States—from the countries of the Middle East. The pastoral, ecclesiastical and ethnic challenges of the faithful as a result of being transplanted to the diaspora were studied and presented in an in-depth manner, followed by discussions and questions from the attendees on the same theme. ​On Tuesday evening, November 26, 2019, His Grace partook in a public panel discussion sponsored by Pro …

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Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East

Communiqué Rome, November 22, 2019 A plenary session of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East took place from 21–22 November 2019 at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome. This fourth session continues the third phase of the dialogue which is considering the mystery of the Church as understood in bothtraditions. The Commission is co–chaired by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon, and the Most Reverend Johan Bonny, Bishop of Antwerp. ​On Thursday, 21 November 2019, the Most Reverend Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, welcomed the members of the Joint Commission to the annual meeting. ​The Joint Commission continued its work on the third phase of the dialogue on issues of ecclesiology which had been approved in 2017. This phase is reflecting on the nature and mission of the Church, the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the constitution of the Church. The members of the Commission gratefully recalled the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Joint Commission concurrently with the Common Christological Declaration signed by Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Patriarch …

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FOURTH BI-LATERAL DIALOGUE MEETING OF THE ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST AND THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

The fourth meeting of the official Bi-Lateral Commission for Dialogue between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Russian Orthodox Church met in Thrissur, Kerala from 13 to 16 November, 2019. The meetings were held under the auspices of the Archdiocese of India in Thrissur, hosted by His Beatitude Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of India for the Assyrian Church of the East. ​The participants in the bi-lateral dialogue meeting from the Assyrian Church of the East were the following: His Grace Bishop Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and the Secretary of the Holy Synod (co-chair); Very Rev. Cor-bishop Gewargis Toma, Diocese of Eastern USA (member); Rev. Fr. Ephraim Alkhas, Diocese of California (co-secretary); Rev. Deacon Roland Bidjamov, Diocese of Nohadra and Russia (member). Representing the Russian Orthodox Church were the following: His Grace Bishop Kliment of Krasnoslobodsk and Temnikov (co-chair); Very Rev. HieromonkStefan Igumnov, Secretary for Inter-Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate’s ‘Department of External Church Relations’(member); Very Rev. Hegumen Stefan Sado (member, absent) and Mr. Sergei Alferov (co-secretary). ​On the Commission’s first full working day held on Wednesday, November 13th, the Commission was formally welcomed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Mar Aprem, the head of the Archdiocese of India. …

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Holy Synod Convenes in Erbil

On Monday 13 May 2019 the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East commenced its deliberations in the city of Ankawa, Erbil under the presidency of His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa, Catholicos-Patriarch and prelates of the Assyrian Church of the East. The commencement of the Synod was preceded by the celebration of the Holy Qurbana by His Beatitude Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of India and the UAE who was assisted by His Grace Mar Awgin Kuriakose, Bishop of India at St John the Baptist Cathedral, Ankawa. This Synod will convene for five days. On Wednesday 15 May the altar of the newly built St George Church in Diana will also be consecrated. This Synod is the second to be convened under the leadership of His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa following his election as Catholicos-Patriarch on 18 September 2015, after the passing into eternal sleep of His Holiness the late Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of blessed memory. In attendance are the following prelates: HB Mar Aprem Metropolitan of India and UAE HB Mar Meelis Zaia AM Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon HG Aprim Khamis Bishop of Western USA HG Mar Emmanuel Yousip Bishop of Canada HG …

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Pope prays for peace in Middle East with head of Assyrian Church

Pope Francis spoke about the “great suffering” that many Christians are enduring in the Middle East, and prayed for peace in the region, especially in Iraq and Syria. The Pope was meeting Friday with Mar Gewargis III, the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. He said many Middle Eastern Christians are following in the footsteps of Christ, as they are forced to leave their homelands to escape violence. Pope Francis noted that the Christians fleeing persecution belong to different communities. “They are forging fraternal relationships among one another,” he said, “and thus becoming, for us, witnesses of unity.” He joyfully recalled Mar Gewargis’ presence at the Day of Reflection and Prayer for Peace in the Middle East, held on 7 July in the Italian city of Bari. Thanksgiving for theological dialogue Pope Francis then turned to relations between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. He said the two Churches share a “particular reason for thanksgiving to God”, which is the Joint Committee for Theological Dialogue. The two Churches signed a Common Statement on “Sacramental Life” on 24 November 2017, which set out a shared vision of sacramental theology. Pope Francis said the Committee …

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Commission for Dialogue between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Russian Orthodox Church holds its third meeting

On 23-27 October 2018, the third meeting of the Commission for Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East took place at the Novodevichy Convent of the Holy Resurrection in St. Petersburg. The Moscow Patriarchate’s delegation included Bishop Kliment of Krasnoslobodsk and Temnikov, co-chairman of the Commission; Archimandrite Stefan (Sado), chief librarian of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy; Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), secretary for inter-Christian relations of the Department for External Church relations; and Mr. Sergei Alferov, DECR staff member. Representing the Assyrian Church of the East were Bishop Mar Awa Royel of California, secretary of the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East, co-chairman of the Commission; Cor-Bishop George Kanon Toma, cleric of St. Andrew’s Church in Glenview, Illinois, USA; Priest Ephraim Alkhas, personal assistant to the secretary of the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East; and Deacon Roland Bidzhamov, cleric of the Assyrian diocese of Northern Iraq and CIS. As the Commission members noted, the academic contacts between the two Churches have been successfully developing. As part of the student exchange project, in autumn 2018 an Assyrian student was admitted to the Moscow Theological Academy. On 5-11 October 2018, …

