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Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon

Catholicos-Patriarch Calls 3-Day Rogation for Christians of Iraq

His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, has sent an epistle imploring all members of the church and the Assyrian nation to hold a 3 day fast (Rogation) beginning Monday the 1st of September. The purpose of this rogation is to beseech the mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ upon our Assyrian nation and all who are being persecuted in the Middle East, in particular Northern Iraq. May God accept our rogation just as He accepted the rogation of our forefathers the Ninevites.

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Inaugural Jerusalem Pilgrimage for the Metropolitan See of Sydney

On the 30th June 2014 180 Sydney and Melbourne parishioners departed Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport and travelled to the Holy Land of Jerusalem, accompanied by Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis and Rev’d Fr Ninos Elya and numerous deacons. The pilgrimage took approximately ten months to organise, with the 180 attendees divided into six groups of thirty pilgrims: red, yellow, green, blue, purple and orange. Each group with its own tour guide and air-conditioned coach busses from the St Thomas Church Touring Services in different languages; English (red, blue, orange and purple) and Arabic (yellow and blue). The pilgrims were accommodated at the Ritz Hotel in Jerusalem where a full buffet was served for breakfast and dinner, and lunch was provided at different restaurants depending on the locations of the day’s schedule – all three meals’ cost covered. Aside from meals, chilled bottles of water were provided for each pilgrim throughout the day. The ten-day tour began with a free day on Tuesday the 1st July – allowing time for check-in to the hotel, relaxing and unwinding after a 30 or so hour flight from Sydney via Bangkook, Thailand. On the following day the tour schedule commenced visiting sites such as …

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New Church Consecrated in Auckland, New Zealand

Courtesy – Manukau Courier A new church is helping forge cultural roots for a small community. The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East opened its doors in Manurewa on Saturday. Father Toma K Toma, who came to New Zealand from Iran in 1992, acknowledges the church has come a long way from its early beginnings and is happy to see it thrive in South Auckland – “it’s a dream come true”, he says. People in the neighbourhood are very impressed with the new building and ask many questions, and he’s proud to share his religion and culture, he says. When he first arrived in the country only 10 families attended his services which he would run using Anglican church facilities. Now he has a congregation of more than 200 families. The Church of the East began during the early Christian missionary activity in the middle of the first century. It established itself through the regions of Mesopotamia which included areas of modern-day Iraq and Syria. The Assyrian people are the major ethnic community within the church but Father Toma says its doors are open to everyone. He hopes its facilities will be available for community events and weddings. …

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Grand Opening and Consecration of St Abdisho’s Church in Victoria, Australia

In a weekend of joy and adulation, the Assyrian Church of the East in Victoria, Australia has celebrated the grand opening and consecration of St Abdisho’s Church in the suburb of Coolaroo. Both events, on 3 and 4 May 2014 respectively, saw thousands of Assyrians and faithful of sister churches join the festivities for the long-awaited milestone in the life of Victoria’s Assyrian community.

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3rd Annual Rejoice Resurrection Festival Attracts Thousands in Sydney

This year’s annual Rejoice Resurrection Festival of the Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association Sydney (ACEYAS) was held on Easter Monday, 21 April 2014, with the event attracting thousands of faithful and members of the local surrounding community. In coming together to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 2014’s festival found a new home, the grounds of Saint Hurmizd’s Cathedral and Saint Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School, with the new location proving a resounding success. The day was filled with fun rides and amusements, appearances by movie characters such as Captain America, Superman and the festival’s famous friendly clown. Later in the evening, well known Assyrian singers and entertainers, including Helen Isaac, Flora Simon and Ben Barkho, took to the stage and performed for hours, leaving everyone to dance the night away. A rendition of Disney’s ‘Up’ house was built with a large number of balloons hung to it as a centrepiece; this was used as a donation box with all proceeds going to the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO). ACERO also provided attendees with a chance to make a difference to the lives of children and families in the Middle East by …

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Scholar Dr Erica C.D. Hunter Visits Assyrian Communities in Australia

In a visit to Australia the distinguished Syriac Studies scholar Dr Erica C.D. Hunter has visited Assyrian Church of the East communities in Victoria and New South Wales. During her visit Dr Hunter gave two lectures ‘The Christian Library from Turfan Project’. The lectures, held on 14 March 2014 at Ishtar Reception Centre in Victoria and on 22 March 2014 at Edessa Hall in New South Wales were very well attended by members of the Assyrian community and individuals from other communities. Dr Hunter’s lecture in both states was entitled ‘The Christian Library from Turfan: New Discoveries and New Dimensions for the Church of the East’. Special guests at the Melbourne lecture on 14 March 2014 were Ms Beryl Turner, Researcher and Editorial Assistant of the Syriac Language Research Centre, Whitley College at the University of Melbourne along with Syriac Studies scholar Dr Nicholas Al-Jeelo. The Sydney lecture of 22 March 2014 was graced with the presence of His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon and the parish priests of New South Wales. Also present was the longstanding friend of the Assyrian community Professor Rifaat Ebied of the University of Sydney. ‘The Christian Library …

