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U.S. Bishops Hold First Episcopal Conference

The bishops of the dioceses of the Assyrian Church of the East in the United States held their first episcopal conference from October 30th to the 31st, in San Diego, California. The conference, blessed by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch, was attended by: His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis, Bishop of the Western United States, the chair of the episcopal conference, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod & President of CIRED, and His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Diocese of the Eastern USA and President of ACERO USA. The bishops were also in San Diego to take part in the rite of the consecration of the altar of the Rabban Hermizd Parish, which took place after morning prayers on the First Sunday of the Hallowing of the Church, November 2, 2014. His Grace Mar Yosip Sargis, bishop emeritus, was also present for the consecration rite. ​The meeting of the bishops’ conference was held at the offices of St. Rabban Hermizd Parish in San Diego, and was hosted by His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis. The items on the agenda for discussion and implantation in the United States dioceses included, among others: …

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H.G. Mar Awa Royel Addresses Washington D.C. ‘In Defence of Christians’ Summit

On 11 September 2014, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod addressed the ‘In Defence of Christians’ summit held in Washington D.C. between 9-11 September 2014. According to ‘In Defence of Christians’, “The primary purpose of the Summit is to bring all members of the Diaspora together in a newfound sense of unity. Whether Orthodox or Catholic; Evangelical, Coptic or Maronite; Syriac, Lebanese, Chaldean or Assyrian – all Middle Eastern Christians will be called on to join together in solidarity. “This solidarity will strengthen advocacy efforts with policy makers and elected officials and make more palatable grassroots outreach to the American public. Thus united, Middle Eastern Christians will invite all people of good will to join the cause to defend the defenseless, to be a voice for those who are voiceless. “The survival of these historic Christian communities is not merely a moral imperative; it is in the interests of all nations and peoples of the West and the Middle East.” This is the text of His Grace’s speech: Your Holinesses, Your Beatitudes, Your Excellencies and Graces, Reverend Fathers, Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is a great honor and privilege to be …

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U.S. Bishops Visit Office of the National Council of Churches USA

While attending the In Defense of Christians (IDC) Summit in Washington D.C., His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California, Secretary of the Holy Synod and President of CIRED, along with His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of Chicago and the Eastern USA, visited the headquarters of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 11:00 am. ​The two bishops were received by Mr. Jim Winkler, the President and General Secretary of the NCC USA. The purpose of the visit was a courtesy call, and an exchange of information regarding the plight of the Christians in Iraq and the Middle East at large. For their part, the NCC president apprised the bishops of the work of the Council among the various Churches in the US. The NCC just moved into their headquarters on Maryland Avenue in Washington D.C. ​The NCC USA was first founded in 1908 as the ‘Federal Council of Churches’, and then reorganized into the ‘National Council of Churches’ in the 1950’s. Some 40 different Churches and denominations are members of the NCC in the United States. The membership of the Assyrian Church of the East in the …

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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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Assyrian Church of the East Delegation Participates in Pro Oriente’s 4th Colloquium Syriacum

The ‘Fourth Colloquium Syriacum’ of the Pro Oriente Foundation was held in Vienna, Austria, from September 19-22, 2013, at the guest-house of the Pallotine Fathers (‘Pallottihaus’). The various Syriac-speaking Churches of the Middle East and India were represented at the Colloquium, along with many expert scholars and invited guests who also attended. The Assyrian Church of the East was represented by His Grace Dr Mar Awa Royel, the Bishop of California, Secretary of the Holy Synod and President of CIRED (Commission on Inter-Church Relations and Educational Development) and the Very Reverend Father Dr William Toma, Parish Priest of Mar Sargis Parish (Chicago) and Archdeacon of the Holy Synod. In addition to the Assyrian Church of the East, other Churches represented were the: Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox Church), Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Maronite Catholic Church of Antioch, Chaldean Catholic Church, Syrian Catholic Church of Antioch and the Ancient Church of the East. The experts included scholars from Jerusalem, Oxford, Washington D.C., Salzburg and representatives from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Vatican City). This year’s biennial gathering was centered on the theme: ‘Towards a Culture of Co-Existence …

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Eastern USA Diocese Hosts Christian Texts of Turfan Lecture

The Diocese of Eastern USA has hosted a public lecture entitled ‘The Christian Texts of Turfan’ in Illinois, USA on 15 November 2013. The lecture, held at and co-sponsored by the Assyrian National Council of Illinois in Skokie, was given by Dr Erica C.D. Hunter of the Department for the Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. The Christian Library from Turfan Project aims to catalogue some 1092 manuscript fragments in the Syriac, Christian Soghdian and Uigher (Christian Old Turkic) scripts, as well as Pahlavi Persian, that were found in the opening decade of the twentieth century at a monastery site near Bulayiq, Turfan. The texts, dating from the early medieval period (9th – 12th centuries), encompass liturgical texts, lectionaries, hymns and psalters, as well as ascetical texts. The manuscripts are currently held at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Staatsbibliothek, Potsdamer Strasse, Berlin and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst at Dahlem, Berlin. The project addresses various issues, including the transmission of texts between different languages (Syriac, Soghdian and Old Turkic), the usage of liturgical and vernacular languages at Turfan and the links that were maintained with the Mesopotamian homeland of the Church …

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Bishop of California Calls on US Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

On the afternoon of Wednesday, November 6, 2013 His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Diocese of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod visited Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA – 18th Congressional District) at her Palo Alto, California office. His Grace was accompanied by Rev’d Fr Genard Lazar, his secretary and Mar Zaia Cathedral parish priest in Modesto. In a most cordial and warm colloquium, His Grace and the Congresswoman discussed matters pertaining to the plight of Assyrian Christians in the Middle East, in particular Iraq and Syria. The bishop briefed the Congresswoman in detail concerning the many hardships faced by the Assyrians in Iraq and Syria, amidst volatile and unstable conditions in those countries. Among the most pressing concerns of the Assyrians in these countries, the bishop informed the Congresswoman, is the matter of forced migration outside of the historical homeland and immigration to the west. Many who have left these countries for fear of their lives on account of persecution are stranded in host countries for an untold period of time until they are given visas to come to the West. In particular, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered thousands …

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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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“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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Bishop Mar Awa Royel Visits China

Following up on to the previous visit in October of 2010, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, Diocese of California, and Secretary of the Holy Synod, accompanied by his secretary Rev. Fr. Genard Lazar and Deacon Allen Youssefi returned to Hong Kong, in response to an invitation from the Jingjiao Fellowship and its director Mr. David Tam.

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Opening and Dedication of New Monastery of Mar Isaac of Nineveh

History was joyously made after 125 years, on Friday November 30th at 9:00am, when His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, Diocese of California conducted the Liturgy of the Blessing of Houses, in the new established Holy Monastery of St. Isaac of Nineveh, in Salida, California. The monastery came about after much prayer and the seeking of the Lord’s will, in addition to the petition of some of the faithful, particularly those who wish to consecrate their lives to God by continue prayer, fasting and good works.

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