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Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon

Sydney Children Commemorate the Nativity

The Assyrian Church of the East Children’s Association (ACECA) in Sydney held it’s annual end of year Christmas Concert themed ‘A Night in Bethlehem’. Students performed the drama of the nativity, recited prayers, hymns and songs commemorating the night our Lord and Saviour was born with their families. Afterwards, sharing a meal and enjoying their last night together at ACECA for 2019. As mentioned, this event marks the end of the 2019 children’s bible studies ministry, which takes place Wednesday nights and caters to almost four hundred children. ACECA takes this opportunity to thank the teachers who commit to teaching the children bible studies on a weekly basis with fun and interactive lessons bringing the scriptures to life. Thank you also to the parents who give us the opportunity to teach the children the faith and allow them to fellowship together in the love of Christ. Registrations for ACECA commence mid January 2020. Photography courtesy of Mirna Makko.

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Sydney Youth’s End of Year Celebration

The Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association (ACEYA) in Sydney hosted its annual Youth Dine on Sunday 8th December at the Garden of Eden Room, Eden Venues. The dinner follows its yearly tradition, whereby the youth members of the church come together at the end of the year to celebrate the conclusion of the youth calendar and simultaneously the festive season. The youth calendar comprises of weekly bible studies and fellowship, charity and community events. During the official program at Youth Dine, Rev’d Fr Neil Makko parish priest of Saints Peter and Paul Church spoke on the importance of the youth and their involvement in weekly bible studies and fellowship; two major components that allow the spirituality of the youth to thrive in the church. Afterwards, awards were distributed for Youth of the Year for every parish and a prayer of thanksgiving over the meal. The evening continued with Assyrian cultural dancing, courtesy of Sonia Odisho and her team allowing the youth to engage and appreciate the cultural beauty of our Assyrian Christian identity. ACEYA’s Board thanks all the parish youth committees, bible studies leaders and youth members who have made 2019 a wonderful year. Prayers are lifted for …

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St Narsai Officially Opens Stage Three

St Narsai Assyrian Christian College officially opened its newly completed Stage Three project on Sunday 27 November 2019. The ceremony was officiated by His Eminence Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Chief Executive Officer of the Assyrian Christian Schools Limited, accompanied by members of the official party, staff, parents and students. The official party accompanying His Eminence consisted of His Grace Bishop Haigazon Najarian of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Reverend Father Nektarios Nemme representing His Eminence Archbishop Basilios Kodseie of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, along with Sydney’s Assyrian Church clergy. It was also with great honour that Members of Parliament and Local Council were in attendance, including the Honourables; Ms Tanya Davies MP representing the Premier Ms Gladys Berejekilian MP, Mr Kevin Conolly MP representing Ms Sarah Mitchell the Minister of Education, Mr Chris Bowen MP, Dr Hugh McDermott MP, Mr Nick Lalich MP and the Mayor of Fairfield City, Mr Frank Carbone. Not to mention all the Assyrian and Chaldean associations, organisations, charities and entities who were in attendance. The newly opened Stage Three section of the campus encompasses the COLA (Covered Outdoor Learning Area), the outdoor courtyard garden and Building D. The new building is specifically designed to teach the …

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Assyrian youth trace steps of Christ

The Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association hosted its annual Walkathon Fundraiser on Sunday with more than 500 walkers trekking the eight-kilometre route around St Hurmizd’s Cathedral in Greenfield Park. The map traced the steps of Christ and passed major cities that signified milestones in his ministry across the Holy Land: Jericho and the Mount of Temptation, Cana and the wedding miracle, Samaria and Jacob’s Well, Capernaum and the healing of the lepers, Bethany and Lazarus’ tomb and ended in Jerusalem and the Golgotha. Walkers picked up a handout explaining the significance of the city and the church fathers’ commentary. The walk was officially opened by His Eminence Mar Meelis Zaia AM and Reverend Fathers of Sydney parishes with a short program to welcome the walkers and cut the ribbon. The event concluded with a picnic at the rear of the church with entertainment, amusements and a barbecue. All proceeds from the Walkathon will go towards helping the needy displaced individuals and families in the Middle East, local charities in Australia and the works of the Youth Association in Sydney.

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Australian Prime Minister Meets with Heads of Churches

Source: http://www.ecaj.org.au/2019/historic-meeting-between-pm-and-faith-community-leaders/ In an historic meeting in Sydney on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with 21 leaders of major faith communities in Australia to discuss progress in the government’s plans to introduce a Religious Discrimination Bill later this year (see picture).  The Jewish, Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Assyrian and Melkite communities were among those represented at the meeting. ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim, who represented the Jewish community, hailed the meeting. “There cannot be many other countries in the world in which the head of government can have a constructive conversation over one and a half hours with such a diverse range of faith community leaders on as sensitive a topic as religious freedom  and discrimination,” he said. “Each of us outlined what was of importance to our respective communities not only with regard to the proposed legislation but also in terms of Australia’s broader cultural attitudes with regard to religion”, Wertheim said. “There was a large measure of agreement in the room about many of the principles that the government is grappling with in seeking a fair and workable balance between religious freedom and competing rights and freedoms.  This sends a positive message …