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Moscow Patriarchate Hosts Summer Institute for Assyrian Church of the East Delegation

Between October 5-11, 2018, an official delegation from the Assyrian Church of the East visited Moscow, Russia to participate in a Summer Institute programme organized by the Moscow Patriarchate’s Saints Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies. The 8-member delegation visited Moscow at the invitation of the Russian Orthodox Church, Holy Synod, Department for External Church Relations and by the Apostolic blessing of His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.  Assyrian delegates from Iraq, India, the United States, Sweden and Australia reflected a number of key backgrounds including ordained serving clergy, theological students, educators, youth ministry workers, parish administrators and charitable workers. The existing Bilateral Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East was first established during a meeting between His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill and His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV, of thrice-blessed memory, on 28 May 2014. The First Session of the Commission for Dialogue met on 18 May 2016 in Moscow, Russia and the Second Session met between 23-26 October 2017 in Modesto, California. The Third Session will be hosted in Moscow, Russia in late October 2018. The Commission …

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2nd session of Commission for dialogue between Russian Orthodox Church and Assyrian Church of the East takes place

2nd session of Commission for dialogue between Russian Orthodox Church and Assyrian Church of the East takes place   On October 23-26, 2017, 2nd session of the Commission for Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East took place in the city of Modesto, USA. The delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate consisted of Bishop Kliment of Krasnoslobodsk and Temnikov, co-chair, and hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov) secretary for inter-Christian relations of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. The Assyrian Church of the East was represented  by His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and secretary of the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East, co-chair; Chorbishop George Kanon Toma, clergyman of the Assyrian St. Andrew church in Glenview, Illinois, USA; an d priest Ephraim Alkhas, assistant to the Secretary of the Holy Synod. A main aspect of the Commission’s work is the coordination of inter-Christian cooperation in supporting the suffering Christians of Iraq and Syria, many of whom are members of the Assyrian Church of the East. The communiqué issued on the results of the session says:-“The Commission expressed profound concern over the situation of the cruelly persecuted Christians in the Middle …

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Catholicos Patriarch Meets Pope in the Vatican

His Holiness Pope Francis warmly welcomed the Catholicos Patriarch Mar Gewargis Sliws III on the monrning of Thursday 17th November along with select few prelates in the Vatican City’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel. The Pope pressed great emphasis on the zeal and faith of the Christians in the Middle East during this time of turmoil, and applauded the Church for its support and aide during this time. An excerpt from the Servizio Informazione Religiosa (Vatican City’s news central) reads below: Deep grief “for what is still going on in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria”, where “the terrible violence of bloody conflicts, which no reason can justify or allow, is poured down on hundreds of thousands of innocent children, women and men”. Pope Francis expressed this this morning as he met with the Catholicos Mar Gewargis III, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican. “There – Pope Francis said –, our Christian brothers and sisters and several religious and ethnic minorities are, unfortunately, used to suffering great trials on a daily basis”. “Amidst such great suffering, to which I implore for an end – the Pontiff said – we see Christians …

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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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First Session of the Commission for Bilateral Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East

Moscow, 18 May 2016 Joint Communiqué The Commission for Bilateral Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East was established during a meeting between His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill and His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV, of thrice-blessed memory, which took place in Moscow on 28 May 2014. On 28 September 2015, the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East co-established this commission with the following appointed representatives of the Assyrian Church of the East to the Bilateral Dialogue: His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Diocese of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod as Co-chairman; Chor-bishop George Kanon Toma, clergyman of the Diocese of Eastern USA; Priest Ephraim Alkhas, clergyman of the diocese of California and secretary of CIRED; Deacon Roland Bidzhamov, clergyman of the Diocese of Nohadra and the Russian Federation. On 22 October 2015, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church co-established this commission with the following appointed representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate to the Bilateral Dialogue: His Grace Bishop Kliment of Krasnoslobodsk and Temnikov as Co-chairman; Hegumen Stefan (Sado), chief librarian of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy; Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), secretary …

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HIERARCHICAL STATEMENT OF THE DIOCESAN BISHOPS OF THE DIOCESES OF THE ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST IN THE UNITED STATES

Beloved Clergy and Faithful of the Assyrian Church of the East in the U.S., greetings and peace in the Name of the Holy Trinity! ​Recently the Supreme Court of the United States legally upheld and created a right for people of the same sex to be married across the United States of America. As the hierarchs of the three dioceses that serve and minister to the flock of Christ in the Assyrian Church of the East in the United States of America, we extend this statement as a reaffirmation of the Church’s eternal teaching regarding marriage and human sexuality. But first, we must remind all faithful that the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States strikes at deep feelings and convictions for many Americans and that, as Christians, our first duty is a Christian love that is as charitable as it is honest. ​Our Lord sought out the disenfranchised from the community of faith, corrected the sin, healed the effects of sin, and restored the sinner to full membership in the People of God. Such a restoration always presumes a life marked by repentance of every Christian. All true Christians respond to sin with a prayerful movement of …

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