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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell Visits Assyrian Primary School in Sydney

On Thursday the 13th February 2014, St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School (SHAPS) along with St Narsai Assyrian Christian College (SNACC) warmly welcomed The Honourable Barry O’Farrell MP, Premier of the State of New South Wales to a special reception held at the Assyrian Church of the East’s Edessa Hall in Greenfield Park, New South Wales, Australia. Premier O’Farrell was received by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon accompanied by reverend priests, SHAPS Principal Mr Sargis Makko, SNACC Principal Mr John Haskal, church trustees, members of the Assyrian Schools Board and a large congregation of students, staff and parents. The program commenced with the performance of the Australian National Anthem, Assyrian Church Anthem and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the Aramaic language by the school choir, followed with a welcoming speech given by Mr Makko. In his remarks Mr Makko noted that the growing size of both schools and growing population of the Assyrian community in Australia was cause for both joy and happiness. Mr Makko went on to thank the Australian government for the significant contribution it has made in making the existence of the Assyrian Schools possible …

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Assyrian Church of the East Hosts Major Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Event in Beirut

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 The Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon has hosted an ecumenical celebration marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The event, on 26 January 2014, was held at St George Cathedral of the Assyrian Church of the East in the Beirut suburb of Sed el-Bouchriyeh. The ecumenical gathering, the largest of its kind ever held in Lebanon, saw representatives of 10 churches come together to celebrate the important event. These churches were: – Antiochian Orthodox Church – Armenian Orthodox Church – Assyrian Church of the East – Chaldean Catholic Church – Coptic Orthodox Church – Maronite Catholic Church – Melkite Catholic Church – National Evangelical Church of Lebanon – Syriac Catholic Church – Syrian Orthodox Church Senior prelates and clergy from the noted churches were represented at the event. The ecumenical prayer event commenced with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic, followed by an address from The Rev’d Fr Michel Jalakh, Secretary-General of the Middle East Council of Churches. The Secretary-General welcomed all prelates and distinguished guests present stressing that the spirit of ecumenism should be the …

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Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon Calls on Chaldean Catholic Archbishop in Sydney

His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon has called upon His Excellency Mar Jibrail Kassab, Archbishop of the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle for Chaldeans and Assyrians of the Chaldean Catholic Church for Australia and New Zealand. The Metropolitan called upon the Archbishop on 30 December 2013 offering the fraternal greetings of the Assyrian Church of the East on the occasion of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the New Year. The Assyrian Church of the East delegation was received by a number of clergy of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy and church administrative committee members. During the meeting His Beatitude offered his congratulations to the sister Chaldean Catholic Church and His Beatitude Mar Louis I Raphael Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church on the occasion of the holy season. A colloquium was held on the circumstances facing the Christian communities in both Iraq and Syria, with both prelates praying that the faithful of all churches living in these countries may be protected from various dangers facing them at the present time. The delegation of the Assyrian Church of the East included the Rev’d Cor-bishop Ashoor Lazar, the …

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‘The Martyred Church’: Archdiocesan Youth Conference Held in Melbourne, Australia

The 2nd Youth Conference of the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon convened in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia between 12 – 15 December 2013. The four-day conference brought together 120 young faithful of the Assyrian Church of the East from Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto (Canada), Auckland (New Zealand) and Beirut (Lebanon) under the theme ‘The Martyred Church’. The conference theme, based upon the text of the same name by Dr David Wilmshurt (of the Chinese University of Hong Kong) inspired the proceedings of the Conference. His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon was guest of honour for the entire duration of the Conference and was accompanied by 6 parish priests from Victoria and New South Wales; being Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis, Rev’d Fr John Kushaba and Rev’d Fr Ninos Elya of New South Wales and Rev’d Fr Korkis Toma, Rev’d Fr Hurmizd Jarjeis and Rev’d Fr Antawan Mikhail of Victoria. Also in attendance were Professor Rifaat Ebied of the University of Sydney and Mr Konstantinos (Dean) Kalymnios as guest academic lecturers at the Conference. The youth attendees arrived in Melbourne on Thursday 12 December from their respective cities. On the evening of the same day …

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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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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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