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Message of Congratulations from His Eminence Mar Meelis Zaia   to His Grace Mar Awraham Youkhanis

Message of Congratulations from His Eminence Mar Meelis Zaia   to His Grace Mar Awraham Youkhanis     Beloved brother in Christ, His Grace, Mar Awraham Youkhanis  , Bishop of Western Europe. Greetings to the Lord Jesus Christ “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ, for he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight in love” (Eph 1-3-4) I am rejoiced to see our Lord Jesus Christ choosing a great and distinguished priest, with the grace given to him from the heights, devoting himself to serve the Church of the East. In that holy hour of your episcopal consecration, as the Holy Spirit was descending upon you, I thanked the Lord for that, and for His good divine will and His heavenly blessings, for setting me a witness to all your consecrations from deacon to bishop. As you serve His holy Church in the heart of London and lead the diocese of Western Europe; which you will make it a spiritual lighthouse for the advancement of the blessed Assyrian Church of the East, as you have …

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Episcopal Censecration of Mar Awraham Youkhanis for Western Europe

The Assyrian Church of the East’s St Hurmizd’s Cathedral in Greenfield Park was the site of a major milestone for the Assyrian community and the Archdiocese on Sunday 26 May 2019. Prelates of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East gathered to consecrate Reverend Archdeacon Narsai Youkhanis, the bishop-elect for the Church’s diocese of Western Europe to be based in London. The Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East in Iraq, His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa was joined by eight other prelates from across the world for the consecration. Thousands of parishioners and members of local council and parliament attended the official service in the morning. The church held a celebratory dinner at Edessa Reception in the evening for the newly consecrated bishop, who will be known as His Grace Mar Awraham Youkhanis. The new bishop, who has been a priest for nine years doing youth work in the local community, will make his way to London in late June to start his work in the church for the Western Europe diocese. The prelates present for the consecration were: His Eminence Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon. His Grace Mar Awa …

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Rev’d Cor-episcopa Narsai Youkhanis to the clerical rank of Archdeacon

On Sunday 5th May 2019, His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon raised The Rev’d Cor-episcopa Narsai Youkhanis to the clerical rank of Archdeacon. The service, held at St Mary’s Church in Fairfield, Australia was attended by a large congregation of faithful. The Metropolitan was assisted by priests and deacons during the ordination and the Eucharistic Liturgy which followed. The newly ordained Archdeacon presently serves the Archdiocese as Secretary to the Metropolitan and Chaplain of the Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association and Children’s Association. Congratulations to The Rev’d Archdeacon Narsai Youkhanis. May Almighty God shower His grace, mercy and blessings on him as he continues his devoted service in the Assyrian Church of the East.  

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Youth and Children Ministries Resume in Sydney

In the week starting on Monday 18th February 2018, the youth and children’s ministries commenced in Sydney whereby hundreds of youth gathered on Tuesday and likewise hundreds of children gathered on the following day, Wednesday as they resumed their weekly spiritual and social programs. On Tuesday 19th February ACEYA (Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association) Sydney held its Youth Meet, presided over by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM and clergy. Hundreds of youth attended the Meet in listening to His Beatitude’s keynote address about the challenging times we as Christians are facing in the society. With helpful tips, His Beatitude worked through the challenges with the youth and delivering guidance on coping mechanisms to persevere in faith. His Beatitude also ceased the opportunity to announce the upcoming consecration of Reverend Chorbishop Narsai Youkhanis to the ranking of Bishop, to take place on Sunday 26th May 2019 in Sydney, Australia. The youth had the chance to fellowship afterwards with one another and share in a delightful meal together as a family in Christ. On the following day, the Assyrian Church of the East Children’s Association (ACECA) Sydney recommenced their weekly children’s bible studies where more than 300 children gathered …

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Dean appointed for Nisibis Assyrian Theological College

On Thursday 17 January 2019 His Eminence Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Archbishop of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon held the third meeting to discuss the establishment and academic teaching commencement of the Nisibis Assyrian Theological College in Sydney. During this meeting Professor Dr. Matthew Del Nevo was appointed as Dean of the theological college. The meeting was held at the St Narsai Assyrian Christian College’s Horsley Park campus and included His Grace Mar Benyamin Elya bishop of Melbourne and New Zealand, Reverend Chorbishop Narsai Youkhanis and Reverend Father Shamuel Shamuel. The meeting covered agenda items that addressed administrative aspects of the College, teaching professors both from within the Assyrian Church globally and from sister institutions, and respective units offered. His Eminence Mar Meelis stressed the importance of this College to the newly appointed Dean, as a college with the vision to teach the holy doctrines of the Assyrian Church of the East to its students who will come from all paths of life; young men who wish to take on high rankings in the Church such as deacon hood, priesthood, etc., teachers who wish to teach Christian Studies at both St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School and St Narsai Assyrian Christian …

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Sydney’s Children on their Second Annual VBS

The Assyrian Church of the East Children’s Association (ACECA) in Sydney held its second annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) from Monday 7th January till Friday 11th January 2019 on the premises of St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School, Greenfield Park. The “Shipwrecked” themed event catered for 200 children that often attend the association’s regular weekly Wednesday night ministry. The VBS included five days of fun and interactive learning, starting at Castaway Sing and Play in the morning and ending with Sail Away Send-off in the afternoons. Stations throughout the day included: Bible Discovery, Ship Rec Games, Imagination Station and KidVid Cinema where seven groups rotated daily to cover all content. Children learnt that when you are lonely, when you are powerless, when you do wrong, Jesus rescues! The children became buddies with the daily bible point characters; Hope the jaguar, Beacon the toucan, Ray the manta ray, Guac the Iguana and Moe the sloth, taking them home with them daily. The children also enjoyed scrumptious treats and lunches each day fitting for anyone who is shipwrecked on an unchartered island. ACECA extends its immense gratitude to all the volunteers who worked behind the scenes leading up to the event, and all …

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St Narsai Christian College students break the code

There is a secret code at St Narsai Christian College – it its seven letters and starts with the letter ‘S’. Can you guess it? Yes, that’s right: success. Students Alana Sellanes, Georgis Ishak, Carmen Dawood, Lana Lazar and Melis Cherie excelled at the recent National Computer Science School (NCSS) Python Coding Competition. From the more than 20,000 students from Australia and New Zealand who participated in the NCSS Challenge Alana, Georgis and Carmen finished at the top of the leaderboard with perfect scores. Not to be outdone Lana and Melis finished with scores of 409/410 and six other students received a high distinction (scores of 380 plus) in the competition. The students competed for five weeks, learning to code by solving interesting and engaging problems.   Coding in action. “Eight questions were released for students to use the python programming language to solve. Python is considered as the base language for computer programming,” Technology and Applied Studies Faculty teacher Laura Stewart said. “This term students have been studying software development and programming and worked collaboratively to complete each question. “By completing each challenge from a project-based approach and with little prior knowledge to computer programming prior to entering this competition, all students have done not only themselves …

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The Assyrian Schools Council publishes new Assyrian Language Curriculum including 12 new textbooks

The Assyrian Schools Council publishes new Assyrian Language Curriculum including 12 new textbooks   The Assyrian Schools Council of the Assyrian Church of the East in Australia under the leadership of his beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia has published the Assyrian Language Curriculum, which includes twelve textbooks from the kindergarten to tenth grade, as well as a book for beginners who are recently enrolled in the schools. The course is written by Assyrian Language Coordinator Anwar Atto and designed by Mr. Ashur Harmis. Each book is divided into four units of work. Each covers a topic that reflects students’ interests, suits their age and meets their language needs using the modern standard Assyrian language in a communicative and comprehensive method of teaching the language including listening, understanding, speaking, reading and writing skills as well as the Assyrian culture, heritage and history integrated in the teaching of the topics.

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His Grace Mar Benyamin Elya attends launch of Sarah Lindenmayer’s new book, Debt of Honour

His Grace Mar Benyamin Elya attends launch of Sarah Lindenmayer’s new book, Debt of Honour On Saturday 8 September 2018, His Grace Mar Benyamin Elya, Bishop of Victoria and New Zealand attended the launch of Ms Sarah Lindenmayer’s new book, Debt of Honour, at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. This important new book tells the remarkable and almost unknown history of how one of Australia’s great military heroes, Lieutenant General Sir Stanley George Savige became instrumental in saving tens of thousands of Assyrians in 1918 while a Captain in the Australian Imperial Force. His Grace was accompanied by The Rev’d Fr Antawan Mikhail and gave the closing benediction on the historic occasion, expressing the prayers of the Assyrian Church of the East for the success of the book and congratulating Ms Lindenmayer on many years of devoted research in bringing it to fruition. The launch was well attended by descendants of the late Lieutenant General Savige along with The Hon. Bruce Atkinson MP, President of the Victorian Legislative Council, members of Melbourne Legacy, clergy from the Anglican and Coptic churches, current and former members of Australia’s armed forces and Assyrian community members. The Diocese once again congratulates Ms Lindenmayer on this …

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Archbishop Mar Meelis Zaia receives the 2018 Australian Assyrian of the Year Award

The 2018 Australian Assyrian of the Year award was presented to His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand, and Lebanon, in recognition of his selfless devotion and tireless efforts toward the conservation of the Assyrian faith, language, and cultural heritage; and for being a driving force behind the establishment of the first Assyrian Christian college in the Western world. History of His Eminence accomplishments: In 2002 the first stage of St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School was officially opened. Starting off with only 80 students, today the school accommodates for +700 Kinder to Year 6 students. In 2006 St Narsai Assyrian Christian College was officially established as it welcomed the Year 6 students from St Hurmizd into the high school stage of education. It was with great pleasure that two out of the four stages of the College’s campus in Horsley Park was officially opened in January of 2018, which accommodates for approximately 700 students. Expected capacity once completion is 1200 students. In 2011 Grace Child Care and Early Learning Centre was officially opened. Due to high demand, another preschool was opening at SHAPS in 2012 which was named St Hurmizd Early Learning Centre. His Eminence not …

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